Serving the public interest is ingrained in a broadcaster’s DNA. It is what we do. Congratulations to the Central New York stations in Syracuse, Watertown and Utica for their outstanding public service efforts. At a recent luncheon at the University Sheraton, the following stations and community groups received special recognition:
WAUB – Auburn – Focus on the Arts
WAUB helped promote the arts in Auburn and Cayuga County, with regular guest appearances on the Finger Lakes Morning News by people with the Schweinfurth Art Center, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, the Hangar Theater, Auburn Chamber Orchestra and Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival.
Former WAUB News Anchor and Finger Lakes Morning News co-host Joe Salzone served on the boards of the Auburn Chamber Orchestra and the local public access TV station and served as Master of Ceremonies at numerous local arts events and fundraisers. Steve Penstone WAUB’s morning news anchor was on hand to receive the award.
WWTI – Watertown School Backpack Program
In February 2015 the station learned that Starbuck Elementary School in the city of Watertown was starting a Backpack program to serve Students K-4. Statistics showed that students in this elementary school, one of five in Watertown, have the greatest need. Those statistics showed that 81% of its students were in the free/reduced lunch rate program. The overall rate in the Watertown districts is 62%.
ABC 50 Community Relations Specialist Alex Hazard met with the Starbuck Elementary School Principle and together designed a number of local PSA’s explaining the need an asking for food and/or cash donations to fill backpacks and send needy students home with food. Every Friday backpacks are filled with nearly 10 pounds of food. Cash donations to date have exceeded $5,000 to purchase food. All videos/PSA’s are also shared on our social media.
The station’s effort and campaign is 52 weeks a year, not just during the school year because childhood hunger does not take a break. When the program started they were sending home about 50 backpacks per week. Now that total is 60 per week. Also due to the success, the program will be adding another 2 of the 5 elementary schools. With the continued growth of this program the design is to offer this program in all 5 Watertown City elementary buildings. A child that is unequipped to learn because of hunger and poverty is more likely to be economically disadvantaged. The station’s Backpack program has proven an effective way to address child hunger in the Watertown Community. David Males, VP and General Manager of WWTI, was on hand to accept the award.
WWNY – TV ABC 7 /WNYF Fox – Ellie Van Golf Tournament
The Ellie Van Golf Classic is a captain & crew charity golf tournament. Through its partnership with area businesses, including 7News & Fox28, the event has raised $52,000 for breast cancer research and education scholarships in only two years.
Elena Van Eenenaam was a local amateur golfer of great renown, winning city and club championships on many occasions. In January 2013 she lost her battle with breast cancer. As a tribute to this fine woman, a group of her fellow golfers organized a memorial tournament to honor her and contribute financially to two worthy causes.
The Ellie Van Golf Classic organizing committee worked closely with 7News and Fox28 to generate exposure for the event through a promotional schedule and event publicity. 7News and Fox28 ran schedules with an approximate $10,000 value to promote the event and generate team entries. The stations also offered pre-event interviews on their highly rated morning and noon news programs. And, the station’s sports director provided a pre-event story, as well as same day event coverage in the 6pm news.
In addition to promotion and coverage, the General Sales Manager is a committee member and the stations entered a co-ed team in the event. Proceeds from the tournament are divided between two beneficiaries. The majority of the funds benefit the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of Central New York. This organization awards research funding to the doctors at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, which provides care and treatment to hundreds of women from the North Country.
The second beneficiary is the Northern New York Community Foundation for an education scholarship in Ellie Van Eenenaam’s name.
This year, the Ellie Van Golf Classic sold out its 36-team roster two weeks in advance and had to create a waiting list. These accomplishments are highly unusual for a new charity golf tournament, especially with the vast number of these fundraisers throughout the summer and early fall. The commitment of the organizing committee, in partnership with 7News and Fox28, helped launch the event and establish it as one of the premiere golf tournaments in the North Country. Ed Bassler VP and General Manager of WWNY-TV accepted the award for the station.
WSYR – New Channel 9 – “Operation 9” Teen Safe Driving Campaign
Serious injuries and deaths on the road are a major concern throughout Central New York. That’s especially true during the warm weather months, when teenagers are learning to drive. For the last three years, News Channel 9 WSYR has worked hard to keep our viewers from becoming statistics. Our Teen Safe Driving Campaign “Operation 9” runs from Prom Season through the summer. The goal is to keep road safety top-of-mind… with messages aimed directly at young viewers.
- The station created a series of Safe Driving vignettes. Young drivers deliver the messages. The spots, sponsored by concerned local businesses, air during our major newscasts and throughout the broadcast day on News Channel 9, Me-TV, and Bounce.
- The station tied in news coverage of Safe Driving initiatives in the community.
- WSYR’s morning show, “Bridge Street,” produces safe driving segments regularly throughout the summer.
- Display ads ran on LocalSYR.com with attention-grabbing facts and the tagline, “Don’t be a statistic.”
- The website also has a Safe Driving content page, offering links to resources in the community, along with access to all of our vignettes, Bridge Street segments, and other coverage.
- All of the Operation 9 content is also available to our mobile users.
The station believes in this campaign. Many of us are parents of young drivers. Our station family has been touched by tragedy in the past. Our sponsors believe in the message. And we are dedicated to making sure the message gets through. Bill Evans VP and General Manager of WSYR-TV accepted the award for the station.
