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Texas Broadcasters Blow Past $5.5 Billion Mark in Public Service

- Tallied since 1998, $325 million in 2017 alone

Texas’ local Radio and TV broadcasters last year contributed more than $325 million in public service as the industry continued its tradition of advancing the well-being of the communities they’re licensed to serve. Stations made the investments year-round in rallying support for a wide array of ongoing charitable initiatives, special programming addressing community challenges, and a Herculean effort to help hundreds of communities recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

TAB has surveyed Texas stations’ community service contributions annually since 1998, with an average of just 15 percent of the state’s 1,200+ stations responding. The annual public service report accounts only for stations responding; no extrapolation is made to account for stations that do not participate in the survey. Dr. August Grant, formerly of the University of Texas at Austin, designs the survey and collects and analyzes response data independently.

View the 2017-2018 Community Impact Report

Charitable Contributions

The 2017 survey documented that stations, working in partnership with community and charity groups, raised more than $142 million to make all corners of the Lone Star State a brighter, happier place to live.

Broadcasters also provided free airtime worth more than $81 million to rally support for a wide range of efforts, from stocking food banks and adopting pets from animal shelters, to helping the vulnerable survive weather extremes and teachers acquire vital learning tools.

Community Challenges

Local stations invested more than $17.7 million in special, original programming focused on fighting cancer, diabetes and human trafficking, as well as programs to encourage mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Investigative reporting by Texas broadcast journalists also exposed public corruption, identified yawning public safety threats and influenced major state legislation affecting public education, criminal justice and government accountability.

AMBER Alerts, Emergency Communications

Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters created the AMBER Alert program in 1998, enlisting the public to help rescue missing children from those intent on harming them. The program, which has since been expanded to dynamic highway signs and social media, has helped save more than 900 children – at least 224 of them from Texas.

Local broadcasters remain the backbone of the nation’s emergency communications system, alerting Texans to dangerous threats and life-saving measures 24/7 over the air, on mobile devices and online.

Hurricane Harvey & Beyond

In a span of just 36 hours, Hurricane Harvey developed into a major hurricane whose ultimate devastation proved so historic that the National Hurricane Center retired the moniker from its roster of storm names.

With communities and families upended from Corpus Christi to Port Arthur and as far west as Austin, hundreds of stations throughout the region dedicated at least 5,148 hours to news coverage of the storm and immediate recovery operations as broadcasters’ up to the minute warnings and emergency updates steered hundreds of thousands from danger and directed thousands more to safety and respite.

When the worst was over, stations then invested $26.3 million in airtime for 95,983 public service announcements regarding relief efforts by public agencies and charitable organizations.

Broadcasters across the entire state raised $58.2 million in cash donations by rallying their viewers and listeners to help Texans and fellow Americans in Florida and Puerto Rico rebuild after a series of devastating storms.

Celebrating Community Impact

TAB will celebrate stations’ impact on their communities at the Leadership Breakfast during the 2018 TAB Show, Aug. 1-2 at the JW Marriott Downtown Austin.

The event, to be keynoted by NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, will feature a special presentation on stations’ heroic efforts during Hurricane Harvey.

The event also will honor the Texas Army National Guard for their lifesaving work during the storm and showcase the presentation of the annual Bonner McLane Public Service Awards to six Radio and TV stations from various market sizes for their exemplary service to their communities between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. 

Submissions are due May 4.

Bonner McLane Public Service Award Electronic Entry Form

Questions? Contact TAB's or call (512) 322-9944.

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