Serving the public interest is ingrained in a broadcaster’s DNA. It is what we do. Congratulations to the Rochester area radio and television stations for serving their community. At a recent luncheon at the Country Club of Rochester, the following stations and community groups received special recognition:
WHAM –TV – Special Olympics – Polar Plunge
The Rochester Polar Plunge is part of the Special Olympics New York Polar Plunge series. It is a signature fundraising event to benefit the athletes and programs of the Special Olympics. Sinclair’s WHAM-TV Channel 13 (ABC), WUHF (FOX) and also CW-TV in Rochester partnered with Special Olympics New York to serve as media sponsor for the 15th annual Rochester Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach Park. The stations served a priority role in driving awareness of the event, producing a fun and informative PSA featuring ‘Good Day Rochester’ reporter Hannah Welker and a pair of polar bear sidekicks. The spot ran for multiple weeks across the three stations and was accompanied by ample pre- and post-event news coverage. Welker, who became a first-time participant of the Polar Plunge, also served as emcee of event’s award ceremony. Overall the partnership allowed Special Olympics set multiple records, attracting more than 2,400 Polar Plunge participants and achieving a fundraising high of $327,000. Chuck Samuels, VP and GM of WHAM-TV was on hand to receive the award.
WNYR (Finger Lakes Radio) – Autism Awareness
WNYR worked with the E. John Gavras Center of Auburn to promote the walk for autism event in Cayuga County on April 14th. Nancy Tehan from the E. John Gavras Center of Auburn, was interviewed to discuss the upcoming walk for autism event. The audio from interview was sent to the news department to be used in news stories on all Finger Lakes Radio Group stations. Personalities in all dayparts promoted the event and directed people to our website for information. A banner with a link to the event was placed on the website
Program Director and morning personality Jim Schreck was put in touch with two parents of autistic children who were interviewed off air regarding their experiences with their autistic child, and the importance of testing to receive appropriate services. These interviews were edited into 60 second PSA’s which ran three times a day for the week leading up to the walk. The station did a live broadcast from the walk for autism in Cayuga County on WNYR. Jim Schreck, Program Director and Morning Personality on WNYR attended the luncheon and received the award on behalf of WNYR.
WGVA (Finger Lakes Radio) – Anti Bullying Campaign
WGVA aired a series of anti-bullying public service announcements, written and voiced by local High School students. PSAs voiced by local student-athletes aired during live broadcasts of High School sports. Promotions Director Tiffany Collinsworth spearheaded assemblies at High Schools in the listening area, encouraging students to take an anti-bullying pledge. A contest was also conducted soliciting anti-bullying t-shirt and poster designs, giving away concert tickets to the winners. The program was very effective in getting the message out throughout the community. School administrators applauded the program. Ted Baker, Program Director and Morning Host was on hand to receive the award on behalf of WGVA.
WFLR (Finger Lake Radio) – Kueka Comfort Care Home’s “Krossin’ Keuka” Swim
For the seventh year – since its inception – WFLR has been involved in the Kueka Comfort Care Home’s “Krossin’ Keuka” swim. This year the event raised just over $60,000 as almost 300 swimmers – including WFLR’s Mike Smith – swim the width of the East Branch of Keuka Lake.
Representatives of Keuka Comfort Care Home come on the station’s talk show “Open Mic” to discuss the event and inform the public of how Keuka Comfort Care Home provides their facility and staff to ensure compassionate care in a peaceful, home-like environment for the community’s terminally ill residents. They provide this service at no charge to the clients or their insurance. They are funded by private donations and memorials, and by fundraisers like “Krossin’ Keuka” – their top fundraiser of the year.
In addition to the participants, the event draws support from a wide community base including Keuka College as the host of the event, the Yates County Sheriff’s Department for safety & security for the swimmers as they cross the lake, and over 50 businesses for donations of prizes and materials for the event (food, shelters, shuttle boats, etc.) Mike Smith – Program Director and Morning Host received the award on behalf of the station.
WFLK/WCGR Finger Lakes Radio (Geneva and Canandaigua) – Backpack Food Drive and March of Dimes Premature Birth Awareness
The Finger Lakes Hot Country station, WFLK/WCGR turned a listener promotion into an opportunity for listeners to donate food to Trevor’s Gift and to learn more about the March of Dimes efforts to help mothers whose babies have been born prematurely. “K101.7 and 104.5” hosted a “Ladies Night Out” in February with hundreds of are women coming to a local hotel to enjoy entertainment and local vendors. They were encouraged to bring food that is used to fill backpacks of nutritionally needy children in the Finger Lakes for use over weekends and vacations when students don’t have access to the school cafeterias. Additionally, the stations provided literature and an opportunity to donate to the March of Dimes. Attendees of Ladies Night out participated in these initiatives very generously and were pleased that we helped the community in addition to providing a reason to go out on a cold winter’s night.
