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Broadcasters Celebrate Service to America

Broadcasters saluted their own and others Tuesday night at NAB Education Foundation's annual Service to America Awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

The crowd rocked to honoree Jon Bon Jovi's (pictured) two-song set. He was saluted for his efforts to house and feed the homeless—the Service to America Leadership Award. The Bon Jovi frontman joked about singing for his supper but volunteered to be a free spokesman for broadcasters who helped spread the word about his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which subsidizes affordable housing and a pay-it-forward Soul Kitchen that has served over 60,000 meals.

The singer got a shout-out from former President Barack Obama in a video preceding the award.

FedEx was feted with the Corporate Leadership Award for its FedEx Cares initiative leveraging its delivery network for relief efforts.

Broadcast TV winners were:

WDIV-TV Detroit received the Television Award for the "totality" of its public service efforts, which included a telethon for victims of the Flint water crisis, the Arab In America news series profiling community members, raising $1.4 million for literacy and education, and renovating a public school.

WXIA Atlanta, which received the President's Special Award for "historic and extraordinary" public service. The station investigated a policy that stripped veterans for their benefits for dishonorable discharges, even those serving in war zones possibly suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury that could affect their behavior. The "Charlie Foxtrot" investigation helped prompt Congress to pass the Fairness for Veterans Act, restoring medical treatment to thousands of vets. Two of those were in the audience and received a standing ovation. 

WMUR Manchester, N.H., which got the Service to Children Award for its "Home at Last" series profiling children who needed permanent adoptive homes.

WRAL Raleigh, N.C., which received the Service to Community Award for its "Black and Blue" documentary, part of a two-hour "conversation" on air and online about tensions between police and the African American community.

The ceremony was an opportunity for broadcasters to demonstrate the power of local broadcasting and non-fake news to change lives and communities to an audience that included a number of members of Congress and all three FCC commissioners, who also participated as award presenters.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.