WRAL-TV Viewers Come Through for Tornado Victims

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WRAL-TV Viewers Come Through for Tornado Victims
CBC Television Stations & UNC-TV Raise Over $809,000 Through Telethon

WRAL-TV Telethon for Disater Relief
Volunteers man the phone bank for WRAL’s Telethon for Disaster Relief on Wednesday, April 20th, raising $705,000.

WRAL-TV held a telethon to raise funds for relief efforts for victims of the tornadoes that struck North Carolina on Saturday, April 20th.   The telethon took place in the WRAL Studios, aired across the state, and brought in $809,037, not counting all online donations.

Donations will be split equally among several groups:  the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse and NC Baptist Men.

“The phones in the studio started ringing at six a.m. and were still ringing after we went off the air at eight p.m.” said Vice President and General Manager Steve Hammel.  “In fourteen hours, the people of North Carolina showed the world what real community is.” 

Thirty-three CBC employees, with two wives and two daughters, manned the phone bank at different shifts during the day alongside community volunteers.  The event truly was a company-wide effort as employees from multiple CBC divisions signed up to take calls.

“Saturday afternoon, after the storm passed I realized how lucky I was…no damage…but soon learned that one of my co-workers (Luanne Lane – WCMC Promotions Director) – her parents house was destroyed,” said 99.9 The Fan General Manager Brian Maloney.  “I knew CBC would do the right thing and be a part of something big….but I had know idea just how big.”

Governor Bev Perdue Lynda Loveland
NC Governor Bev Perdue (left) & MIX 101.5 Personality Lynda Lovaland both took calls & pledges from viewers.

Maloney was one of the many CBC volunteers who signed up to work the phones.

“I was blown away by the power of CBC on several levels,” said Maloney.  “First, the powerful connection that CBC has with the viewers/listeners we serve and second, the power of the CBC employees.  Studio A was buzzing big time with CBC volunteers…….everybody knew what they had to do and just did it.  In the “old days”, employees at radio or TV station would do whatever it takes to help out in a time of need.  Unfortunately, that spirit has faded a bit in our business.  However, driving away from Studio A Monday night it was clear that CBC and it’s employees have never lost that spirit.”

Radio personalities from 99.9 The Fan and MIX 101.5 WRAL-FM also worked the phone lines, talking to viewers who called in to pledge.  They were humbled by the efforts of their co-workers and the community.

“Once again, ‘my’ company comes through for the community,” said WRAL-FM Personality Vanna Fox.  “After 2 days of taking phones calls from the tornado victims on Bill & Lynda in the Morning, we joined TV in Studio A, to both do our show, and answer phones for the telethon.  The money raised was amazing, but for me on a personal level, just having the opportunity to speak with folks as they called in their pledge was a privilege.  Everyone had a story to share, and it reminded me again of the importance of community!”

Phone bank
Calls flood in during the daylong event.
Walmart check
Executives from Walmart present a check to WRAL-TV’s Debra Morgan for the telethon.

The broadcast was also a company-wide effort.  The 7pm one-hour telethon special not only aired on WRAL-TV but on sister stations FOX 50 in Durham, WJZY in Charlotte and WILM in Wilmington.  CBC radio stations MIX 101.5 and 99.9 The Fan carried live coverage of the telethon at different parts of the day.  UNC-TV also joined the effort, airing the one-hour 7pm special broadcast across the state.

NC Baptist Men
NC Baptist Men is one group the telethon donations will go to. 100% of the funds they receive will go to help storm victims.

WRAL.com has set up a donation page online that will stay live until further notice.  You can still make contributions and find out about other ways to help here.

WRAL.com also posted a story about several of the groups helping the storm victims:


Feeding the Troops
Many businesses donated to the relief efforts including major gifts from Jim Goodnight at SAS, Wal-Mart, Progress Energy, Sampson-Bladen Oil Company & Handy Hugo.  Other business helped out by providing food for the dozens of volunteers who rotated on and off the phone bank all day.

Thanks to:

  • Whole Foods, Wade Avenue
  • Krispy Kreme, Person Street
  • Brueggers, Mission Valley
  • Bojanles, Western Blvd
  • Quiznos, Mission Valley
  • Papa Johns, Mission Valley
  • Hardees, Gorman St
  • Rocky Top Hospitality
  • Ruckus, Mission Valley
  • Moes, Crabtree, Glenwood, Triangle Towne Center

The Crabtree & Triangle Towne Center locations of Moe’s donated 10% of purchases on April 20th to the American Red Cross. Quiznos at Mission Valley donated 15% of purchases over three days around the telethon to the American Red Cross as well.

Thanks to WRAL.com’s Jodi Glusco for these capcom photos.

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