WKRC-TV will air a commercial-free hour Monday on “Childhood Poverty: Cincinnati’s Crisis,” a topic explored by Channel 12 reporters since last fall.
Anchor Brad Johansen will host the discussion with local poverty experts before an invitation-only audience at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 7 p.m. Monday.
The program will be broadcast on Channel 12, and live-streamed on Local12.com, says Elizabeth George, sales promotion manager.
Here’s some background about Local 12’s “Childhood Poverty” initiative in an email from Jon Lawhead, Sinclair Broadcast Group manager for Channels 12, 12.2, 64 and Dayton’s Channels 22 and 45:
“I read the statistics that reflect Cincinnati’s poor performance as it relates to childhood poverty and, as the media property in the market that reaches more viewers than anyone with three television stations and the strongest online presence, I felt compelled to use our voice to dig into this issue. I presented the idea to our corporate folks and they were completely supportive.
“As you’ve noticed, this is not a one-week “investigation.” It is an examination of a serious problem in our communities that we started doing several months ago and will stay on it as long as we can contribute to the conversation and shine a light that will hopefully result in aggressive action that leads to dramatic improvement in our rate of childhood poverty,” he says.
“These stories break the traditional TV news mold of 1:30 stories. They have run an average of 4 minutes. They run multiple times as well. Most have launched in our top rated 6pm newscast. The same story repeats on STAR64 at 10 p.m. and Local 12 at 11 p.m. Finally, they run on “Good Morning Cincinnati” on STAR64 between 7-9 a.m. We have also used that newscast to have follow up discussions with people involved in the stories.
“Since we launched our reports on Childhood Poverty, I have heard more people (media, citizens, city officials) talking about this issue than ever before. Mayor Cranley, in his State of the City address, mentioned childhood poverty as one of his most important agenda items. One of our main motivations was to start conversation about the problem and raise awareness about it and I think this has certainly done that. We won’t let the issue of childhood poverty be ignored any longer. There’s too much at stake,” Lawhead says.
George says the experts will include:
Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Lynn Marmer, Executive Director of Cincinnati’s Child Poverty Initiative.
Yvette Simpson, Cincinnati City Council member.
Belinda Tubbs-Wallace, Rockdale Academy principal.
Tony Fairhead, Childhood Food Solutions.
Peter Block, longtime anti-poverty advocate, author, and a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s Poverty program.
Ozie Davis III, Avondale community advocate.
Kurt Reiber, Freestore Foodbank CEO.