70 Years: Serving the community

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 11:31 AM CST
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Since its start in 1953, WEEK has used the power of its airwaves to promote the public good. From public service announcements to telethons, serving the community has always been the heart of this station.

One of the earliest examples was this United Cerebral Palsy telethon, held in our East Peoria studio. Actor Victor Jory, with film credits in Gone with the Wind and the TV show Manhunt, was in house for the cause.

For years WEEK broadcast the Spelling Bee live in the studio each spring. Weatherman Vic Burnett, followed by news director Jeff Hawkinson, were the long-time moderators for the Central Illinois competition.

For twenty years, WEEK aired the local Children’s Miracle Network Telethon – raising funds to help kids hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Bill Houlihan and Kelly Morgan were the first hosts of the nearly 20- hour live broadcast.

When Jim Maloof approached station manager Bill Adams in 1978 about doing a telethon for the local St Jude affiliate, little did anyone realize it would become an annual event, bringing in $90,000 the first year to an incredible $170 million over its 45-year history.

The day after the Twin Towers fell in New York City, WEEK mobilized and hosted an in-studio phone-a-thon to benefit the American Red Cross’ 9/11 aid.

From producing Town Hall meetings taking on important issues in the community, and to hosting food & supply drives to help our neighbors in need, WEEK has been an important community leader for 70 years.