WBSU 89.1 The Point (SUNY Brockport) –Volunteer for Animals Program – Pet Pick of the Week
“Volunteers for Animals” is a non-profit organization that works with the Genesee County Animal Shelter in Batavia. The organization provides a variety of services, such as fundraising for medical costs and food for shelter animals.
The shelter only accepts animals from Genesee County residents, and people surrendering animals are asked to call ahead, as the shelter will turn away animals they don’t have space for. To help promote adoptions, 89.1 The Point has teamed up with Volunteers for Animals to create the “Pet Pick of the Week” campaign. Each week, one adoptable cat or dog is featured on The Point’s website, as well as mentioned on air. They also post on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, so as to reach a wider, more diverse audience.
This not only raises awareness for the shelter, it helps provide fur-ever homes for the animals. Donna the beagle mix was adopted from the shelter after being featured on “Pet Pick of the Week.” Unfortunately, her new person became too ill to care for her, and Donna had to return to the shelter. Volunteers for Animals sent her information to The Point to feature for “Pet Pick of the Week” and we’re very happy to say she was adopted again. “Pet Pick of the Week” has helped dozens of cats and dogs find homes, and will continue to do so as long as Volunteers for Animals and 89.1 The Point are partners. Warren Kozireski from WBSU and Kelly Kuehn from the Volunteer for Animals Program were on hand to receive the award.
WRMM/WFKL/WZNE Radio (Stephens Media Group) – Rochester Rotary Club’s “Launch A Ball” Campaign
The Stephens Media Group stations helped the Rochester Rotary Club execute a “Launch A Ball” promotion at Rochester Red Wings Saturday Night Home Games. Fans bought Tennis Balls from Rochester Rotary Club volunteers to participate. The object of “Launch A Ball” is to throw the balls into a barrel placed on the field at the end of the game. One of the fans that gets the ball in the barrel is chosen to win a prize and is invited back to a game at the end of the season where they had a chance to win a Golf Vacation to Vermont.
The Rochester Rotary Club raised over $2,600, received over 300 Promotional Announcements on WARM 101.3/Fickle 93.3/94.1 The Zone and was recognized at the games on the scoreboard and by the Red Wings announcer. The money and the promotion benefited the Rochester Rotary Club’s Sunshine Camp. Each summer, more than 2500 children and young adults with disabilities take advantage of the Sunshine Camp’s 157 acre campground, featuring rock climbing, zip lines, archery, swimming and overnight stays. WARM 101.3’s Morning Personality Tony Infantino presented the check to the Rochester Rotary Club at their weekly luncheon at the Rochester Convention Center. John Romero from WRMM and representatives from the Rochester Rotary Club attended and accepted the award.
WHEC-TV – The Champion Academy
Rochester native and Super Bowl Champion, Roland Williams, started the Champion Academy Mentoring & Empowerment Initiative to help Rochester’s at-risk youth succeed through positivity, accountability, mentorship, and love.
WHEC-TV supports these efforts by sponsoring a “team” but also by bringing to light the remarkable stories of success through a series of news stories and by encouraging others to get involved. Additionally, WHEC produced a half hour special highlighting Roland’s story and the Champion Academy. This was a very timely piece – running only days after a mass shooting of Rochester youth – which took place directly across the street from Roland’s childhood home.
Obviously work needs to be done – the Champion Academy is making a real difference and WHEC is proud to play a small role in these efforts. Derek Dalton VP and General manager of WHEC and Yvonne Donnley from the Champion Academy were on hand to receive the award.
WBZA/WBEE/WCMF (Entercom Communications) – Gilda’s Club Rochester
Throughout the year the Entercom stations of Rochester provide continuing support for Gilda’s Club of Rochester. Gilda’s Club provides a meeting place for men, women and children living with cancer, along with their family and friends. They join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care.
Free of charge and non-profit, Gilda’s Club offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a non-residential, homelike setting. Gilda’s Club is funded through the generosity of private individuals, corporations, foundations, and grants.
The Entercom stations of Rochester supported a number of events throughout the year, including the following:
Crosscheck Cancer, 2/12 (Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex)- $10,500 RAISED: WCMF was a Top Gold Sponsor while WCMF’s “The Break Room” morning co-host Pat Duffy and WBZA’s “Spezzano & Sandy” morning show producer Chris Konya both played in this hockey event to benefit Gilda’s Club Rochester. WBZA Program Director and afternoon host Mike Danger was the P.A. announcer. Both stations promoted the event heavily on-air.
Bachelor’s Auction on March 27th – $31,200 RAISED: A Gilda’s Club Associate Board fund-raiser where 98PXY’s Megan Carter of the “Carter & Corey” morning show served as emcee while co-host Corey James, 98PXY Promotions Director and evening personality Chris Debbins, and 98.9 The Buzz’s Spezzano & Sandy morning show producer Chris Konya all volunteered as bachelors in the auction. Both stations promoted the event extensively, creating friendly rivalries as to which personality would raise the most money.
