Radiothons gear up for new season

The ushering in of a new year brings with it the feeling of a new beginning and new hope. The children and families of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital also feel that renewal. And nothing could reinforce that more than the annual Radio Training Seminar which takes place this weekend at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee.

Each January, Randy Owen, co-founder of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids® program, comes to visit the children of St. Jude along with other country music artists and nearly 800 radio representatives from around the country. Their goal: to raise funds and support for St. Jude.

In 1989, Owen, lead singer for the GRAMMY®-award winning group ALABAMA, helped launch what has become one of St. Jude's most successful fund-raising programs.  After a meeting with St. Jude founder Danny Thomas, Owen stood in front of a gathering of country music artists and industry executives and made an impassioned plea for them to support the hospital.

Since then, country radio has responded and more radio formats are joining in the cause: Adult Contemporary, Gospel, Urban AC, Lite Rock, Classic Rock, Oldies and everything in between.

"The leadership of Randy Owen has helped mobilize the music industry on behalf of the children of the world," said ALSAC's Chief Executive Officer John P. Moses. "I speak for all the children, parents and staff at St. Jude and ALSAC when I say thank you to the people of radio. Their open minds and their gigantic hearts are truly an inspiration to all of us."

Owen's visit kicks off the busiest season of radiothons, as stations across the country prepare to hold their two-day events to encourage listeners to help in St. Jude's mission of finding cures and saving children.

All weekend, country music artists and radio station representatives will tour the world-renowned hospital, meet with patients and learn how to make their radiothons successful. For some, the visit rekindles their passion for St. Jude. For others, the occasion marks their first time visiting the campus that they hear so much about.

Visit www.countrycares.org throughout the weekend for updated highlights and photos from this weekend's Radio Training Seminar and check with your local radio station to see if they are part of the St. Jude radio family.