Graham Media Group has been named the station group of the year for 2016 by Broadcasting & Cable, a leading television and digital industry publication.
Graham Media Group delivered top ratings on all platforms during election night coverage.
In an effort to inform voters and arm them with the tools they need to make their choices at the polls, KPRC2 invited candidates in major political races to address viewers in a special hour-long public service program, “Straight Talk from the Candidates.” The program was presented commercial-free on Friday, October 21st at 7 p.m. and was produced without commentary in order to serve as a forum for candidates to share their visions without interruption.
KPRC2 also partnered with Telemundo Houston to host a bilingual phone bank for voter information on October 24th, as early voting began. These initiatives complemented KPRC2’s election coverage, which included sending reporters to cover every debate, conventions and important stops along the campaign trail.
WDIV-Local 4 has embarked on “Help Me Hank: The School Project,” a 10-month commitment to better the physical environment of Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.
The station partnered with Detroit Public School Community District to identify a school that was in crucial need of building renovations. Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School is home to nearly 700 students and dedicated faculty and staff.
“As a reporter in Detroit for the last 16 years, I’ve seen school children and teachers trying to learn and teach in appalling conditions and it is unacceptable,” said Help Me Hank Consumer Reporter Hank Winchester. “‘Help Me Hank: The School Project’ is not about who is to blame for the state of the schools, but how we, as a community, can work with our generous friends and the people of the school district to create a better physical learning environment for the young and curious students of Thurgood Marshall.”
The cafeteria and front office were the first targets for renovations. Hire It Done and PPG Paint donated time, materials, and people to transform the cafeteria and main office.
“Right now the gymnasium doesn’t have bleachers. There are two-by-fours on top of paint buckets for people to sit,” said Kim Voet, news director. “The gymnasium, media center, and ways to improve technology are the next big things on our list.”
“The school mascot is a dolphin and there was not one dolphin in the building. When our friends from Fathead provided dolphin decals for the cafeteria, we could see the excitement from the faculty, staff, parents and students. We can’t wait to do so much more over the next school year,” said Winchester.
“Building quality is important to student outcomes. There’s a real sense of pride that comes from being in an updated, safe and physically attractive learning environment. Local 4 is headquartered in Detroit and the schools of this city are our neighbors and are educating our future leaders,” said Marla Drutz, Local 4 vice-president and general manager.
Hundreds of kids now get the chance to take a step in the right direction heading into the new school year thanks to Sunday’s “Kicks for Kids” event. The charitable event held at the Regency Square Mall was a success thanks to the folks who donated more the 1,500 pairs of shoes.
A grandmother of seven, Loretta Grant was first in line. Her family needed help now, more than ever. The father of her grandchildren suddenly passed away in his sleep.
“He died on Christmas night,” Grant said. “He went to sleep on Christmas night and we woke up the next morning and he was dead. He died in his sleep, 34 years old, and he left behind seven kids.”
Jayden Stratton was also in line with his family. Jayden’s going into the fifth grad and was really hoping for “Jordan's, or Nikes.” Jayden said he was just excited to get out here and meet new friends. He said he can’t wait to go back to school because he has goals to accomplish. “Good grades mostly,” Jayden said. “Good attendance and trying to be the best I can be.”
Kara Strayer said she’s grateful her son, who’s going into the third grade, was able to get a pair of shoes for the new year. “He's an awesome, outgoing kid and he loves to play and ride his bike outside, so he definitely goes through his fair pair of shoes,” Strayer said.
KPRC2’s commitment to the community extends to our four-legged friends.
In July, KPRC2 partnered with Telemundo Houston to help Clear the Shelters as part of a nationwide initiative spearheaded by NBC. The program encouraged overcrowded shelters to waive or deeply discount their adoption fees in order to curb euthanasia rates. Through extensive promotion of pet adoption facilities and programs, along with tips on responsible pet ownership via promotional spots and on-air interviews, Clear the Shelters helped alleviate over-crowding problems in Houston area shelters at a time of year when adoptions traditionally occur less frequently.
Through the campaign, more than 2,500 pets were adopted in the Houston area, with totals surpassing 47,000 pet adoptions nationwide.
The Houston area sees a drop in blood donations each summer, so KPRC2 worked to raise awareness and help increase life-saving blood supplies in partnership with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. The KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive, hosted in front of the station on June 16th, resulted in 1,412 blood donations.
The quantity represents a nine percent increase in donations over prior year totals and gave KPRC2 the designation of having the largest media-sponsored blood drive event in Houston. Each blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives, so the KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive alone could impact more than 4,000 people in the Houston area and beyond. In fact, once local blood supply needs were met, some donations collected at the KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive were sent to help victims of the mass nightclub shooting in Orlando.
