D.C. Salutes Broadcasters

Legislators, policymakers acknowledge public service value

Legislators and regulators took the stage Tuesday night in Washington to sing the praises of broadcasters for their public service efforts at the annual Service to America Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and saluting public service efforts of local broadcasters.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) presented an award to WCVB-TV Boston for its coverage of the aftermath of the Boston bombings and support of a campaign to boost the economy of the Boylston Street businesses affected by the bombing.

Markey thanked WCVB for its "invaluable support" and "nonstop coverage," and said WCVB stood for "World Class Viewing Beacon," adding "Boylston Street came back because WCVB had its back."

WCVB president and general manager Bill Fine said Washington needed to get the message that there would be an information gap without local broadcasters, and that "need to know" information would not come from cable or satellite or telcos.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had to fight tears as she talked about KSTP-FM St. Paul Minn.'s efforts on behalf of The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund, established after the story of the 17-year-old with rare bone cancer was featured on a Kids Radiothon. The Voice season one performer Vicci Martinez performed Sobiech's song, "Clouds," which KSTP debuted on the station, after which it went viral on YouTube.

Klobuchar talked about how "personal, poignant and impactful" broadcasting can be.

FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who saluted Crystal Radio Award winners for year-round community service, said broadcasters public service is "immense and immeasurable." Also on hand from the commission to give a hand to the industry were commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai, the latter hailed as one of the industry's greatest champions on the commission since the late James Quello.