Washington, D.C. -- The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation presented the 2020 Service to America Awards, recognizing outstanding community service by local broadcasters. Winners were announced during the Celebration of Service to America Awards program, which aired tonight on hundreds of stations nationwide.
“Over the past year, America’s local radio and television stations have demonstrated unparalleled devotion to helping families and communities in need,” said NAB Leadership Foundation President Michelle Duke. “We are pleased to honor these exceptional stations and to celebrate this year’s winners with viewers and listeners during the first ever broadcast of the Celebration of Service to America Awards.”
The 2020 Service to America Awards winners are:
Raising awareness and money for the University of Missouri’s Children Hospital is personal for the Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, considering members of the staff have needed this hospital for their own children. Radio stations KCLR, KTXY, KATI and KSSZ came together to host the 13th annual Miracles for Kids Radiothon to tell the hospital’s story and raise money to benefit sick kids in mid-Missouri. The 2019 event raised $309,000, bringing the total amount raised for this local hospital to $2.81 million. The team at Zimmer Radio is committed to doing their part to make sure kids have the best doctors, nurses, staff and equipment when it comes to battling illness.
Gray Television’s “Measure of Hate” campaign exposed significant flaws and omissions in the FBI’s annual hate crime report, ultimately leading the FBI to overhaul policy and ending the agency’s decades-long illegal practice. Through the investigation, Gray Television discovered that the FBI wasn’t accurately reporting its own hate crime cases and that national statistics were based on voluntary reports from local agencies. Throughout 2019, several “Measure of Hate” stories aired in newscasts on all 93 Gray Television stations. Gray also aired a 30-minute “Measure of Hate” documentary. Due to this investigation the FBI, public officials and law enforcers were required to change their reporting procedures and reevaluate the information and data available to accurately measure hate crimes across this country.
With a goal of ending domestic violence, KIRO decided to take the issue back to where it starts, focusing on homes, schools and role models within a local community. In partnership with Coaching Boys into Men, this campaign aimed to prevent domestic violence by teaching high school coaches and athletes how to be community leaders. The station hosted a training program for winter sports coaches, offering incentives for those who completed the program. Through this partnership, KIRO has reached more than 33,000 students with a 42% implementation rate throughout the Seattle area. Thanks to the team at KIRO and the Coaching Boys into Men training, this local community is closer to developing leading examples of role models and athletes for the next generation and putting an end to the cycle of domestic violence.
After WKMG-TV news anchor Matt Austin was hit and seriously injured by a texting driver, the station initiated a relentless multi-faceted, multi-year campaign led by Austin to strengthen Florida’s texting and driving law. WKMG gathered stories from viewers, created partnerships with law enforcement and legislators and confronted those lawmakers who were creating roadblocks to a piece of legislation designed to save lives on Florida's roadways. After three years of work, on July 1, 2019, those efforts resulted in a new law, making texting and driving a primary offense. In the end, many legislators, including those who were originally against a more robust law, credit WKMG with being a major factor behind its passage.
To help curb increasing homelessness in the area, 100.5 and 790 Newsradio WSGW hosted the 14th annual Sharing Hope Radiothon to raise money for the Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan and its local shelters. With cross promotion from sister station 94.5 The MooseWCEN, this 12-hour campaign exceeded its fundraising goal and raised more than $47,000 while also educating the community. To show continued support for their sister station, WSGW partnered once again and helped raise awareness and donations for the two-day St. Jude Kids Radiothon to raise another $83,250. These two campaigns strengthen the ties of local radio and continue to better the community through the sharing of hope and resources.
After the tragic deaths and critical injuries of four children trying to cross the highway to get on the school bus, WNDU went beyond news coverage to advocate for stronger school bus safety and awareness. WNDU not only covered a tragedy but aimed to increase awareness around school bus stop safety and encourage the Indiana General Assembly to pass the MAXSTRONG School Bus Safety bill into law. The bill was signed by the Indiana governor in May 2019, but the station did not stop there. As children went back to school in districts across the DMA, WNDU launched a back-to-school safety campaign using yard signs, news coverage, PSAs and social media support all in an effort to make sure Hoosier children were headed back to school with a safer way to get there.
In July 2019, WKXW launched a series of reports highlighting misconduct within the New Jersey Family Court regarding rape and sexual assault cases. These investigative reports included the shocking details of local judges blocking prosecutors’ requests to try juveniles as adults as well as a pattern of victim blaming. This news series encouraged the community and local lawmakers to respond to these injustices. As a result of this series of investigative reports, the state Supreme Court accepted the resignation of one of the judges, took action to remove another from the bench and implemented mandatory sex crime training for all judges.
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael hit an area of the Florida Panhandle nicknamed “The Forgotten Coast.” By 2019, the area seemed to live up to its name. More than six months after the hurricane wiped out parts of this community, no federal relief aid – so critical for recovery – had arrived. As locals began to wonder when things would return to normal, WJHG got to work educating the community at large about how long it had been waiting for federal relief funds and what needed to be done to grab lawmakers’ attention. Through social media, daily coverage of local suffering and national media outreach, this team made sure lawmakers heard the outcry for support. Finally, 236 days following Hurricane Michael, a Federal Disaster Relief package passed and this area was one step closer to not feeling so forgotten.