WJXT's Positively Jax partnership with the Florida Dental Association Foundation helped provide nearly 3,000 people with urgently needed dental care at no cost to the patients. The Florida Mission of Mercy, a two day free dental clinic, offered free dental examinations, fillings, tooth extractions, root canal treatment, children's dentistry, temporary partial dentures and dental cleanings. The dental care donated is valued at over $2.7 million.
People in need of dental work began lining up Thursday morning for the April 22-23 event, which brought together hundreds of dental and non-dental professionals to fix the smiles of Jacksonville-area residents who could not otherwise afford it.
"The genuine appreciation of the people who took advantage of this event was overwhelming," said WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis. "The smiles said it all. We are so proud to serve our community and will look for more opportunities to use our voice as Jacksonville's true local TV station to make our community a better place to live," he continued.
"I've waited for this all my life. Oh my God, I can't believe it," said Wanda George after getting out of Dr. Richard Caven's dental chair. When first evaluated, the mother of four who had not seen a dentist in years, was told her teeth were probably too far gone to save. But Craven said that hearing Wanda George was about to get married in three months, worked to save her teeth. "That definitely makes me say, 'Yeah, we've got to get this one right,'" Craven said. "That's when we know we have success...when the patient is happy with the way it looks." News4JAX plans to follow up on Ms. George's story during her wedding in July.
Said Dr. Zack Kalarickal, DDS, "It was wonderful to partner with WJXT Channel 4 for the 2016 Florida Mission of Mercy. Having WJXT on our team helped us truly help Jacksonville!"
Dr. Roger Robinson, DMD, one of the event's organizers, said "The ability of WJXT to get the word out and reach the dentally underserved was absolutely astonishing as witnessed by the tremendous turnout of dental patients on both days."
To make sure as many people were treated as possible, more than 2,400 volunteers were at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Robinson said there was no shortage of volunteers and many of them came from all over the state and even paid for their own travel and accommodations because this is something they truly believe in.
Every person News4JAX spoke with had a compelling story or need—and gratitude. "I totally appreciate the opportunity," said Saprina Cooks. "I'm totally grateful."
Positively Jax is an annual campaign dedicated to celebrating what's uniquely wonderful about Jacksonville by highlighting the people and things that make living here special. Each month WJXT Channel 4 and our partner, Memorial Hospital, sponsors a Community Outreach Event and presents a Positively Jax award recognizing people or organizations making a difference in the community.
On Monday, April 18, 2016 historic flooding hit Houston and KPRC2’s news team stepped up to help keep viewers safe and informed. In spite of significant logistical challenges, including a power outage and generator failure, KPRC2 anchors and reporters utilized various platforms to get critical information to viewers as the flood disaster unfolded. Reporters and photojournalists teamed up to produce numerous Facebook Live videos as well as sending out photos, videos and lifesaving information via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as well as through frequent posts on Click2Houston.com.
Team coverage of the event continued for several days, as Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley and the KPRC2 Severe Weather Team monitored the threat of additional rain and rising flood waters. Reporters brought awareness to areas of concern, mandatory evacuations, traffic delays, property damage and the emotional impact resulting from loss of life and relief efforts to help those who had lost so much.
KPRC2 then went beyond news coverage to help the people in our community recover from the disaster, raising much-needed funds for the American Red Cross. Through a two-day phone bank heavily covered by the station and hosted inside KPRC2 studios, more than $670,000 and counting was raised via pledges from individuals and businesses to directly help Houston flood victims. KPRC2 has teamed up with Kroger stores to continue accepting donations for Red Cross flood relief. Viewers may donate their spare change at the checkout counter at any Houston area Kroger location.
From in-depth news reports to community outreach campaigns, WDIV Local 4 has made it their mission to help their neighbors in Flint during this water crisis.
The station’s consumer investigative unit, “Help Me Hank,” headed up by Hank Winchester, has joined forces with Art Van Furniture and Catholic Charities of Shiawasee and Genesee Counties to collect safe, bottled water for residents of Flint. Several truckloads have been delivered in the past two weeks and more are on the way.
Local 4 viewers generously donated thousands of dollars during a Local 4 News phone bank last week, benefitting the Child Health & Development Fund - www.flintkids.com. The funds raised go to help the children of Flint with ongoing health issues. For more information please visit the station’s website: ClickOnDetroit.com/flint-water-crisis
It’s not the running of the bulls, but it’s close! KSAT12’s “SA Live” ushers in the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo with the first ever telecast of the Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive throughout downtown San Antonio on February 6, 2016. The tradition of running the Texas Longhorns down Houston Street dates back to a time between the end of the Civil War and the spread of rail lines. These cattle drives show the importance of San Antonio’s role in driving hundreds of thousands of cattle from Texas ranch lands to Kansas railroads. The broadcast of the cattle drive will kick off the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, which was established in 1949.
