Updated 4/5 with additional details -- SYRACUSE -- On Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm, five local TV stations will be airing the same program at the same time. Two other stations will also run the program, at different times. It's an unprecedented movement to raise awareness of a very serious topic: child abuse. The one-hour "Protecting Our Children" special is a joint effort of the stations.
CNYTVNews.com first learned of the special through pieces NBC3 (WSTM) and CW6 (WSTQ-LP) anchor Matt Mulcahy has been writing about the special on CNYCentral.com. (Links: news story | Matt's Memo blog)
Mulcahy says public broadcaster WCNY acted "as Switzerland, the obvious neutral turf" where managers and journalists from every station in town gathered, along with representatives from the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, to plan out the broadcast. Originally pitched earlier this year as a "town hall meeting" type of program, participants eventually agreed upon what Mulcahy calls, "an in depth cooperative documentary type broadcast." Topics were chosen and assignments were divvied up among the participating stations.
Mulcahy said he interviewed two child abuse victims -- adults now -- who kept their abuse a secret for decades. His colleage, CBS5 (WTVH) anchor Michael Benny, went to Albany to interview Child Abuse Hotline calltakers for their perspective on the issue. With field pieces now complete, Mulcahy says he and other anchors will be shooting in-studio segments later this week.
A quick check of the other station websites in town turned up no information about the special just yet.
The one-hour special, "Protecting Our Children," will first air on WCNY at 6:00pm. An hour later, the program will air simultaneously on WSTM 3, WTVH 5, WSTQ-LP 6, WSYR 9, cable's YNN, and it'll also be streamed live on CNYCentral.com, 9WSYR.com and YNN.com. One final airing is scheduled at 11pm on MyTV affiliate WNYS 43.
Mulcahy says a hotline will be staffed locally by volunteers with the Onondaga County Child Abuse Response Team on that day, from 6-9am and again from 5-9pm.
According to his Matt's Memo blog post, this is only the third time in 25 years that Syracuse's television stations have united to shed light on an important community topic. The last time, about 20 years ago, the topic was drugs.
Added 4/6: Our thanks to McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Julie Cecile for sending along the following press release regarding the special:
Protecting Our Children: A One-Hour Syracuse Television Special
The Central New York broadcasting community will come together later this month to bring awareness to the sexual, verbal and physical abuse of children.
In response to recent national and local news headlines, Syracuse television stations are putting competition aside to collaborate on a one-hour special on this important community issue airing on April 25th.
"Protecting Our Children" will take an in-depth look at this disturbing subject. Reporters from the participating stations will talk to survivors, explore the challenges facing child abuse investigators, show the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center through a child's eyes and investigate the New York State statute of limitations policy.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Studies show that only 10% of child sex abuse cases are ever reported and 90% of victims know their abusers. On April 25th, Volunteers from the Onondaga County Child Abuse Response Team will be manning a phone bank from 6-9am and 5-9pm to answer questions about everything from the warning signs to how to report suspected child abuse.
Protecting Our Children will air:
Wednesday, April 25th 6-7pm: WCNY
Wednesday, April 25th 7-8pm: WTVH, WSTM, WSTQ, WSYR, YNN, 9wsyr.com, CNYCentral.com, YNN.com
Wednesday, April 25th 11pm-Midnight: WNYS
Additional media support is provided by Cumulus Radio and Sinclair Broadcasting.