Category Archives: Connecting to Local Communities

Michigan TV Stations to Host Telethon for Flint

Flint-water-crisis-telethonOn Tuesday, March 15, five Michigan television stations will come together to host “Flint Water Crisis: For Our Families,” a telethon that will air from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to raise funds for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Child Health and Development Fund.

The telethon will be hosted by WDIV-TV (Detroit).  It will air on WEYI-TV (Flint), WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids), WILX-TV (Lansing) and WWTV/WWUP-TV in northern Michigan.

WDIV-TV General Manager Marla Drutz told the Detroit Free Press that the idea came up during a station staff meeting:

“As we became more and more involved in our coverage of Flint, it became more and more important that it had to be more than coverage that we’d be involved in.  Every TV station we called….didn’t wait even five seconds to say yes.”

The telethon will be hosted at Art Van Furniture in Flint.

Blarney Stone Brings Five More Years of Tigers Baseball to Northern Michigan

According to a recent press release, Blarney Stone Broadcasting has extended their Detroit Tigers affiliate agreement through the 2020 season.

WUPY-FM (Ontonagon) will be celebrating the start of the Tigers’ new season this spring with two “Opening Day” parties.

The first will be on Tuesday, April 5, when the Tigers begin their season on the road against the Florida Marlins. [WUPY on-air personality] JC will be broadcasting live from The Firehouse in St. Helen [Michigan], and listeners can win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Tigers game, plus Q100 T-shirts in our Tiger Trivia contest.

The game will air on Y101.1, starting with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.

The Q100.3 party is on again when the Tigers head north for their home opener on April 8 against the New York Yankees. This time, JC will be broadcasting life from Fred’s of Roscommon from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Listeners can register to win more great prizes and Q100.1 T-shirts.

Pregame starts at 12:40 p.m., with the first pitch at 1:08 p.m. Hear all the action on Y101.

Q100’s JJ Will Participate in Black Bear Gran Fondo and Ice Man Cometh

According to Blarney Stone Broadcasting, the date and format of Grayling’s Black Bear cycling race has changed, but WQON-FM (Grayling) Q100’s JJ (of JJ’s Morning Jams) will still be participating again this year.

The annual the Black Bear cycling event, organized by the Grayling Rotary Club, becomes the Black Bear Gran Fondo in 2016, with a new route, new weekend and new format that will challenge riders of all skill levels.

The Black Bear Gran Fondo starts and finishes at Hanson Hills Recreation Area, 7601 Old Lake Road, Grayling, the hub of all Black Bear Gran Fondo activities on race day, Saturday, July 9.  Riders will choose the option of one of two chip-timed, looped routes: 101-plus miles (starting at 8 a.m.) and 53-plus miles (starting at 8:30 a.m.) traversing the scenic landscape of Northern Michigan around beautiful Higgins Lake and back north through the Au Sable River Valley.

For updates on JJ’s progress, listen to Q100.3 weekday mornings from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. or visit JJ’s Blog at

WLNS-TV & Art Van Collect More Than 12,000 Bottles of Clean Water for Flint

WLNS Andrea Ilitch
Image via WLNS Facebook

Together with Art Van, WLNS-TV (Lansing) collected over 12,000 bottles of clean water for the people of Flint. On February 15, trucks were loaded with bottled water and began the trip out to Flint.

The 6 News team, along with Art Van in West Lansing, helped pack two trucks with bottled water to send to their neighbors in Flint.

“Well, when people need help, that’s what we’re here for. And everyone has to help everyone out,” one man said.

One woman dropped off a truck bed full of 60 cases of water.

“God blessed me with my taxes this year,” she said. “So me and another one of my friends decided to go half on them. It’s a pallet of water.”

In just 12 hours, more than 12,000 bottles of clean water filled these trucks. One day’s effort will make a long lasting impact.

Art Van locations across the state of Michigan will be collecting bottled water donations, including cash funds.

Before Monday, Art Van and partners have already delivered 400 tons of water to the city.

WYTZ-FM Hosts a Radiothon to Benefit St. Jude Kids

975 Y CountryWYTZ-FM (Benton Harbor) hosted its 11th annual 2016 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon broadcasting live from Silver Beach Center in St. Joseph. The fundraiser took place on February 18-19.

This annual event raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, ranked one of the best pediatric cancer hospitals in the country. St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. The past 97.5 Y-Country radiothons have raised a total of over $265,000!

The Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program is celebrating its 27th year credited to Randy Owen, the lead singer of the music group ALABAMA. Country Cares has grown to be one of the most successful radio fund-raising events in the nation with more than 200 radio station partners raising more than $500 million in pledges. These pledges will fund research that is shared with our local community hospitals.

Listeners were able to donate during the radiothon by calling in to the phone bank or online at or by coming to The Silver Beach Center on February 18 or 19.

Local 4 Special – “Failure in Flint: Inside the Water Crisis”

WDIV-TVWDIV-TV Local 4 (Detroit) and ClickOnDetroit presented “Failure in Flint: Inside the Water Crisis,” an hour-long special about the Flint Water Crisis on Tuesday, February 16 at 8 p.m. Carmen Harlan and Devin Scillian were live from Flint, MI to examine the dramatic impact of the decision to stop buying water from the city of Detroit, the latest on the devastating health effects, and what the next steps will be to find solutions to this crisis.

