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National Association of Broadcasters

WHBB-AM and WDXX-FM Create the Safe School Challenge

Topic: Safety Initiatives

When Dallas County District Judge Robert Armstrong approached BroadSouth Communications with concern about juvenile crime, WHBB-AM and WDXX-FM in Selma, Ala., committed to making the issue their top public service campaign for the 2006-07 school year. They created the "Safe School Challenge," a competition between schools in Dallas County to see which could achieve the greatest reduction of juvenile incidents per capita. The campaign was based on the idea that creating awareness could deter juvenile crime. The stations provided no less than 2,000 minutes of airtime in the form of 10-, 30- and 60-second announcements and talk show interview time. They also solicited funding to provide schools with banners and T-shirts and paid for printed materials. Court officials attended school assemblies to explain the Challenge, which involved a student pledge to avoid criminal activity and unruly behavior, and the development of a Safe School Challenge Counsel comprised of student leaders. The winning school was awarded a party, trophy and prizes. In September 2007, after evaluating the juvenile incidents involving Dallas County District Court appearances, it was determined that overall juvenile charges decreased by 27 percent and juvenile assault charges decreased by 40 percent. Station staff can sum up their feelings on the programís impact in one word, "Wow!"

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