Through their on-air TV broadcasts and social media outlets, most especially Facebook, the local stations provided live, continuous coverage of the storms before, during and after.
Like WPTV, the Scripps-owned NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, for example.
While Irma may not have struck West Palm with the ferocity it hit other areas of the state, it still caused damage as hundreds of thousands of residents were without power.
TV stations all across the country, either in conjunction with their broadcast group owners, or on their own, are conducting fundraisers to help victims in Texas and Louisiana deal with devastating flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.
At many of the Scripps-owned TV stations, some of which have already been mentioned in earlier columns, Scripps employees assembled phone banks at many stations while waters were still rising.
“As journalists, we often tell the stories of people involved in tragic events like this,” said Sean McLaughlin, Scripps vice president of news.
“Today, we have the opportunity to lead an effort to help those who have lost everything. We can use our company’s reach, spanning from coast to coast, to raise money to ease the burden on the storm’s victims. It is who we are at Scripps.”
WXYZ and WMYD in Detroit coordinated a two-day telethon and raised more than $138,000.
At WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla., the station raised more than $66,000 with its two-day phone bank.
WCPO in Cincinnati raised $100,000 over two days of afternoon-into-evening phone banks.
And in Tulsa, Okla., KJRH raised $16,000 with its Monday phone bank.
In Baltimore at Hearst’s NBC affiliate, WBAL, American Red Cross volunteers have been staffing the phone banks since Monday evening. Donations have eclipsed $260,000, as the phones continue to ring.
“There’s no shortage of adjectives to describe the pictures we’re seeing out of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” said Dan Joerres, WBAL’s general manager.
“As powerful as they are, those images don’t even begin to tell the story of the heartache felt by the tens of thousands of people who now have nowhere to live. The phones have been ringing off the hook, as the response from people throughout Maryland has been incredible.”
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, KCRG, Gray’s ABC affiliate, held a two-hour telethon with the Greater Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, collecting $46,015. The total includes a $10,000 match from University of Iowa Community Credit Union.
“We went through our own devastating flood here in Eastern Iowa back in 2008,” said Thom Spritz, KCRG’s general manager. “Harvey hits home for so many people in our area.”
Another Gray station, NBC affiliate WEAU Eau Claire, Wis., created a PSA Toolkit that was sent to all the Gray stations so they can quickly get localized announcements on air.
“When our community rallies to support a worthy cause, the results are always amazing,” said Bill Fine, WCVB’s general manager.
“And this time to raise more than a half million dollars in just hours to provide help for Houston is simply awe inspiring.”
In Corpus Christi, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Cordillera Communications’ KRIS, the NBC affiliate, announced a fundraising with the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group to leverage all donor contributions to benefit residents in the seven Texas counties surrounding Corpus Christi.
To speed donations and relief efforts, KRIS and Cordillera will match the first $50,000 donated.
Other Cordillera TV stations nationwide will assist in communicating and promoting this relief fund effort.
In its first 24 hours, Texas Cares, an initiative started by Tegna, raised more than $1.15 million.
The Tegna Foundation matched the first $100,000 in donations. All money raised will be donated to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
“This is just the beginning. We will use this momentum to continue to serve our communities and help improve the lives of those in need,” said Dave Lougee, Tegna’s president.
All 46 Tegna stations in 38 markets are helping raise money and encourage donations for Texas Cares. Stations are running stories on-air and across social media, hosting telethons, telling stories of impact and informing viewers how they can help.
Here is an example from one Tegna station.
WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach owned by Scripps, raised more than $30,000 in just three hours during a phone bank manned by Red Cross volunteers.
Tomorrow in Philadelphia, WCAU and WWSI, Philadelphia’s NBC O&O and Telemundo outlet, respectively, both owned by Comcast NBCUniversal, will host a hurricane relief phone bank from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise funds for people impacted by Harvey.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania will accept donations over the telephone to help support hurricane relief efforts.
In Hoosier country, WISH, Nexstar’s CW affiliate in Indianapolis, announced a 24-hour broadcast special, Hoosiers Helping Houston, all day today to benefit hurricane relief efforts in the Houston, Texas area.
“While the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey continue to grow, it’s important for us to extend our Hoosier Hospitality to those in need,” said Randy Ingram, WISH’s general manager.
“Our goal at WISH-TV is to make it as easy as possible for those wanting to help those affected in Texas.”
Today, WCVB, the Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in Boston, is teaming up with the Red Cross for
Relief Fund 5: Help for Houston, a telethon to benefit Harvey victims. WCVB’s live phone bank will be staffed by local Red Cross volunteers taking pledges from area viewers.
During cut-ins throughout newscasts and afternoon programming, you’ll hear what local Red Cross volunteers are doing in Texas, how the Red Cross mission will change in the weeks ahead, and learn how you can provide help for Houston.
I think the school year should begin AFTER Labor Day not BEFORE Labor Day.
But I know there are places around the country where kids are already back in school.
Like West Palm Beach, Fla., perhaps.
And for those kids, and their parents, Scripps-owned NBC affiliate WPTV held its annual Back to School Expo last Saturday at The Mall at Wellington Green.
WPTV’s School Expo is a one-day event that coincides with Florida’s tax-free weekend.
While shopping, families can connect with public and private schools, trade schools, universities and education-related companies and services.
Steve Weagle, chief meteorologist at Scripps’ NBC affiliate WPTV West Palm Beach, Fla., is riding his bike down Florida’s east coast to raise awareness about hurricane preparedness and to raise money for the American Red Cross.
Steve’s Ride for the Red Cross is in its 18th year and is a week-long trek through four Florida counties covering more than 120 miles.
“We applaud Steve, our news and business partners and all the others who have helped us grow this meaningful event,” said Lloyd Bucher, WPTV’s general manager.
WPTV is the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., owned by Scripps.
Griffel has been promotions manager at WPTV since April, 2016.
Griffel steps in to replace Christine Baron, WPTV’s former CSD, who resigned from the station to hike the Appalachian Trail.
Frankly, I’m not man enough to attempt what this lady’s mapped out for herself over the next few months.
Christine, the creative services director at WPTV, Scripps’ NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., is going to hike the Appalachian Trail, alone, carrying a 30-pound pack, from Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., to Mt. Katahdin, Maine, a distance of about 1,300 miles.
Christine takes her first step on April 3.
The Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest trail for hiking only. Here’s a video interview of a woman who also walked much of the Appalachian Trail alone. She says she encountered 24 bears along the way, an experience she describes as “cool.”
TV stations are using Facebook Live more and more to cover breaking news, reaching millions of people in the process.
Last Friday’s shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a case in point.
But this time of year, they seem to take it up a notch.
And this year, WPTV saw a way to combine the power of its broadcasts with the popularity of its on-air personalities on Facebook to collect a record amount of food for its annual Bill Brooks Food for Families food drive.
WPTV is the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach owned by Scripps.