Every year, hundreds of radio stations across the country come together to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in their fight to end childhood cancer. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, St. Jude Senior Vice President Chris Boysen called this effort “a powerful testament to the power of radio stations to effect positive change in the communities they serve.”
“The public awareness and support generated through radio’s magnanimous donation of time and talent enabled St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which relies primarily on donations, to provide world-class care to more than 8,000 young cancer patients each year,” said Boysen. “It also funds unparalleled research which is shared with hospitals everywhere and makes it possible for no family to ever receive a bill from St. Jude.”
Because St. Jude’s research saves lives in hospitals all over the world, supporting their work is a nationwide effort. Recently, stations in 14 Radio One markets joined additional stations owned by Cumulus Media, Davis Broadcasting, Audacy, Townsquare Media, Salem Media Group and Beasley Media for the 14th annual “Urban Radio Cares for St. Jude Kids.” Celebrity supporters and nationally syndicated radio shows joined the cause, which raised $1.3 million for St. Jude.
Also this month, Beasley Media Group’s Praise Network in Detroit, Mich., raised more than $67,000 for St. Jude during their radiothon. “My heart is bursting for joy for the kids and families at St. Jude,” said Program Director and Personality Randi Myles. “The radiothon is one of the highlights of my year because I am able to see and hear the generosity of our Detroit listeners.”
In February, Connoisseur Media’s 99.9 Free Country in Frederick, Md., raised more than $400,000 for St. Jude. “Our entire staff gave 110% over the course of two days, pouring their hearts and souls into this year’s event, because the need is so great and the kids are so special,” said Program Director Andy Webb. “St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer, and the Frederick area came through in a big way to aid in that fight.”
In addition to supporting St. Jude’s national work, local stations have the ties in their communities to meet the unique needs of children’s hospitals in their hometowns. They raise funds for equipment and supplies, participate in events and collect gifts and donations for children fighting life-threatening illnesses.
From Columbia, Mo., where Zimmer Radio’s 93.9 The Eagle raised more than $230,000 for MU Health Care Children’s Hospital, to Pittsburgh, Pa., where iHeartMedia’s 102.5 WDVE raised more than $1 million for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, local radio is providing vital support.
Earlier in March, Alpha Media’s DJX 99.7 in Louisville, Ky., raised more than $100,000 for Norton Children’s Hospital during a 24-hour radiothon. The station shared stories from families served by the hospital over the air and online via a podcast. Katharine Staggs described her experience giving birth to a baby boy with a heart defect in the hospital: “It was terrifying. Norton’s walked us through that entire process, and they basically held our hand and let us know everything was going to be okay. They literally gave our son his life back.”
Also this month, Cumulus Media’s New Country 96.3 and 99.5 The Wolf in Dallas, Texas, brought country music fans a star-studded concert to raise more than $165,000 for Cook Children’s Medical Center. Dean Canter, general sales manager, said the inaugural event “will become a mainstay for us.”
Across the country and all-year round, broadcasters are raising funds and support for children’s care.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.