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ABC Owned Television Stations Stage Nationwide 2020 Census Phone Bank Across Its Eight Markets to Raise Awareness of the Importance of the Census Count
The Virtual Census Phone Bank Will Kick Off Sept. 9, 2020, Across New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno
ABC Owned Television Stations stage a one-day-only virtual census phone bank in partnership with the Hispanic Federation and the support of the U.S. Census Bureau for a nationwide outreach to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. The phone bank will take place across the eight DMA markets that make up ABC Owned Television Stations, with each station set to host a phone bank and work with national partner the Hispanic Federation and respective local community partners to reach the most underrepresented groups and obtain census counts.
With the 2020 census nearing the Sept. 30 deadline and an estimated 25 million households still uncounted, the station group understands the importance of every individual being counted and adequately represented. The virtual phone bank will take place in each of its markets which serve almost 1,600 communities combined. The stations include WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KTRK-TV Houston, KGO-TV San Francisco, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV Fresno.
“Each station has raised awareness throughout the year of the importance of the U.S. census; however, with the nation experiencing a global pandemic, we recognize this disruption may have added to families not filling out the census,” said Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned Television Stations. “It’s critical that we use the strength of our platforms to reach, inform and educate the communities we serve about the importance of their census count and the impact if undercounted.”
The phone banks will be manned by volunteers who will answer calls from their homes or in socially distanced workspaces. They will be prepared to answer questions about the census and can instantly connect interested parties to a U.S. census worker via the phone to complete their form.
When examining data* within the markets of the station group, it shows that many households are undercounted. North Carolina, for example, is among just nine states where 75% or less households have been counted. New York and Texas are among the least-counted states, where less than 80% of households have been counted. In comparison, the national total response rate is 82%*.
In efforts to reduce the gap of understanding, each station hosts an immersive informative “What is the Census?” resource page for viewers on its website that contains local news coverage, resources and FAQs about the 2020 census. Additionally, the stations have posted informational videos across their respective digital and social media platforms, which will continue through the Sept. 30 census deadline. Ongoing local news coverage throughout the year about the importance of the 2020 census in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic has also been key to raising awareness in major cities that showed low self-response rates.
Below is a list of station phone bank air times, census response rate and community partners:
ABC7/WABC-TV New York, virtual phone bank opens during its newscast and begins at 4:00-6:30 p.m. EDT. New York is among the lowest counted in ABC Owned Television Stations’ market with a 72% census response rate. WABC recently reported on its partnership with local nonprofit organizations to reach underrepresented communities. “Black Theater United,” a nonprofit organization co-founded by award-winning actress Vanessa Williams, is one of those organizations they will work with to educate and encourage underrepresented communities of color to respond to the census. Additional partnerships include the Asian American Federation, NAACP and the NY Census Bureau. WABC-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
ABC7/KABC-TV Los Angeles, virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 3:00-7:00 p.m. PDT. L.A. County has an overall census self-response rate of 63%, while California’s response rate is currently slightly over 86%*. KABC reported that due to Los Angeles county being the largest county in America, it has the “most at stake” if an undercount occurs. Thus, KABC is working closely with both the Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County Census Bureau, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and community partners that include Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living, First 5 LA, TransCanWork, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, California Native Vote Project, Los Angeles City, County Native American Indian Commission, Second Baptist Church in Monrovia and Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) to reach underrepresented communities of color. KABC-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago, virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 4:00-6:30 p.m. CDT. WLS reported in its news coverage a census self-response rate of just over 58% in Chicago, while Illinois’s response rate is near 88%. However, in underrepresented communities, the response rates are significantly lower. WLS has partnered with various community partners, including the Illinois State Census Office (ISCO), Illinois Coalition on Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Instituto del Progreso Latino (IDPL), Chicago Urban League (CUL), Chinese American Service League (CASL), Chicago Westside Branch – NAACP and Counting on Chicago Coalition and Center on Halsted, to educate and encourage census participation. WLS-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
