Over the course of our blog series we have brought many great examples of the effectiveness of radio. This week we’re delighted to bring you one that is close to our heart and one that has made a significant impact on the people of Cork over the last decade.
Cork’s 96FM Giving for Living Radiothon is an annual event that takes place to raise funds for local cancer services and is the largest local radio fundraiser in Ireland. We asked Group Station Director of Cork’s 96FM & C103 Kieran McGeary to tell us the story of this year’s event.
Chloe Brown became a radio star last week. Her big brother Ian passed away in January this year after a battle with cancer. He was in his early twenties. Before he died, he told his family that he wanted his story told on Cork’s 96FM Giving for Living Radiothon. Chloe was one of many listeners who shared details of cancer journeys during the radio station’s annual charity appeal last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
When Cork’s 96FM launched its annual Radiothon in 2008, it was a step into the unknown. The fact that a terminally ill person — who had previously fundraised for Radiothon — would ask for their story to be told on the radio after they themselves had passed on is an indication of how entrenched this is in the fabric of Cork. This is backed up by An Taoiseach who is also a local T.D. Speaking on Thursday, Micheál Martin, said that [Radiothon] “is one of the great fixtures in Cork’s fundraising calendars.”
96FM was able to tap into the resources of its wider parent group to get support for the event. Graham Norton hosts two shows on UK national sister station, Virgin Radio UK. The Bandon man readily agreed to lend his voice and he appeared on pre-promotional trails as well as imaging encouraging people to donate.
Over the 13 years that the event has now run (it was cancelled in 2020 owing to the pandemic), more than €5.4 million has been raised. Across the three days last week alone, €385,000 was donated by the people of Cork to support cancer services provided by 5 local charities: The Mercy Hospital Foundation, Marymount Hospice, the CUH Charity, Cork Arc Cancer Support House and Breakthrough Cancer Research.
Public health restrictions meant that many group fundraising avenues were not an option this year. Nonetheless, local schools held no uniform days and people held virtual coffee mornings to raise money. Individual once-off donations were triple the 2019 figure.
To raise almost €400,000 in a three day local charity event during a pandemic is an incredible result and a testament to Cork’s 96FM and their charity partners who put their heart and soul into it every year. It shows the station as the heartbeat of the city and county, understanding the needs of the community. It delivers on all the things radio is great at – trust, emotion, storytelling and creating immediate action from the listener.
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