Over and over, broadcasters in Indiana stepped up to raise money to bring relief to the victims of tornados which tore through the southern part of the state. Dispatch Broadcast Group’s WTHR-TV (NBC) Indianapolis raised over a half million dollars, with more coming in.
As of Friday (3/9) the “WTHR Cares: Hoosier Tornado Relief” had raised $575,660 from viewers who donated through WTHR’s phone bank, website or at the studio, with additional funds still coming in. Proceeds go directly to the American Red Cross for victims of Indiana’s devastating tornadoes.
The team effort was developed in conjunction with the station’s emergency response partners which include The American Red Cross, Kroger Grocery Stores, St. Vincent Health, Forum Credit Union and Cumulus Media’s WFMS 95.5. The emergency response partnership is a cooperative arrangement formed by WTHR to coordinate relief efforts in times of emergency.
Here are some of the highlights of this relief effort:
Beginning Sunday, March 4th WTHR quickly established a phone bank to accept donations for victims. The phone bank, staffed by WTHR volunteers, and volunteers from the emergency response team, operated through Monday night.
On Monday, March 5th WTHR turned its parking lot into a massive collection point where commuters could make their donation without leaving their vehicle. From 4:30 am until 8:00 pm volunteers and WTHR on-air personalities were outside to accept donations. WFMS 95.5 personalities broadcast live from the collection site. Social media, web and on-air announcements throughout the day provided viewers with information on how to donate.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this devastating tragedy. The generosity of Hoosiers is something that continues to amaze all of us here at WTHR. We are so grateful for their response to help those in need, and I am so thankful for our staff here at WTHR and our partners who made this possible,” said President and General Manager John Cardenas.
In addition, 13 Eyewitness News provided expanded news coverage beginning on Sunday to inform viewers of late breaking developments and how to assist their fellow Hoosiers. On Monday evening, a one-hour 13 Eyewitness News Tornado Special easily won the 7-8 pm time period with a 6.6 rating and 11 share according to preliminary data from Nielsen.
WTHR’s efforts continued Tuesday evening, March 6th, when the station teamed up with the Indiana Pacers, The Indianapolis Star and The American Red Cross to encourage fans attending the Pacers game to donate to relief efforts.
WTHR also continues to encourage viewers to donate at Central Indiana Kroger Stores or Forum Credit Unions with continuing on-air and newscast announcements.