Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jimmy Fund radio/telethon sets a new record

Two-day WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon set a record for the annual event, raising a record $4.8 million as of midnight last night. Here's WEEI's press release issued this morning :

WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raises a record $4.8 million to help strike out cancer

BOSTON – (August 16, 2008) The 7th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon reached new heights with people from all 50 states and around the world calling in on Aug. 14 and 15 to support the fight against cancer. As of midnight on Aug. 15, a record $4,839,016 was raised for pediatric and adult cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston .

“The Radio-Telethon is an annual reminder that cancer touches just about everyone,” says Jimmy Fund Chairman and 1967 Red Sox second baseman Mike Andrews. “We are so thankful for all of the contributions. With the help of WEEI and NESN and all of its viewers and listeners, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are working towards conquering cancer for good.”

The two-day, 36-hour Radio-Telethon broadcast on WEEI 850-AM Sports Radio and New England Sports Network (NESN) live from Fenway Park featured compelling patient stories, expert information from Dana-Farber researchers and doctors, celebrity guests, sports panels, and emotional ceremonies.

The Radio-Telethon has earned a reputation for being a signature event in which celebrities are eager to participate. Both Donald Trump and Curt Schilling called in with a gift of $50,000. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig contributed $40,000 on behalf of MLB, and Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs gave $25,000. Comedian Mike O’Malley gave $10,000 and Red Sox manager Terry Francona stopped by in person with a check for $5,000. Author Harlan Coben challenged listeners to be the first to make a gift of $10,000 and be named in his next book. One listener who wants to stay anonymous took him up on his offer.

Other celebrity supporters and callers included Ben Affleck, John Krasinski, Tony Danza, Kevin Nealon, Steven Wright, Keith Lockhart, John O’Hurley, John Ratzenberger, Dane Cook, Stephen King, James Denton, and George Stephanopoulos.

The Radio-Telethon wasn’t just for callers. Hundreds of sports enthusiasts had the opportunity to enjoy two unique luncheons at Fenway Park . On Thursday, WEEI’s John Dennis and NESN’s Tom Caron hosted Trophy Talk with Boston Celtic Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Bruins legend Ray Bourque, and Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. On Friday, Red Sox announcers Joe Castiglione of WEEI and NESN’s Don Orsillo moderated Sit Down with the Sox with Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie. Plus, an authentic 2007 Red Sox World Series ring went for $90,961 to an anonymous donor in a special auction to support the Jimmy Fund.

The Jimmy Fund has been an official charity of the Boston Red Sox since 1953. As one way to pay tribute to the organization, the Sox create an emotional pre-game ceremony, which also helps encourage Red Sox fans to support the annual Radio-Telethon. On Thursday, as the Sox prepared to take on the Texas Rangers, Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, ran into Fenway Park and around the bases with Jimmy Fund patient Jordan Leandre to finish up a 54 mile run that day, collecting contributions for the Jimmy Fund along the way. This run was to not only mark his 54th birthday, but the 30th anniversary of his cross country run to support the Jimmy Fund. 8-year-old Leandre is in remission from acute anaplastic large cell lymphoma. He is often remembered as the boy in the body cast who was wheeled out by David Ortiz to sing the national anthem many years ago, and at the 2007 Radio-Telethon, Leandre amazed the crowd by running around the bases during pre-game ceremonies. Singer and actress Jo Jo Levesque of Foxboro sang the national anthem and comedian Bill Cosby threw out the first pitch on Thursday..

Friday’s game was cancelled to rain, but it didn’t dampen the Radio-Telethon’s momentum. Sgt. Scott Miller, member of the Massachusetts National Guard from Newton , NH , who served tours in Iraq , Pakistan and Uzbekistan , was supposed to throw out the first pitch. Instead, he was honored for his service and given the World Series Trophy to hold live on TV. While serving in Iraq , Sgt. Miller experienced some health problems and was ultimately diagnosed with an incurable neuroendocrine tumor.

“Our listeners are amazing. After hearing patient stories they don’t hesitate to dig deep into their wallets to support the Jimmy Fund” says Jason Wolfe, VP of AM Programming for Entercom New England. “Dana-Farber doctors are making substantial progress every year and we’re proud to play a role in their continued success.”

NESN is proud to support the great work that is done every day at the Jimmy Fund,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President. “No other event on our broadcast calendar is as important, or has as much of an impact on as many people as this event.”

For more information go to

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Radio-Telethon history
The Jimmy Fund is celebrating 60 years this year. Back in 1948, members of the Boston Braves visited the hospital bedside of a 12-year-old boy with cancer, dubbed “Jimmy” to protect his identity. The visit was broadcast nationally on radio and people gave generously to help children like him battling the disease. That broadcast along with player appearances and radio appeals during Braves games, helped build a state-of-the-art hospital for cancer research and patient care.

