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Success Story: WABC: It’s About the Children

Aug 15, 2005  •  Post A Comment

ABC’s owned-and-operated WABC-TV in New York puts on a lot of local advertiser-sponsored community affairs programs in the interest of children, but it goes above and beyond 30-second spots to do half-hour-long programs and host receptions.

“Above and Beyond: Inspiring Students and Teachers” is an annual 30-minute program, now in its seventh year, that acknowledges students and teachers for giving back to the community or for overcoming a physical handicap or family tragedy. One featured student lost an arm and a leg and still maintained straight A’s.

This year the station ran :30 vignettes during June showing snippets on the selected students, who were nominated by teachers. Promos with sponsor logos also ran, telling viewers to tune in for the half-hour special. Two spots and a shared :10 billboard for sponsors aired during the special. “Advertisers want more than a 30-second commercial these days, and when it comes to children they are willing to participate,” WABC Marketing Manager Michael Mongelluzo said.

Participating sponsors for 2005 were Toyota, the New York Lottery, Sylvan Learning Center and Commerce Bank. Sponsors had the option of also having a company representative salute the honorees in a :15 spot that aired at least 20 times during June.

Mr. Mongelluzo said finding the right sponsor involves Internet research. “Advertisers have a community section on their Web site,” he said. “Research it and see what is important to them.”

WABC also daily airs “Protect Our Children,” which has been on-air for more than a decade. “We were Amber Alert before there was an Amber Alert,” Mr. Mongelluzo said about the national program that issues announcements about missing children.

Both programs have an annual reception that allows sponsors and community members to meet the families. With Protect Our Children, he said, the station brings in parents who tell their stories about their child who is missing, and there is not a dry eye in the house.