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NBC Telethon Raises $10 Million

WNBC New York’s Wednesday night telethon to benefit tsunami victims, simulcast on 14 NBC-owned stations and 30 affiliates, generated $10 million in  donations. WNBC says 36,000 phone calls generated an estimated $4.4 million, which was combined with with $5.6 million in corporate donations.
The breakdown of the corporate donations, all WNBC and NBC advertisers, was NBC parent, GE, $1.1 million; Pfizer, $2 million; Merck, $1 million; and Kimberly-Clark, $1.5 million.

Local broadcasters received two cut-ins during the telethon, which was hosted by WNBC’s main anchor team Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons and Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell and featured celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker and Tony Danza answering the phones.

“It is a huge international story that is going to get a lot of coverage and we wanted to give people in local communities capability to help people over there,” said Jay Ireland, president of NBC’s station group.

TV and radio station initiatives have not been confined confined to Peacock people, however.

  • Viacom’s seven Philadelphia media outlets, which include KYW and WPSG, are holding a joint telethon Jan. 7. The effort, dubbed "Operation Brotherly Love," supports UNICEF’s child welfare activities. It will be featured during news programs throughout the day from the TV station’s downtown studios at 5th & Market Streets.
  • In Chicago, seven TV stations and 38 radio stations have joined forces to raise funds for the Chicago chapter of the American Red Cross.  So far, the initiative has generated more than $1 million, including a $200,000 cash gift from Hewitt Associates.
  • Scripps’ ABC affiliate WXYZ Detroit will hold a telethon Friday and include cut-in segments throughout the day. The money will go to the Red Cross’ Southeast Asia Tsunamis and the Humanitarian Crisis Fund. The station has partnered with three of the Infinity Detroit-owned radio stations, WOMC, WYCD and WVMV, to promote the telethon.
  • CBS’ Denver O&O KCNC teamed up with radio station KOA, the Denver Broncos cheerleaders, Denver Fire Department and the American Raise Cross to raise nearly $100,000 in a one-day campaign.
  • Local broadcasters in Cleveland are planning a telethon that will be simulcast on local stations, which all will contribute talent, producers, and content.
  • ABC’s San Francisco O&O KGO joined the Red Cross and the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce on a Dec. 29 telethon that set a goal of $28,000, but raised 10 times that. In Austin, Tex., Viacom's KEYE-TV, KASE Radio, the Austin Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Network of Asian American Organizations, teamed on an eight-hour on-air fund drive Jan.5  that raised $43,000.