After seven years of pioneering a demonstrably successful media-based approach to community problem-solving at WBZ Radio/TV (Boston) Jerry Wishnow, Marblehead MA opened The Wishnow Group, Inc. and had what amounted to his first "failure".

Back when broadcasting was the tip of the media sword Wishnow figured if it could sell soap, it could help sell social change.

As a newly minted 22-year-old producer at WBZ radio/TV Boston he crafted one success after another:

"T-group 15" – – all-white Boston School Committeeman shuttered a key black feeder school in response to MLK's assassination-related riots. After weeks of school closure, he convinced management to lock black/white leaders into a 17' x 17' studio, on-air, live and then padlocked the door from the outside. They couldn't come out until the problem was resolved. Twenty-two and a half hours later an accommodation was reached. Currently, two nationally recognized Hollywood producers Vin Di Bona, America's Funniest Home Videos Creator/Producer and Chas. Floyd Johnson, Executive Producer of the CBS television series, NCIS is currently working to turn Wishnow's screenplay of the event into a feature film.

"Storm Center" – – weeks later a historic Nor'easter closed New England. Wishnow turned the station into a novel area-wide, around-the-clock emergency communications center. Those requiring help called and were connected to civil authorities and volunteers.

Five other projects, equally successful, followed. Wishnow decided to open his own company. His approach had matured; find a serious social problem, create an intervention and then put together the media the money and the manpower to make measurable change. The magic was in the media, stations had millions of dollars of unsold airtime to shower on the issue and the institutional exposure of its community allies.

 In the mid-70s property, crime was rampant. His first client The General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) had received a $380,000 grant from the Justice Department to organize its 600,000 nationwide members to create local volunteer projects customized to reduce local crime. The project, "Hands Up: A National Volunteer Effort to Halt Crime" kicked off with 24-hour National Public Radio coverage of a customized national training process. The members were armed with a solid grasp of the issue and a process to select their own local crime-related topic and craft custom interventions. Kroger's groceries provided local seed money to help them get started.

But did it work?

"We got issue awareness and some projects took a 'nibble 'out of crime but sadly the answer was no," said Wishnow. "At least, not by my standard of having a measurable intervention (e.g., crime going down.) I learned is that there is no such thing as a 'national project. You can't drop one from 30,000 feet and assume it will take root. Measurable change requires local; leadership, partners, vision and skin in the game."

"We subsequently did a dozen "national campaigns." Said Wishnow, "We would create a project in one city, and after testing roll it out one city at the time, all customized with local partnerships. Ultimately national projects but with local roots. A good lesson expensively learned."

Wishnow provided two project examples to make his point:

A World of Difference – – the year-long campaign designed to stem prejudice in all its forms was initially introduced to Boston area schools with millions of dollars worth of PSA's and hours of award-winning programming that was created by WCVB TV (ABC) and special supplements created and distributed by the Boston Globe. It was brought to the schools by the Anti-Defamation League and initially underwritten by what is now The Bank of America.

Its primary focus was creating and installing nationally/locally created anti-prejudice, K-12 curricula prejudice awareness and reduction teacher training and curricula into classrooms throughout Massachusetts. After a year-long test, the project had proven it's worth and was ready to go national--one metro area at a time. It took almost three years but it finally reached over 30 states covering 70 percent of the U.S with partners that included WCBS and KCBS TV and newspapers such as The New York Times and The LA Times and local underwriters ranging from banks to private philanthropies.

The project and its ever-changing curricula continue today throughout the U.S. and in 14 other countries, each iteration of the project locally supported and locally designed. "Frankly, says Wishnow "it would not have worked any other way."

Wishnow's projects went on to measurably reduce infant mortality, property crime, change drug laws and increase voluntarism. His campaigns received over 70 national and regional awards including a Peabody, three national Emmys and four Presidential commendations. Wishnow is the author of "The Activist" designed to train local broadcasters in media-based community activism. Many of his project materials are included in the archives of the Paley Center for Media. He has provided pro-bono consultation to numerous national organizations including Yale Law School’s First Amendment Council and Paul Newman’s “Hole in the Wall Gang.”

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Whistance is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. She has been living in Los Angeles, California with her family including, her parents two siblings and her cats. She is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and fitness industry. Follow her @IamBrooke94 for more!