As our local economies have suffered over the past several years, we channeled the power of stations to persuade local businesses to hire another person. What started out as a local market challenge spread, and soon we were having a very real, very measureable impact upon our communities.
After reporting yet another story on stagnant employment numbers, we couldn’t help but wonder if our station could help move the economy forward. We asked if we could truly make a difference in the quality of life for our neighbors.
In late 2010, while managing WPMT in Harrisburg, Pa., I brought the challenge straight to the business community. We asked business leaders to add just one new job to their ranks — just one, to see if we could begin to put people back to work. Individually, it was a small request. But cumulatively, it was a lofty goal, that one simple step by many would get the ball rolling in the right direction. Perhaps if we all pitched in, we could boost the economy and help guide people to a more prosperous future.
That simple challenge was all it took to launch our “Add One Job” campaign.
WPMT started with adding one job, leading by answering our own challenge. We’d run news stories covering the initiative nearly every day and continued to challenge businesses to take charge and join the movement. Soon thereafter many companies followed suit. The station produced story after story to publicize participating businesses, while consistently promoting the mission and challenge. A special section was added to the website and also listed job openings, along with tips for getting a job. As of this writing, WPMT has helped motivate the addition of over 1,000 jobs, and the effort shows no sign of letting up.
I have now brought the campaign to WXIN in Indianapolis, and the results are similar.
The community responded immediately — we have prompted hundreds of “newly created” jobs on behalf of local business who have joined the mission. Frankly, we eventually stopped counting at 500 because so many pitches of new jobs were coming in. Many businesses write us saying, “We want to do our part in the Add One Job movement.” “We love what you are doing, keep it up.”
Leaders from across the whole business spectrum have participated:
- Price Vision Group in Indianapolis wrote: “After learning about Fox 59’s Add One Job initiative, we were compelled to take part. Our organization, Price Vision Group, is committed to adding one job immediately. We are creating a new position in our practice that will enable us to better serve our patients while at the same time helping someone in our community who has been impacted by the weak economic environment.”
- A gymnastics business in New Castle, Ind., contacted us, with the exact spirit of the campaign: “I’m a small business and, if I can add one job, my hope is that a bigger company can add two or more jobs. Together we can build our communities back one job at a time!”
- A small restaurant in Anderson, Ind., contacted us with the exact spirit of the campaign: “I own a restaurant and love the whole movement! I am up for adding a job for my restaurant and would love for the other business to hop on board. I have struggled as a business owner but have decided to fight the recession so that the people that do work for me will continue to have jobs.”
The list goes on and on. It got so much attention in Indianapolis that, the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts honored some of these businesses for their effort with a recognition presented on the 50-yard line before a game last year.
We continue to run regular stories on new jobs being created or added. Additionally, in the last six months, other stations have added the challenge, including KTXL in Sacramento, Calif., and KATU in Portland, Ore.
We love to do stories showing the good people who are now employed because of “Add One Job.” That’s just it. The news is full of the stories that present the problems of the economy. This is good news created by our own communities. Our goal will always remain focused upon how can the power of our local station can bring about real positive change within our communities. So now we bring the challenge to you…
Will you join the movement, and add Just One Job?
Larry Delia is VP-general manager of Tribune Broadcasting’s WXIN (Fox) and WTTV (CW) Indianapolis.