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June 3, 2020
Local broadcasters across the country are giving the class of 2020 the graduation celebrations they can’t have in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From airing senior spotlights to streaming virtual ceremonies, local stations are making sure students in their communities are celebrated.
WJLA-TV Washington, D.C., hosted a virtual graduation ceremony for seniors in Prince George’s County schools on May 30. The ceremony included a graduation address from actress Taraji P. Henson, an alumna of Oxon Hill High School. Along with the award-winning film and television actress, the celebration featured community leaders, celebrities and school administrators with special music and congratulatory messages.
WHTQ-FM Wasau put out a call for listeners to submit dedications to 2020 graduates. Throughout the month of May, the station aired those shout outs on air and online.
Abilene's KTAB collected photos of 2020 graduates and posted them to a gallery on the station’s website.
WHAS made sure 2020 seniors still got a special event. The stations aired shout outs submitted by family and friends every day at 6 a.m., 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Columbia’s WOLO called for students to submit their senior photos to be posted to a gallery on the station’s website.
Brattleboro’s WKVT rounded up photos and short bios of local graduates and displayed the gallery on their website.
WTKR in Norfolk, Va., posted salutes that included fun facts about 2020 graduates and some of their proudest accomplishments.
WFLA Tampa collected photos and posted graduates’ plans for the future on their website, ensuring Tampa Bay seniors got the spotlight they deserved.
Beginning on May 16, WJXT began airing the commencement ceremonies of 42 local high schools. Bob Ellis, general manager of Graham Media’s independent WJXT, said he felt compelled to do something to help “fill the emptiness so many people felt at having to stay home and have those graduations cancelled. It seemed a natural to go and figure out how to make it happen.”
KGMB and KHNL Honolulu broadcast the creative ways local high schools celebrated their seniors’ graduations.
Your local broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical support to their communities, even as they struggle from a steep decline in advertising revenue. Read more stories about broadcasters’ public service at BroadcastPublicService.org.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.