Saturday, October 24, 2009


We ponder every year about this time, what we will do for the holidays? When I first danced with Country radio, while working part time at KPLX Dallas during December 1993, I was introduced to an awesome promotion, THE 24 HOUR LIVE TOY DRIVE. It ran in December several weeks before Christmas and tied the USMC Toys For Tots campaign into all Target stores for a 24 hour, two-day toy drive. Brad Chambers who was the PD and faclitator of the drive made sense when he said "In most markets, the Marines put the barrels in stores and they have nothing in them but trash". You raise the awarness if you take The Marines, the listeners and a high volume department store and tie them together.

1997 - Allentown, I want to do this for WCTO and they tell me we can't, that the Marines are using the local CHR WAEB-FM B-104. (Please don't tell me something can't get done - This is where I developed my "get it done" style) In 1998 I worked with our promotions director to develop a relationship with The Salvation Army and we began our 24 HOUR TOY DRIVE LIVE at a local Wal-Mart. It ran from 5p Friday to 5p Sunday on a holiday weekend. Jocks were on in double shifts around the clock, all of the imaging highlighted the drive and results were amazing. This went on for 6 more years. When they sold it to Toys R' Us and moved it, the numbers were down. It has to be done at Wal-Mart or multiple Wal-Mart locations. The last several years we were able to secure the USMC Toys For Tots and The Salvation Army.

I moved onto Wichita and Dan Holiday has been doing it right all along. He would spend the duration of the time it took to raise the yearly amount in toys (16 years - 16,000 toys). He has artists and other members of the air staff take to the roof of the Wal-Mart with him and it was a major Wichita event. When Dan left for KFKF Kansas City, we kept it going with the morning show. We had a local school that donated thousands of toys that the students gathered over the year. The Wichita Fire Department lead a motorcade with the trucks and busses filled with students and toys to the event - What a visual. They still continue the drive today at multiple locations.

This is one promotion I strongly believe we need to keep going. Here in Fresno the Marines are already collecting toys, in this economy we can't forget the unfortunate families. The stories the talent told on the air about friends and family going through hard times, is the life group connection that makes Country radio the best format in radio.

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