Syracuse iHeartMedia – “Buy Local – Buy Onondaga Grown” Campaign
Syracuse iHeartMedia, in partnership with the Onondaga County Agriculture Council, created a robust multi-media campaign that provided consumers in Onondaga County with the knowledge they need to buy food grown within their county. The campaign centered on the message of “Buy local. Buy Onondaga Grown.”
The campaign officially launched on June 24th at Reeves Farm where fresh local strawberries and ice cream were served, and continued through September. Radio, TV, outdoor and digital media all promoted the same message: Look for “Onondaga Grown” food where you shop or eat.
Every retailer, restaurant, market, and farm stand offering Onondaga Grown food items was invited to participate by requesting a free kit containing small “Buy Local Onondaga Grown” stickers that could be affixed to signage, large window clings, posters, and more. The kit was also available as a free digital download. Participants were then listed at a web portal hosted at all five iHeartMedia radio station websites. Consumers now had a straightforward way to change their shopping habits to include Onondaga Grown products.
The “Buy Local.” Buy Onondaga Grown” campaign also provided the public with a better understanding of the importance of farmland to Onondaga County, which is home to over 700 farms and a $152 million agricultural economy. The radio, TV, and outdoor advertising highlighted specific products: produce, dairy, eggs, meat, maple and honey products, and more. The radio commercials were all translated to Spanish and aired during the Sabor Latino show on Power 620 every Saturday during the campaign!
Radio PSAs were voiced by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney as well as the Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta. In addition, iHeartMedia Syracuse created “Onondaga Grown” Facebook and Twitter accounts, followed by nearly 400 people. Local Syracuse farm blogger Debra Groom wrote over two dozen articles focusing on specific farms, nutrition facts, and tips on buying and eating local.
What has set the “Buy Local – Buy Onondaga Grown” initiative apart is that it’s not just an awareness campaign; it’s a call to action campaign. The campaign has provided a powerful, direct link between what the community heard on local media, and what they saw at retailers across Onondaga County. The result is more people buying local…and buying Onondaga Grown. Rick Yacobush, Vice President & Market Manager iHeart Media & Entertainment, accepted the award for the stations.
Mov’in 100.3/96.5 FM – Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York
Over the years the station has helped raise $200,000 for the Alzheimer Foundation. Heather Daly from the station volunteered to host/emcee a couple of their fundraising events, in addition to the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Throughout the year, the station had the Association appear at least six times on our half-hour Public Affairs Show. A representative from the Alzheimer’s Association has appeared numerous times to speak live on the MOVIN Morning Show. The station has supported Association in other ways as well, including participating in numerous fundraising events. VP and General Manager John Hunt accepted the award for the station.
WRLK/WTKW (Galaxy Communications) – Supporting Todd’s Fund
“Galaxy Communications was the media sponsor for the 2nd annual “Holes for Hope” golf tournament for Todd’s Fund. Todd’s Fund mission is “To provide hope and relief for children in need” and the Holes for Hope tournament is their leading fund raising event of the year.
Galaxy contributed three weeks of radio spot banks airing across all four Syracuse brands: TK99, Sunny 102, ESPN Radio and K-Rock. TK99 was the lead station, with the Gomez and Lisa morning show conducting interviews with Todd’s Fund staff and board members to promote the event.
Most significantly, Gomez Adams, Lisa Chelenza and Jim Reith from the stations participated in the golf tournament, soliciting donations from listeners on-air and via social media. The end result was over $40,000 being raised for Todd’s Fund to help Central New York children in need.” ED Levine, CEO of Galaxy Communications and Steve Vasick accepted the award on behalf of the stations.
WIBX/WFRG/WODZ WLZW – Veteran – Replacing Stolen Prosthetic Device
The service men and women of the United States military make incredible sacrifices on our behalf. Some make the ultimate sacrifice and many others sustain injuries that will last a lifetime, whether they physical, psychological or emotional.
The local community was stunned to hear the story of a combat veteran whose service cost him one of his eyes. He was suited with a prosthetic, but for various reasons did not wear it every hour of every day. Sadly, the device, which was placed in a secure case inside of his vehicle, was stolen during a burglary.
WIBX 950 worked with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and held an impromptu fundraising effort while Sheriff Rob Maciol was LIVE on the air, telling this unsettling story. Within 90 minutes, WIBX listeners and staff had donated a total of $2,000, the cost needed to replace the device.
WIBX and the Onieda County Sheriff’s Office were able to present a check to this American hero just days after his prosthetic was stolen.
WSYT-TV (Fox 8) and My 43 (WNYS) – Reach Out Central New York
The station worked with local East Syracuse Minoa High School and their TV production classes to create Anti-Bullying PSAs featuring the students that run on our air on a regular basis. In addition to that, the station does sponsorship work for ACR Health, a local AIDS Foundation, with their charity walk/ runs as well as production of PSAs and short form video for their internal use.
The station coordinated an effort with a local shoe repair shop to drive donations to his store of old unwanted shoes which he then repairs and donates to The Rescue Mission. In addition, the station is in the process of coordinating with Good Life Youth Foundation in Syracuse to increase awareness of one of the most concentrated centers of poverty in the nation and call for action.
We believe in using the resources we have to help and better our community. All these programs and PSAs run at a zero charge to the business owners and utilize some of our available inventory to broadcast their message. These are just a few of our favorite ways to give back and we are always looking for more ways to better out community. Andrew Brazil, Creative Director and Digital Manager accepted the award for the station.