WASHINGTON, DC - Broadcasters gathered Monday night for the NAB Education Foundation's eighth annual Service to America Awards Celebration at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC. They honored former President Clinton with the Leadership Award, Gulf Coast broadcasters with the Samaritan Award for their relief efforts before, during and after Hurricane Katrina and other local broadcasters.
The event celebrated local broadcasters for their public service efforts. In addition to the Gulf Coast broadcasters receiving the Samaritan Award, other local broadcasters were honored with the Service to Children Awards, Partnership Awards, Friend in Need Awards, Service to America Television Award and Service to America College Radio Award.
"We are catalysts for change in our community," said Service to America Television Award winner Victoria Reegan, vice president and general manger, WPBF-TV West Palm Beach, FL. "It is with great pride that I am in the midst of all these broadcasters."
President Clinton received the Leadership Award for his lifetime commitment to public service. He urged broadcasters to use their collective voice to promote a national culture of public service. President Clinton lauded the power of the combined use of traditional media and the Internet in relief and public service efforts.
"I am profoundly grateful to all of you," said President Clinton when speaking about broadcaster relief efforts for the Southeast Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
The NAB also used the event to announce that local radio and television stations generated a record $10.3 billion in public service in 2005, through a combination of airtime donated for public service announcements and money raised for charity and disaster relief.
"Even at $10.3 billion, it is a conservative estimate of what broadcasters contribute to their communities," said NAB Joint Board Chair and Bonneville President and CEO Bruce Reese. "The total includes a combination of airtime donated for public service announcements, money raised for charity and disaster relief, and financial support from stations and their employees.
"While this is an impressive figure, it is the broadcasters we honor at Service to America who give that number meaning - and show us the faces of some of the people responsible for that generosity."
Commitment to public service was evident last night as a college radio station received pledges of equipment to keep the station on air. The station, KMSU-FM Mankato, MN, Minnesota State University, which won the Service to America College Radio Award, was nearly pulled off the air. However, when it was announced that it would be honored for its public service, the university reaffirmed its commitment to the station and efforts to get funds for a new tower. At last night's event, after hearing about the station's equipment needs, other broadcasters came together to offer donations for a new transmitter for the station.
Last night's award winners were:
Service to America Television Award
WPBF-TV West Palm Beach, FL
Service to America College Radio Award
KMSU- FM Mankato, MN, Minnesota State University
Service to Children Awards
Radio: KVAK-FM/AM Valdez, AK
Television: WLTV-TV Miami, FL
Service to America Partnership Awards
Television: KRON-TV San Francisco, CA
With partners: Students Rising Above, The Peninsula Community Foundation, The Summer Search Foundation
Radio: WTMX-FM Chicago, IL
With partner: Children's Memorial Hospital
Service to America Friend in Need Awards
Television: WSET-TV Lynchburg, VA
Radio: KHUM-FM Ferndale, CA
About the Service to America Awards
The Service to America Awards is presented by the NABEF with major support from Bonneville International Corporation and the National Association of Broadcasters. Details about the Service to America Awards are available at www.nabef.org.
Founded in 1964, Bonneville operates 28 radio stations in the Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and Salt Lake City markets, as well as KSL-TV (NBC affiliate) in Salt Lake City. Bonneville's motto is "Do good, do well, make a difference, and have fun." In addition to competing aggressively in major market broadcasting, Bonneville has a tradition of award-winning commitment to the communities it serves.
The NAB Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the public interest in supporting and advocating: education and training programs, strategies to increase diversity, initiatives stressing the importance of the First Amendment, community service, philanthropy and other timely broadcasting issues.
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.