Stations involved viewers
Viewers wanted to support the troops and contribute somehow.
"One of the things we sense on the part of the public is a significant desire to do
something and be involved in some way," said Dave Howell, News Director of KTSP-
KTSP, like many stations, was constantly looking for ways to reach out to the public.
They conducted a Valentine's Day campaign. The station purchased and addressed
20,000 Valentine postcards for the troops. People could drop by a mall and fill out a
message to someone serving in the Middle East.
"Once that one is done, we'll be looking for what we can do next," he said.
Executives at WKBW-TV, Buffalo, found there were many people in the community
who wanted to do something to help.
"We have decided to use volunteers who want to help," said Linda Levy, Director of
News and Local Programming at WKBW.
"They will either be put to use on a hotline to take viewer calls, or simply to help
answer our phones," she said.
She also found that specialists who normally covered a certain beat brought a unique
perspective to the Gulf coverage. For instance, their senior reporter reported how
many seniors were ready to come out of retirement to help the war effort.
In San Luis Obispo, KSBY-TV managers registered the name Homefront Help and
started a money fund for families of the military personnel sent to the Gulf.
"These people are now without a Mommy, Daddy, husband, wife --- or paycheck!"
said News Director Ann Abraham.
They set up a voicemail box for viewers to call and offer help or support. Five minutes
after the first promo hit the air, the voicemail had a dozen calls in it, and hundreds
A trust fund was set up. It was administered by a board of local business people
(including the station's controller) and they raised over $1,000 quickly.
The station also sponsored a local family and threw a birthday party for one of the
children. Radio stations were given permission to use the "Homefront Help" name and
there were plans for concerts, car shows and other activities.
Flying the flag
In Rockford, WIFR-TV urged viewers to show their support for the troops by
flying the flag.
"My husband is a Vietnam era veteran," explained News Director Arles Hendershott.