Surviving in Style Fashion Show on April 26th – $20,150 RAISED: WBZA’s Spezzano & Sandy and producer Chris Konya emcee this event each year. They tell the stories of hope, strength and courage of our cancer survivor models as they walk the runway in the latest fashions alongside their family and caregivers.
Jerry Flynn’s Children’s Golf Classic on June 8th – $19,000 RAISED: All stations provide PSA schedules to drive participation while WBEE “Bee Morning Coffee Club” co-host Steve Hausmann does a public affairs program prior to the event and serves as emcee.
Road To Hockey To Conquer Cancer on September 26th: WCMF’s “Break Room” morning co-host Pat Duffy joined Gilda’s Club Executive Director Bob Russell and the Gilda’s Club team as they traveled to Toronto as one of 150 teams to participate in a weekend-long tournament that raised over $2.4 million to fight cancer.
Heroes Ball on November 21st – $127,000 RAISED: WBZA’s Spezzano & Sandy are the auctioneers for Gilda’s Club’s largest fund-raising event of the year each fall. Entercom provides PSAs on all 5 stations weeks out in support. Susan Munn VP GM of Entercom Communications in Rochester and Robert Russell, CEO Gilda’s Club of Rochester were on hand to receive the awards.
WXXI – “Dialogue on Disability” and “Move to Include” with the Golisano Foundation and the Al Sigl Center
The Golisano Foundation, the nation’s leading foundation dedicated to helping individuals with intellectual disabilities. Dan Meyers, President of the Al Sigl Center first approached WXXI a decade ago to propose a week-long partnership that would help inform the community about the “abilities” of those we consider to be “disabled.” That first initiative, Dialogue on Disability, was an instant success, with radio, television and online programming reaching tens of thousands of people. Each year, Dialogue on Disability continued to grow and to have more impact. With Dan’s support, WXXI approached the Golisano Foundation and proposed a partnership to focus on “inclusion.” With grant support of the Foundation, WXXI launched “Move to Include,” a year-long initiative to encourage our community to become more welcoming towards, and more inclusive of, people with intellectual disabilities.
WXXI’s video about the “Very Positive Exposure” Exhibition currently at the George Eastman House, in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Golisano Foundation, was recently shown at a PBS meeting in Tampa where it was called “a show stopper.” It has received national attention on the PBS Facebook page and WXXI will work to make it available to students and teachers across the country through PBS Learning Media.
With the support and encouragement of Dan Meyers and Ann Costello, “Move to Include” has become a highlight of WXXI’s programming to serve everyone in our community! Norm Silverstein, President & CEO WXXI Public Broadcasting Council; Ann Costello, Director B. Thomas Golisano Foundation and Dan Meyers, President, Al Sigl Center attended to receive their awards.
WROC –TV – The Willow Domestic Violence Center
In 2015, the former Alternatives for Battered women underwent a complete reorganization including a name change to Willow Domestic Violence Center. WROC has partnered with a local agency, Tipping Point Communications, to develop a public service campaign focused on reintroducing Willow Domestic Violence Center through public service announcements, news stories and live studio interviews. The focus of the campaign will be to inform the public that Willow is prepared to provide services to not just women who are in abusive situations but children, men and even pets. WROC is currently in the pre-production phase of an on air campaign that will be launched in mid-November.
WUUF (Big Dog Country) & WACK AM – American Red Cross and the WAYNE ARC
One of the events that WUUF-FM, Big Dog Country is American Red Cross Annual “Vegas Night” fundraiser. The proceeds help the Red Cross continue to deliver vital services to our community in times of disaster, including assistance at house fires and deployments during disasters across the country. Last winter, Vegas Night hosted 300 people and raised more than $29,000 toward Red Cross disaster relief. Included with each ticket are “Barton Bucks”, named after founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton. Participants play casino games such as Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘em, Roulette, and Craps with the “Barton Bucks” which are used to bid on auction items at the end of the night. Big Dog Country supports the Red Cross Vegas Night with sponsorship, a month schedule and door prizes for the silent auction.
WACK1420 AM also works closely with the community. One of the station’s community partners is Wayne ARC, a non-profit agency supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. They assist individuals to take their full, independent, productive place in society. 1420 WACK supports Wayne ARC throughout the year with PSA campaigns for Disabilities Month in March, Events such as their Wheel Chair Basketball game featuring the Rochester Wheels against area celebrities and by sponsoring and supporting their two largest fundraisers…their annual Golf Tournament and their Wine Tasting Event which together raised over $35,000 to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities in the area. John Tickner, VP and GM of the stations, was on hand to receive the award.