Category Archives: Connecting to Local Communities

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 975ycountry.com 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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 www.detroit2flint.com 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.

Local 4’s Community Effort Helps Residents of Flint

Hank Winchester WDIV Water EffortsFrom in-depth news reports to community outreach campaigns, WDIV-Local 4 (Detroit) has made it their mission to help their neighbors in Flint during this water crisis. The station’s consumer investigative unit, “Help Me Hank,” headed up by Hank Winchester, has joined forces with Art Van Furniture and Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties to collect safe, bottled water for residents of Flint. Several truckloads have been delivered in the past two weeks, and more are on the way.

Local 4 viewers generously donated thousands of dollars during a Local 4 News phone bank last week, benefitting the Child Health & Development Fund. The funds raised go to help the children of Flint with ongoing health issues. For more information, please visit the station’s website: ClickOnDetroit.com.

WXMI-TV and Independent Bank Present Pay It Forward Gala

WXMI FOX 17 (Grand Rapids) and Independent Bank presented the second annual Pay It Forward Person of the Year Awards Gala on January 21. This invitation-only lunch event was held at the CityFlatsHotel. The FOX 17 Pay It Forward Person of the Year is Rick Ayotte.

The goal of the Pay It Forward Initiative is to highlight West Michigan citizens who give of their time, talent, and treasure, while expecting nothing in return.

“We’re very excited to present this event again this year,” said FOX 17 V.P. General Manager Patty Kolb. “We’re proud of the Pay It Forward franchise and all of the amazing, positive stories we’ve been able to share with our viewers. It’s been extremely rewarding for all involved to be able to showcase some of the amazing people in West Michigan who give of themselves, expecting absolutely nothing in return.”

Helping Flint: Art Van Furniture and WDIV-TV’s “Help Me Hank” Create Community Initiative

wdiv-tvWDIV-TV (Detroit) has partnered with Art Van Furniture to create a community initiative to collect water for the city of Flint.

Art Van Furniture and WDIV-TV Local 4’s Hank Winchester, consumer investigative reporter and head of the station’s “Help Me Hank” consumer unit, have joined forces to collect and deliver bottled water to those in need.

Beginning on January 12, all Art Van Furniture stores in metro Detroit, Flint, and Lansing are now accepting donations of bottled water from the public. Art Van Furniture delivery trucks will transport the collected water to Flint weekly as long as the need exists.

Helping Flint: FOX 2 and iHeart Media Team Up for Flint Water Drive

Fox 2 Detroit water drive

On Saturday, January 16, a joint effort between Fox 2 Detroit, iHeart Media, and the Salvation Army was able to collect water donations at the Kroger on 13 Mile and Woodward. Jay Towers was there to coordinate the donations. The station promised to “load it all into a Kroger semi-truck and they’ll haul it up to Flint later that day.”