Hank Winchester, Local 4’s consumer reporter, continued his in-depth investigating of the impact this emergency is having on the community of Flint – most importantly, the children.

Local 4’s investigative unit, The Defenders, took viewers through the latest on the FBI investigation, the reality for the citizens of Flint, and what will make Flint’s water safe again.

In addition to reporting by Harlan, Scillian, and Winchester, Local 4’s Kevin Dietz, Karen Drew, and Kimberly Gill contributed to the news special.

Gill profiled the “Faces of Flint” and the impact this disaster will have for years to come.  “Faces of Flint”  is an NBC News and WDIV-TV partnership that gives a platform to the children of Flint. There are multiple ways to follow the story using the hashtag #FacesOfFlint on social media.

“Local 4 News is dedicated to seeing the stories of Flint through until residents have safe tap water, the infrastructure is fixed, and the policy makers ensure that this will not ever happen again,” said Local 4 News Director Kim Voet.

WXYZ Collects 20+ Tons of School Supplies

WXYZ supplies driveWXYZ-TV’s (Detroit) week-long “Fix My School” supplies drive collected more than 20 tons of school supplies for students and teachers in Detroit Public Schools. The items donated filled three semi-trucks and included notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, Kleenex, and toilet paper.

“At a time when Detroit schools are in crisis, these supplies will make a tremendous difference for thousands of kids and teachers,” said Dave Manney, WXYZ news director. “The staggering amount of donations also sends a powerful message of hope. People across southeastern Michigan will do whatever they can to help Detroit students and teachers succeed.”

“Fix My School” is a 7 Action News series that brings attention to issues and concerns in school districts throughout Metro Detroit. After a number of stories focused on the needs of the 47,000 students in Detroit Public Schools, WXYZ decided to take action to address the problem. Viewers were encouraged on-air, on-line, and on mobile, to drop off classroom supplies at one of 56 Leo’s Coney Island restaurants throughout Metro Detroit. Stevens Worldwide Van Line donated its trucks to transport the supplies to a central warehouse. The City of Detroit donated warehouse space to hold all of the supplies.

“I am completely overwhelmed! To Channel 7, to Leo’s Coney Island, to everyone who donated, I just want to say thank you,” said Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

The supplies will be distributed by the Detroit Federation of Teachers beginning Monday, February 22.

WNEM TV5 Hosts Town Hall Discussion on Flint Water Crisis

WNEM Town hallOn February 5, 2016, WNEM-TV5 (Flint) took its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis to new heights.  The station devoted the 7pm to 8pm hour on this Friday night to a town hall discussion on the crisis affecting Mid-Michigan’s largest city for nearly two years.  WNEM is the only station to provide a special broadcast in prime access or prime time. TV5 anchors Sam Merrill and Collette Boyd hosted from the station’s downtown Flint studio.

Among those participating in the discussion were Hurley Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha, the physician who discovered a connection between the drinking water and the high lead levels and Virginia Tech PhD, Dr. Mark Edwards, the first scientist to demonstrate that the highly corrosive water was causing lead to leach from water distribution lines and pipes.  Elected officials, including Congressman Dan Kildee (D-5), State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-34), State Senator and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-27), also participated.

Families experiencing severe health effects from the water told the story of the impact on their children.  The top EPA official probing the problem visually displayed the difference between a corroded pipe and one with full lead protection.  Local activists challenged officials to solve the problem, even if it means removing all the lead service lines citywide.  Governor Rick Snyder (R) was an invited guest.  He chose to participate by conducting a one-on-one interview with TV5’s Sam Merrill a few hours prior to the event.

According to WNEM-TV5 General Manager Al Blinke, “this town hall meeting was a great opportunity for the community to get an in-depth look at the water situation in Flint and to have an uninterrupted discussion regarding the water crisis. TV5 felt there needed to be  a venue, other than the local news, that allowed more time to delve into the problem and the solutions.”

WNEM News Director Ian Rubin said, “The town hall meeting was an important avenue for TV5 to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to the audience even as the national news media spends more time on the story. We were investigating this story for a year and a half before it received national attention, and we will likely be digging deep on it long after the national media departs.”

WZZM-TV Launches Project to Help Flint

WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids)
has launched a project to help their neighbors in Flint.

The “Water for Flint” campaign is a partnership with Sleep Doctor stores. They are collecting cases and jugs of bottled water, and have sent several truckloads of water to Flint already.

Their campaign has inspired additional efforts by a number of local companies, schools, and other organizations. Pictures are below:

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WXYZ-TV Takes Part in Special Effort to Help Flint

WXYZ TVWXYZ-TV (Detroit) took part in a special effort to assist Flint during the ongoing water emergency.

According to WXYZ-TV’s website, 7 Action News was the exclusive broadcast partner in a campaign that was launched by Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Councilman Andre L. Spivey, representatives from Faygo, and the United Way to raise funds for water.

As part of the campaign, the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers and D&B Distributors provided bottled water to the effort below wholesale cost.

The United Way set up a website where donations are still being accepted. You can visit to make your donation.

“In Detroit we have concerns as it relates to affordable water for residents, and we are working on solutions to address this issue; however, for a community to not have access to clean water is unconscionable… we must do our part!” said Councilman Spivey.