KSAT12 launches “KSAT CONNECT’, a brand new app to help local citizens become a part of the KSAT12 News Team. With “KSAT Connect”, users can shoot news as it happens and send it to KSAT12 with a few simple clicks. Their photo or video could then make it onto KSAT12 in a local newscast. Viewers with phones can offer another set of eyes and ears in the community to capture newsworthy events as they happen. With recent floods in the South Texas area, viewers emailed several photos into the KSAT12 newsroom, showing how the weather was affecting them and their neighborhoods. KSAT12 saw this as a great opportunity to empower viewers with a tool to quickly get their photos to appear on-air.
The one hour WJXT documentary marks the 30th anniversary of the historical shuttle disaster.
January 28, 1986, was a day that shook America to its core. WJXT marks the 30th anniversary of the disaster with Challenger: A Rush to Launch. The hour long documentary takes an investigative look into what brought the shuttle down through the voices of those directly affected by the tragedy then and now. This documentary produced by WJXT Films crew, aims to answer questions form 30 years ago that still remain on everyone’s mind.
In conjunction with Baptist Health foundation, WJXT raised $106,000 for the Wolfson Children’s Hospital through our 2016 telethon. That includes $53,000 in telethon donations and another $53,000 in matching donations from the Baptist Health Foundation.
On January 5th, 2016 KPRC2 began building their 3rd annual Habitat for Humanity home for a local family. The station sponsors the home financially with help from participating local businesses and employees volunteer their time throughout the build.
Partner families approved as future Habitat for Humanity homeowners also put in “sweat equity,” volunteering their time in the home construction process.
In 2014, the KPRC2 team helped a family get out of their crowded apartment and into their first home with a yard where her children could play and feel safe. In 2015, a mother and her two children, father and grandmother left their crumbling mobile home and moved into KPRC2’s Habitat Home, one built with the grandmother’s limited mobility in mind.
KPRC2 will welcome a new family into the Habitat Home currently under construction in April of this year.
KPRC2 partners with the Houston Fire Department (HFD) each year for the Operation: Stocking Stuffer toy drive. The station helps solicit individual donations for a month leading up to Christmas and encourages local corporations to provide toys and bicycles for boys and girls in need. Since partnership with HFD began on this project nearly a decade ago it has grown exponentially, making the holidays a little brighter for local families who may not otherwise have been able to provide Christmas gifts for their children. KPRC2 helped generate excitement for this year’s toy drive with help from NBC’s Sunday Night Football bus, which visited Houston on December 12th to host a toy drop-off event and make a donation worth more than $5,000 in toys. In 2014, full bags of toys were provided for 3,200 families and in 2015, more than 4,400 families received bags of toys and gifts through KPRC2 and HFD’s Operation: Stocking Stuffer toy drive.
WJXT took home several awards at the Suncoast Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences annual Emmy Awards Ceremony in December of 2016. Including wins in the spot news category In the Spot News Category, executive producers Josh Beauchamp and Stacey Readout, producers Robert Brown and Tiffany Anthony along with anchor of The Morning Show, Bruce Hamilton, won for our coverage of the FSU shooting.
Reporters Vic Micolucci and Heather Leigh, Managing Editor of Special Projects Jodi Mohrmann and News4Jax crime & safety analyst Gil Smith were awarded an Emmy for a special series of reports titled Shoot, Don't Shoot.
Jacksonville Viewers make News4JAX dominant #1 again in all News Areas
The Local Station is again the most watched news in Jacksonville for the November 2015 Nielsen ratings period in the Jacksonville television market, winning in local and national news time periods for the month in key demographics. Outside of news, WJXT was #1 in key demos in the 10am-11am time period with Dr. Oz. At 930pm, WJXT also beat out the NBC, ABC and FOX M-F Primetime averages with Big Bang Theory for key 25-54 demos and People 18-49.
WJXT Channel 4 premieres a new daytime lifestyle and entertainment show called River City Live. River City Live will showcase the energetic lifestyle of Jacksonville and surrounding areas. From 11am – 12pm weekdays, River City Live will highlight everything from live music, unique LOCAL stories, amazing restaurants & recipes, to steals and deals, fashion, fun contests, and anything in between.
River City Live will be driven daily by hosts Eden Kendall and Mark Payton. Viewers will recognize Eden as the long-time host of the morning show on 99.9 Gator Country. Mark is new to Jacksonville, but not new to television. He has held positions in local news, entertainment shows, and recently co-hosted the national morning show The Daily Buzz. “There are so many inimitable and wonderful things happening in the Jacksonville area,” said Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis. “The First Coast is re-defining itself and who better than The Local Station to connect viewers to this great vibe and incredible local stories in a fun and entertaining way,” he continued.
