GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Broadcasters from across West Michigan are uniting for the greater good of the viewers they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, local television news is more important than ever, providing up-to-the-minute critical news, health and safety information. 13 ON YOUR SIDE, WOOD TV8, Newschannel 3 and FOX 17 are coming together in a unique way to show their commitment to the more than 653,000 West Michigan households they serve. Beginning Thursday, April 16, 2020, the stations will air a joint public service announcement in the first commercial break of their 6 p.m. newscasts that features journalists from each broadcast organization.
“Public Service is at the forefront of what local broadcast stations are all about. All of us in local news will always continue to serve our communities and provide our viewers with the timely and relevant information they need to help get them through this unprecedented crisis,” said Newschannel 3 Vice President & General Manager Fred Corbus. “We are proud to partner with our colleagues and strengthen our commitment to everyone who lives and works in West Michigan.”
These stations cover more than a dozen counties combined and serve as a local lifeline for residents sheltering at home during the Michigan Stay Home, Stay Safe order. While stations are operating differently, the responsibility of providing local news is more important now than ever before.
“I think all of us, at every station, are acutely aware of the responsibility we have to keep our community informed,” said Kim Krause, Vice President & General Manager of FOX 17. “Especially when it comes to issues that are vital to public safety and wellbeing. I’m pleased we were able to put competition aside, especially at a time like this. We wanted to let West Michigan know, with a unified message, that their local broadcasters are serious about our shared responsibility and common mission.”
There is no doubt television viewership at every station is up and traffic to local broadcast websites has also increased. This shows West Michigan is relying on their local broadcasters for information and answers during times of uncertainty.
“Across the country, broadcast TV reaches the same number of adults in one day as social media does in one month and local TV is consistently the most trusted source of news among all media platforms,” said 13 ON YOUR SIDE President and General Manager Dan Baylog. “In West Michigan at this unprecedented time, I’m pleased that the local broadcasters of our communities are able to convey this message of unity, no matter which station our viewers choose.”
The stations are not only coming together on-air, but also behind the scenes. To reduce the number of journalists in the field, the four stations have found ways to collaborate, sharing video and resources, to bring West Michigan viewers more news and information than ever before.
“There is a deep history and a commitment to excellence that exists within our West Michigan journalism community,” said Julie Brinks, Vice President & General Manager of WOOD TV8/WOTV 4/WXSP-TV. “That commitment means working together to ensure all critical information is available, as well as stories of encouragement and inspiration to carry us through this challenging time.”
FOX 17, Newschannel 3, WOOD TV8 and 13 ON YOUR SIDE plan to air the special PSA from April 16 to May 1, 2020, when the Stay Home, Safe Order is currently scheduled to end.