Ad Council Honors Gray with Crystal Bell

The broadcast group is praised for its support of a wide range of Ad Council campaigns including shelter pet adoption, recycling, hunger prevention, autism awareness and type 2 diabetes prevention.

Gray Television was recognized today with the Ad Council’s 2017 Crystal Bell award at Forward 2017, the Television Bureau of Advertising’s annual leadership conference in New York City.

This year’s Crystal Bell Award was presented to Gray Television, which owns or operates more than 100 stations across the U.S. Last year, Gray Television’s stations provided tremendous support for a wide range of Ad Council campaigns including Shelter Pet Adoption, Recycling, Hunger Prevention, Autism Awareness And Type 2 Diabetes Prevention.

Gray Television also contributed to the record-breaking success of the 2016 Project Roadblock, a six-day local broadcast TV station roadblock aimed at reducing drunk driving fatalities during the holiday season. Project Roadblock is a partnership with the Ad Council’s longstanding Buzzed Driving Prevention campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Gray was among the top five supporters of the campaign during this highly relevant time period and helped the Ad Council and NHTSA extend the reach of the PSA’s message, educating more people nationwide about the consequences of impaired driving.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generous support that the local broadcast television industry provides our campaigns every year,” said Lisa Sherman, president-CEO of the Ad Council. “Gray Television’s support of our buzzed driving prevention efforts not only helps to keep our communities safer but also demonstrates their immense commitment to using the local airwaves as a powerful vehicle for social change. We’re so pleased to recognize them for this partnership.”

“We are honored to be recognized by the Ad Council with the prestigious Crystal Bell award for our stations’ support of Project Roadblock and other important social issues,” said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman-CEO of Gray Television. “Serving the local communities in which we operate is an integral part of Gray Television’s commitment, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share important messages that help better the lives of our viewers.”


According to the latest NHTSA data, impaired driving between Christmas and New Year’s accounts for nearly one-third of all motor vehicle crash fatalities. Over the last 13 years, TVB, the Ad Council and NHTSA have partnered with local broadcast television stations on Project Roadblock. Each year, between Dec. 26 and 31, local broadcast stations voluntarily participate by airing Buzzed Driving Prevention PSAs during the concentrated six-day period, with a special push at 10 p.m. local time on New Year’s Eve.

This partnership helps raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and has helped save lives. “The most effective way to stop drunk driving is to prevent it from happening in the first place,” said Susan Gorcowski, NHTSA Associate Administrator of Communications and Consumer Information. “Through Project Roadblock and the support of local TV stations across the country, NHTSA and the Ad Council have been able to use the power of media to raise awareness and to save lives. We’re recognizing Gray Television and its stations today for their support in spreading this important safety message.”

This year Gray Television’s stations supported Project Roadblock, and many of its stations went above and beyond in their support by participating in the 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve activation. 2016 was the most successful year to-date for Project Roadblock; the initiative received widespread support from local broadcast affiliates, including nearly 69,000 placements of donated on-air, digital sub-channel, online and mobile time and space by over 1000 TV stations reaching all 50 states, and resulting in $9.4 million of airtime over the six-day period.

Since its inception in 2004, local broadcast TV stations across the nation have donated more than $58.7 million in support of Project Roadblock. “In 2016 over 1,000 TV stations committed to promote safety in their communities through Project Roadblock. This is a critical initiative for TVB and we are honored to work in partnership with the Ad Council and NHTSA on this life-saving PSA campaign,” said Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of TVB. “We commend Gray Television’s recognition by the Ad Council for their exemplary efforts in making public service campaigns across the United States a priority.”

Each year, the Ad Council presents this award to a broadcast television partner for its extraordinary support of the Ad Council’s public service campaigns. The Ad Council, a national nonprofit organization, is the largest U.S. producer of public service campaigns. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and federal government agencies, along with leading advertising and media companies, the Ad Council works to drive change on public issues through innovative communications programs.

All Ad Council campaigns run in donated media time and space, and the broadcast TV industry ranks among the Ad Council’s top supporters, providing more than $247 million in donated airings in 2016.

Read all of TVNewsCheck’s TVB Forward 2017 coverage here.

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