6ABC/WPVI-TV Philadelphia virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 4:00-6:30 p.m. EDT. WPVI reported that Philadelphia has a self-response rate of 53%, while the state of Pennsylvania has close to an 86%* overall response rate. WPVI has partnered with nonprofit organizations, The City of Philadelphia’s “Philly Counts” Initiative; The Urban League of Philadelphia (supporting outreach to the African American community); APM – Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (supporting outreach to the Latino community) and SEMAAC – Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (supporting outreach to the Asian American and immigrant communities). WPVI-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
ABC13/KTRK-TV Houston, virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 3:00-6:30 p.m. CDT. KTRK reported that Houston’s household self-response rate is 55%, while the state of Texas’ overall response rate is 78%*. KTRK has partnered with Texas Civil Rights Project, OCA-Houston (supporting outreach to the Asian American Pacific Islander community); Mi Familia Vota (supporting outreach to the Latino community); and the Ismaili Council for the Southwest U.S. (outreach to the Ismaili Muslim community) to educate and encourage census participation. KTRK-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco, virtual phone bank opens early during the newscast and begins at 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. PDT. There is a 72% census self-response rate across the nine Bay Area counties KGO-TV covers, while California’s response rate is currently slightly over 86%*. KGO-TV has kept viewers informed of the importance of their census count and why census takers conduct door-to-door counts. The station worked closely with the Santa Clara County Office of the Census and City of San Jose Census, and partnered with California Complete Count Office, United Way of the Bay Area, Canal Alliance, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Additionally, KGO-TV worked with the local partners of OTV’s national partner, Hispanic Federation, including the Latino Community Foundation and Urban League of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, to reach underrepresented communities of color. KGO-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
ABC11/WTVD-TV Raleigh Durham, virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 4:00-6:30 p.m. EDT. North Carolina is among just nine states where 75% or less of households have been counted. In fact, Durham is the second-largest county and shows less than 60% self-response rate. WTVD reported on the billions of dollars at risk if North Carolina is undercounted. The station has partnered with nonprofit organizations El Pueblo, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, El Centro Hispano and NC Counts Coalition to reach marginalized communities and encourage them to include their census count. WTVD-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is The Census?” resource page.
ABC30/KFSN-TV Fresno, virtual phone bank opens during the newscast and begins at 4:00-7:00 p.m. PDT. KFSN reported that every county in the Central Valley has a census self-response rate lower than 65%, while California’s overall response rate is currently slightly over 86%*. The station recently reported that the pandemic hampered census outreach, especially amongst Latino communities. KFSN has partnered with Centro La Familia to reach underrepresented communities of color, including hard-to-count populations such as undocumented immigrants and residents living in rural communities. They also plan to interview Mi Familia Vota and My Black Counts to raise awareness of how underrepresented communities are impacted by the census count. KFSN-TV viewers can learn more at the “What is the Census?” resource page.
Editor’s Note *Census data rate recorded as of Sept. 1, 2020 and reflects the overall total of self-response rates of people answering by mail, internet and phone, combined with follow-up counts by census takers.
Statewide Census Data recorded as of Sept. 1, 2020 – reflecting states where ABC Owned Television Stations are located
|State||Self-reported||Counted during follow-up||*Overall Total Response Rate|
About ABC Owned Television Stations
ABC Owned Television Stations is the multiplatform leader in local news and information, collectively No. 1 across all U.S. television and reaching 23% of households through its eight stations: WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV Fresno. The stations also deliver locally sourced storytelling to more than 14 million viewers across America through its digital-first national lifestyle brand and broadcast channel, Localish. Named the 2019 Broadcasting & Cable’s Multiplatform Broadcaster of the Year, the owned stations continue to set the industry standard for next-generation storytelling, deep community connections and a progressive commitment to solutions-based journalism.
Elita Fielder Adjei
VP, Corporate Communications, Walt Disney Television