When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, owner Lou Perini made sure the new Red Sox owner, Thomas Yawkey, would continue the Braves’ work with the Jimmy Fund, as the charity had been named. On April 10, 1953, Yawkey announced that the Red Sox would adopt the Jimmy Fund as its official charity.
Today, the Jimmy Fund continues to be an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, and the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon continues the appeal to the public on radio and television to contribute to cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

BRW Notebook :

Making news again : Former WRKO midday personality John DePetro who's no stranger to controversy doing morning made some buzz last week. DePetro is currently doing morning drive at WPRO AM 630 in Providence. The station dropped five spots in the morning ratings, after Arbitron recalled its spring ratings report after complaints of "tainted" ratings diaries, and reissued the numbers, reports Providence Business News.

Let's make a deal : The talks are currently underway between Opie & Anthony and Sirius XM Radio Inc. over the duo's contract renewal, reported trade publication FMQB recently. Mel Karmazin, the CEO of the new merged XM-Sirius publicly stated that he wants O&A to stay on. Another piece of the puzzle is their presence on terrestrial radio. If the new deal is made, will they be satellite-exclusive or keep syndicating to terrestrial radio? They're currently under one-year syndication contract with CBS which includes their AM drive show on WBCN 104.1FM locally. Their one-year contract with CBS expires next spring. Interesting sidenote : Opie and Anthony were on vacation this week. Instead running their "Worst Of" segment WBCN chose to run music as weekend DJ Amy Brooks filled in.

Jury duty : Despite his critics, WRKO's Hall of Famer Howie Carr is still one influential radio personality around these parts. Reportedly, lawyers for an accused cop killer facing a capitol murder trail up in NH are asking prospective jurors if they regularly listen to Carr's show?

View from the other side : BRW's regular contributor Sarkis Chinian his gives summer edition of state of Boston radio (Ed. Note : Standard disclaimer applies as always. Contributors' views don't necessarily represent those of BRW) :

First of all, I am afraid that the Radio Hall of Fame is has become the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where the induction is based on popularity and being the "flavor" of the month will give you legendary status. Does WRKO really need ratings that bad that they pulled a every string to get Howie elected? I do congratulate Howie as he took a page out of Rush's book. He identifed his audience (54+) and played to them with such topics as do you speed and when was the last time you were pulled over? I forgot to mention the plug and plug and constant plugging of his book. I get it he wrote a book. Is this what passes for great radio? I did enjoy Max Robbins when he was on but now all the two of them do is brag about everything. Free food, free sawg, free, free, free. Yuck! I thought the networks were cutting back on the lavish parties yet Max still brags about them. Maybe this is also an oxymoron induction: Jess Cain will be inducted after he passes and he was a legend and always let his work speak for itself but now you have Howie brag and call all sorts of attention to himself.

I saw a piece on Scott's Shots column about Ordway and his new contract that he is seeking. I am wondering if the BIG E(E for Entercom) will allow all that cash to go to one person. There are several confirmed reports that the owner of ENTERCOM is buying all of the stock back and trying to keep BIG E running. WIll Jason and Julie just pony up the cash and give it to Ordway? My guess is no, how can it justify that if the company is awash in red ink and the stock is tanking. I own the stock and hope the BIG E will realize that the merger days of BIG RADIO are over. I am also guessing that Jason and Julie don't care so back up the trucks and here comes the O cash.

My favorite subject! I guess were are official and are merged!! I did hear Mel K on O&A recently talking about the merger. Its very mundane of O&A to talk about their contract as it expires. Anyone with a brain knows that they already have a contract and once again play their fans for dolts to spice up their numbers. I have 4 units and its looks like Hoo Hoo(Howard Stern) will be on for a trial in September. The pricing will be fixed but the fees are bound to increase as this merger continues. Of course you need O&A to build up the numbers as well so they should be in the fold as well. The one issue that I will watch is the repeater issue. XM has to shut 50 of them off as they violated FCC regulations, so I am watching that as well. What am I going to do with 4,000 shares of XM/Sirius stock?

I also continued a radio trial. I tried to listen to terrestial for a week and still could not get through it!! I guess Loren and Wally are the Howie of FM as their demographic is (54+). I think they are just plain safe and vanilla. I still laugh at Jay Sevrin, not at his show but to think someone thought he could do national! I guess he forgot that his game was big time and its not! I did win twice on the Zone 1510's Time Out for Trivia! I was poolside and wanted to try something different.

To sum it up: Regular Radio is just plain awful! This is a medium that cannot spread its wings as its too afraid to piss anyone off as the advertisers will run for someone else.


KJ said...

That hall of fame thing is a major league joke. Jess Cain didn't get in until after he died??? THAT is a joke. And Cowie Harr is nothing but a Mike Barnicle-wannabe.

Anonymous said...

Someone should do a little digging and find out how much of the money raised for charity for the Jimmy Fund and the Children's Hospital ACTUALLY goes to the children and patient services. More like the Endowment Fund for two of the riches hospitals in Boston.
And while you're digging, find out if "Jimmy" really had cancer.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Howie...the comment you left about the Jimmy Fund is totally uncalled for. There are plenty of questionable charities out there, as far as I can tell the Jimmy Fund is not one of them. This is what pisses me off most about the lack of intelligence for an area that has more colleges per square mile than any other part of the country. You're ignorant.