Stations band together in Storm Aid

The radio stations had a goal of raising $1 million for hurricane victims.

Nikki Wee

Radio stations from across the state joined forces Friday to support hurricane relief efforts by broadcasting live from the Washington Avenue Bridge.

From 5 a.m. until noon, more than 30 stations, including B96 KTTB, 89.3 KCMP, K102 KEEY and Radio K took part in “Storm Aid: Minnesota’s River of Relief.”

Morning show personalities interviewed people affected by the hurricane and experts from the Red Cross and the University during the live broadcasts. With a goal of raising $1 million, stations regularly encouraged people to contribute to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by giving out information on how listeners could do so via phone or Web site.

“A group of people who work in radio came together for a meeting and discussed how we could help raise money for hurricane victims,” said Christopher Taykalo, community relations director for 92.5 KQRS; Drive 105 WGVZ; 93X KXXR and Radio Disney KDIZ-AM. “We decided it would be a great idea to raise money for this cause.”

The initial plan for launching a radiothon came from Steve Woodbury, vice president and general manager of Radio One, and was put together in approximately a week.

“The idea came together quite quickly,” said Jim du Bois, president and chief executive officer of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association. “We felt such an unprecedented disaster required an unprecedented response.”

For symbolic reasons, the organizers of the event wanted to look for a bridge to host the event. Organizers looked at the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and Stone Arch Bridge, but eventually decided on using the Washington Avenue Bridge, du Bois said.

“We thought that it would be a great idea to use the Washington Avenue Bridge since it had a pedestrian walkway in which we wouldn’t have to close the bridge down, a reason why we couldn’t use the two other bridges,” du Bois said. “We also thought that it would be great to involve the University.”

Du Bois said that as of 4 p.m. Friday, $842,678 had been raised, but listeners were also able to make online donations throughout the weekend. A final tally of the money raised was to be made Sunday night, but was not available at press time.

Du Bois said he is confident they will break the million dollar mark.

“Minnesotans have always proved to be so generous with disasters of this magnitude,” du Bois said.