River City Live will not be your typical studio broadcast. The show is live on location every day at its new home inside Unity Plaza. This area, in the heart of Jacksonville’s Brooklyn neighborhood, is quickly becoming the epicenter of all things new & exciting in our city. “Unity Plaza was designed to encourage the celebration of the people and causes that make our city great,” said Unity Plaza Executive Director, Jennifer Jones.
In addition to co-hosts Mark and Eden, reporters Elizabeth Campbell and Rance Adams will be helping to tell great stories from our area. Elizabeth started her career at The Local Station and was most recently a reporter for The Morning Show on Channel 4. Rance Adams comes to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina where he most recently hosted the primetime talk show “The Edge”.
“River City Live is up for anything and we hope you join us for what’s sure to be an exciting ride” said River City Live Executive Producer Stuart Boslow. “From life hacks, to ‘It’s Made Here’ this show will be truly local.”
Graham Media Group announced that Jeff Hoffman has been named Vice President and General Manager of WKMG, the CBS affiliate in Orlando.
Emily Barr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Graham Media Group, said: “Jeff has been a passionate and successful broadcaster for more than 30 years. He has held a variety of demanding roles at stations across the country, starting as a sports producer and moving through news departments to progressively larger station and general manager positions. I am delighted to welcome him to our station group.”
For the past seven years, Hoffman was President and General Manager of WTKR/WGNT, the CBS/CW duopoly in Norfolk, VA, transforming WTKR into a winning operation and creating the market’s fastest growing duopoly.
Prior to Norfolk, he spent two years as Vice President and General Manager at WAFF, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, AL. For five years, Hoffman was Station Manager at WAVE, the NBC in Louisville, KY, and WIS, the NBC in Columbia, SC, helping both stations achieve significant ratings and revenue growth.
Hoffman began his career as a Producer at WRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC. He moved through the ranks as a Sports Producer, Executive Producer, Assistant News Director and News Director at a number of stations, including WJZ in Baltimore, KNBC in Los Angeles, KING in Seattle and WCAU in Philadelphia, before moving into senior management. Under his leadership, two stations he managed won an Edward R. Murrow Award, for Best Website at WAFF and for Breaking News Coverage at WIS.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, Hoffman holds a BA in Communications and Political Science.
WDIV-TV Local 4 is honored to be recognized as Station of the Year and for broadcasting excellence in 22 categories by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB). The station won 13 best and nine merit awards for Market 1.
"Being honored for Station of the Year is a humbling and amazing achievement. I’m so proud of our talented news team here at Local 4. We pledge to continue bringing Metro Detroiters the quality journalism and community service they’ve come to expect from us,” said Vice-President and General Manager Marla Drutz.
First Place/Best In Category
- Breaking News: Local 4 News won top honors for its comprehensive team coverage during metro Detroit’s massive flooding in August 2014
- Investigative Story: Local 4 Defender Hank Winchester’s Unpaid Water Bills Exposed investigation revealed who owed the City of Detroit money and who wasn't paying up
- Newscast: Local 4 News at 5 p.m. - coverage of the Bob Bashara Verdict
- News Special: Devin Scillian’s reports from Rome - Crossroads: The Francis Factor
- Community Involvement: Seeing & Stopping the Problems, Being a Force 4 Good
- News Reporter: Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz
- Photojournalist: Jacob Nagel
- Mini-Documentary or Series: Domestic Violence: See It. Stop It.
- Feature: Six Seconds, Five Words, One Wish (Caden’s Story)
- Weathercast: Chuck Gaidica’s Massive Floods coverage
- Special Interest Programming: WDIV’s magazine show, First Block, was #1
- Marketing Materials & Promos: Local 4 garnered the highest kudos for its station image promo New Things
- Use of New Media: Best Webcast for Climate Change
- Breaking News: Detroit Power Outage
- Investigative Story: Karen Drew’s investigation on football helmets - Protecting Players On The Field
- Mini-Documentary or Series: Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz’s undercover homeless investigation - Real Life on the Streets
- News Special: Defenders: Inside the Investigations
- Newscast: Local 4 News at 11p.m. - Exit From Bankruptcy
- Feature: Local 4 reporter Roger Weber’s story on Their Youth
- Sports: Bernie Smilovitz’s reports on Jim Harbaugh Hired
- News Reporter: Local 4 Defender Hank Winchester
- Photojournalist: John Pompeo
The Broadcast Excellence Awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in broadcasting by Michigan radio and television stations each year.