Taste of Country, Townsquare Media Stations Raise Over $1 Million for St. Jude
On March 6 and 7, Taste of Country partnered with 16 Townsquare Media radio stations to help raise money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The two-day radiothon/webathon featured stories from St. Jude patients and parents who've called the campus home. Additionally, country stars like Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Lee Brice and Justin Moore stepped up for the kids at St. Jude, and the results were impressive.
In total, $1,059,650 was raised! Amongst the radio leaders were WPUR (Cat Country 107.3) in Atlantic City, N.J. ($115K raised), 99.5 WKDQ in Evansville, Ind. (just over $100K) and 107.7 WGNA in Albany, N.Y. ($95K). WGNA Brand Manager Stephen Giuttari points out this sum comes just six months after their last radiothon, which brought in $161K in August.
WKDQ Brand Manager Eric Cornish says his staff is still enjoying the glow of their success. "That’s not just two days of hard work on the air, but a year’s worth of thinking of new ways to raise money for the kids," he tells Taste of Country, adding that events like Give Hope Run and a Maggie Rose concert added to their total.
The staff at WBKR in Owensboro, Ky.($185K raised) didn't rely on the stars to create original songs for their events. Every year, deejays Jaclyn Graves and Chad Benefield write and record an original song for a patient, and this year, they shared the emotional ‘Undefeated’ to honor Markell Gregoire. You can watch it here.
Mario Garcia, Brand Manager at KKYR (Kicker 102.5) in Texarkana, Ark., talked about two special moments from his station's latest radiothon. Kickin' Country has been a St. Jude partner for more than 20 years, he says, having raised $820K since 1997. This year, a longtime listener and donor came in to volunteer at the phone bank, creating an even more special memory. Also, a local St. Jude patient stopped by the studio. Carrie Forman -- whose son John was treated at St. Jude -- provided firsthand knowledge of how donations to the hospital are used. John, a quiet almost 2-year-old, had just celebrated one year of being cancer-free.
The highlight of WGNA's benefit event was the reading of the St. Jude ABCs of Cancer by local elementary students. The ABCs of Cancer allow kids to write about how they're feeling by picking a letter. Listen as local kids provide some heartfelt perspective to the touching things St. Jude patients have said.
Taste of Country's two days of coverage included video and audio interviews with stars like Sara Evans, Chase Rice, Miranda Lambert and Dan + Shay. Almost a dozen artists stepped up to help the children's research hospital, including Rascal Flatts, who provided an autographed guitar for auction.
Our readers also learned about patients like Jessica Turri, who is still dealing from the side effects of chemotherapy to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and Suzie Pavlat, who lost her battle with neuroblastoma in 2001. Father Jack Pavlat spoke on Suzie's behalf with unbelievable compassion and optimism about St. Jude and the illness that took his daughter's life.
Thanks to all who donated to St. Jude during the 2014 Townsquare Media event. Together, we're keeping a beautiful tradition alive while helping ensure survival rates for childhood cancers continue to spike well into the future.