Success Story: Station makes a case for kids

Nov 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Many TV stations air segments that encourage viewers to adopt a child, but Raycom Media-owned WAFF-TV, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Ala., attached a unique drive to its segment this year called “Cases for Kids.”
“It came to the attention of our news anchor that as a lot of these kids are waiting to find forever families, they are getting shuttled from family to family and have to put their belongings in plastic garbage bags,” said General Manager Lee Meredith. So the station launched a drive to purchase suitcases for these children.
“We are trying to be more responsive to charitable causes and businesses that will support that,” Mr. Meredith said.
An additional cutting-edge initiative is “News Buddy,” a desktop application that puts a news crawl across a user’s computer screen, similar to what viewers would see on their TV when there is emergency weather or traffic information. Users can seek additional news by clicking on an icon on their computer screen. When the icon is clicked on, the logo of the advertiser, a law firm, pops up as part of a box in the lower right corner. It’s also a direct link to its Web site.
Gocom Holdings’ ABC affiliate WAAY-TV is getting kids interested in science. In a program sponsored by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the meteorologist gives out clues related to the weather and schoolkids send in their answers. The winners square off in a science bee and have the opportunity to win scholarships to space camp. As a part of the deal, WAAY gets to put a camera on top of a tower at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, one of the highest points in the Huntsville-Decatur-Florence area, said Peter O’Brien VP and general manager of the station. The Rocket Center gets a link on the station’s Web site, waaytv.com.
The New York Times Co.-owned CBS affiliate WHNT-TV also is committed to children. Annually in February it holds a “Kids Count” expo at which children are entertained with activities ranging from moon bounces to wall climbing, and can win prizes in various contests. Business, churches and community organizations have booths at the expo, which is underwritten by corporate sponsors and auto dealerships.
TV ad revenues for the Hunstville-Decatur-Florence area are expected to increase from $42.8 million in 2001 to $45.7 million by end of 2002, according to BIA Financial Network.