Broadcasters teaming for tornado telethon


The Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) is rallying radio and TV stations to promote the United Way Tornado Relief Telethon beginning Wednesday (5/4). The telethon will originate from the studios of Media General’s WVTM-TV Birmingham.

The 24-hour United Way Tornado Relief Telethon begins at 5:00 am ET on Wednesday, May 4, to support relief efforts for the victims of last week’s deadly tornados. During the telethon, The United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) will staff an auditorium full of volunteers to answer calls from those who wish to make a donation. Donations can also be made online and via mobile.

In Alabama and beyond, Media General’s broadcast television stations and many newspapers and associated websites are helping to support the relief efforts through various on-air, in-print and online promotion efforts, including streaming a live shot of the United Way Donation Center on their websites with details on how to donate. Other broadcasters are being invited by the ABA to join in to help raise funds for tornado relief.

How to donate:  Phone: Call 1-855- 205-HELP/1-855-205-4357. (Note: The phone line will only be active during the Telethon, 5 a.m. EDT, Wednesday May 4 to 3 a.m. EDT Thursday, May 5) Online:  Mobile: Text TORNADO to 50555 to donate $10. Mail: United Way Tornado Disaster Fund, P.O. Box 320189, Birmingham, Ala., 35232.

All donations will be handled and distributed by the UWCA Tornado Relief Fund. Donations will go toward the immediate needs of those most affected and to the long-term recovery and rebuilding effort. Callers may designate donations go to the United Way in any state affected by the deadly April 27, 2011 tornados. They simply make their request known when they call in to the donation center.

In addition, WVTM will air a prime-time special from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm CT on Wednesday, May 4.  During this special, viewers will be updated on the situation in many Alabama communities, donations will be highlighted and the various donation methods will be provided.  This special will be simulcast on other Media General stations. CNN has donated satellite time during this prime-time special.

“The devastation across the state and region in our local communities is horrific and the needs are so great for so many. Our entire Media General family has joined in the Tornado Relief efforts and we hope many other media entities can join in the promotion of the Telethon and various methods to donate,” said WVTM General Manager Gene Kirkconnell.

To have your station participate or if you have any questions, contact Kirkconnell at WVTM, 205-558-7200.