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December 15, 2023
During the holiday season, TV and radio stations host food drives, fundraisers and more special projects to bring communities together and help neighbors in need. We’ve collected examples of nearly $6 million in charitable funds and more donations raised by broadcasters this season, and it represents only a fraction of the great work happening all around the country. TV and radio broadcasters provide Americans’ most trusted news and dedicated local service, supporting our nation during the holiday season and year-round.
The 26th annual Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger event from Beasley Media Group’s 93.3 WMMR-FM in Philadelphia raised over 1.7 million pounds of food and over $948,732 dollars cash to directly benefit local hunger relief organizations. “There’s not a single event that even comes close to this level of collaboration. Add to that the results of Camp Out for Hunger,” said WMMR Program Director Bill Weston. “The generosity of our listeners, clients and sponsors is humbling. This was an amazing week of local, community-driven and entertaining radio.”
Hearst Television’s KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, raised $376,769, which translates into 579,645 meals, during the fourth annual Food Bank of Iowa Hunger-Free Holidays telethon. “The generosity of KCCI’s viewers was once again on full display,” said KCCI General Manager Brian Sather. “Being Iowa’s News Leader means going beyond covering an issue to helping solve it. We’re grateful to our viewers who stepped up to help.”
Audacy’s News Talk 830 WCCO in Minneapolis partnered with the Union Gospel Mission for the 21st annual Hunger Mission Radiothon. They raised $367,000, bringing the overall fundraising total to over $4.3 million since 2003. "We are simply in awe of the incredible generosity of our fans! This is yet another great example of how live and local radio can truly impact lives,” said Brad Lane, brand manager, 830 WCCO.
The FOX 11 Food Project: Northeast Wisconsin Gives Thanks food drive from Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Fox 11 News in Green bay, Wisc., resulted in 22,572 pounds of food and $3,368 donated to three area pantries. General Manager Jay Zollar shared heartfelt stories from the community: “An emotional mother dropped off food, telling us that her son was a recipient of food from Paul's Pantry before he died. She said it took two years, but she finally had the financial means to now help pay it forward.”
Cumulus-owned KMJ in Fresno, Calif., raised $620,000 for the Central California Food Bank during KMJ’s 10th annual Feeding Families Fund Drive. In the last decade, KMJ’s Feeding Families Fund Drive has raised a total of over $4.4 million to help feed area families in need through the Central California Food Bank. “Every year this event gets bigger, and every year KMJ listeners respond with jaw-dropping generosity. Our very special thanks to the Musson family at Gar Bennett for their always unbelievable support and 50% match, which puts this drive over the top every year,” said Patty Hixson, regional vice president and market manager, Cumulus Fresno.
To help fight hunger disparity as food banks across the country are feeling the pinch when it comes to keeping shelves stocked, ABC’s "Good Morning America" is lending a hand to organizations across the country. They highlighted the work of food banks in a holiday story and offered viewers options to get involved in their communities.
Cumulus Media Indianapolis’ 99.5 WZPL and the Smiley Morning Show raised more than $1 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana during its Request-A-Thon. The event has raised more than $13 million over 27 years for local children battling critical illnesses.
The 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon from Marshfield Children’s Hospital and NRG Media’s Y106.5 in Marshfield, Wisc., brought in a record $263,585. “Events like these are the reason we love doing what we do – you see businesses stepping up, and a huge outpouring of community support to help kids in the area,” Y 106.5 Program Director Big Red said. “It doesn’t get more rewarding than that!”
Beasley Media Group’s 92.5 XTU Philadelphia raised $313,691 during their annual St. Jude Cares for Country Kids Radiothon. The station’s on-air personalities broadcasted live from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. In addition, country artists like Jelly Roll, Sam Hunt, Parker McCollum and Cody Johnson called into the station to share their support and thoughts about what St. Jude Children’s Hospital means to them. XTU has raised over one million dollars for St. Jude over the past four years.
iHeartMedia Honolulu’s 92.3 KSSK raised more than $820,000 during the 17th annual Kapi’olani Radiothon For Kids. Funds benefited Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children, Hawaii’s only children’s hospital. Over the past seventeen years, the radiothon has raised more than $4.5 million for Kapi’olani.
The 2023 Help Our Kids Radiothon from Beasley Media Group’s Mix 99.5 WJBR in Wilmington, Del., raised $323,278 to benefit Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Another successful Help Our Kids Radiothon on Mix 99.5 FM WJBR Wilmington, Delaware for Nemours Children’s Hospital,” said station Program Director and Afternoon Drive Personality Eric Jonhson. “Over the past three years our team, loyal clients and listeners have raised over $1,000,000 for the kids.”
Gray Television’s Newscenter Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska, partnered with community organizations to host their annual Coat Drive. This year, the coat drive collected over a thousand pounds of donations. “Unfortunately, our unhoused community numbers are going up, and with the inflation of the economy being what it is, it’s gotten a lot harder for even two-income homes to be able to provide proper winter gear,” said Alyssa Handy, Executive Director of Development for the United Way of the Tanana Valley. The Coat Drive helps alleviate that burden for members of the Fairbanks community.
The second annual Gift of Sole Gala from Scripps Local Media’s 41 KSHB Kansas City raised $76,250 to provide new shoes to more than 1,200 area kids in need. “A simple pair of shoes does a lot for a child,” Fabi Maldonado, the mother of one of last year’s recipients, told the station. “It brings them confidence. It brings them feeling like a new person.”
Cumulus Media News Talk 105.9 in Washington, D.C., raised more than $413,000 during its 21st annual Operation Fisher House Radiothon. The funds help provide essential housing for families of military members and veterans receiving medical treatment. Over two decades, the station has raised more than $8.7 million to support the Fisher House Foundation. “For an incredible 21 years, WMAL and its audience have given to military and veteran families through Fisher House Foundation. We are overwhelmed and grateful for the dedication and incredible generosity in support of our nation’s heroes and their loved ones,” said Fisher House Foundation CEO Ken Fisher.
Nexstar’s WAVY in Hampton Roads, Va., is conducting its 31st annual Coats for Families drive through December 31. Last year, they collected more than 9,000 coats. WAVY says it is “proud to continues its mission of helping those in need through our 10 On Your Side Coats for Families drive. For many families, a warm coat is not just a piece of clothing; it represents security, protection, and the knowledge that their community cares.”
Nexstar Media Group’s WDTN in Dayton, Ohio, raised $40,000 for its long-running Coats for Kids campaign with “Buckeye Blast.” This special event invited families to watch an Ohio State-Notre Dame game on the big screen at Day Air Ballpark, home of the single A Dayton Dragons. “We’re very proud of what we accomplished with WDTN’s Buckeye Blast and we truly thank everyone for joining us for this event,” said General Manager Melissa Jones. “Not only did our community have the opportunity to come out to a free, family friendly event, but they also made an impact for children in the Miami Valley to receive coats and accessories this winter through our Coats for Kids Initiative. We’re grateful to all our partners and contributors that helped make WDTN’s Buckeye Blast a success. We will continue to do our part as a local news leader by making more community connections and directly impacting the Miami Valley.”
Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan in Dallas raised more than $88,000 for My Possibilities, a charity dedicated to assisting adults with disabilities, with the station’s 13th annual Piece-A-Thon. The event featured a live auction with special items and experiences to help raise money, as well as special guests including Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones, former Dallas Stars goaltender and current Dallas Stars Foundation President Marty Turco, former Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland, Rangers Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Eric Nadel and German actor, comedian, and musician Flula Borg.
The 21st annual WGN Morning News Drive-Thru Toy Drive in Chicago invited viewers to drive up and drop off toys at WGN-TV studios as well as Jewel-Osco locations. WGN-TV Family Charities, a McCormick Foundation fund, will match at 50 cents on the dollar. The drive is continuing to collect funds through the end of the year and has already collected thousands of toys.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.