During my time as Station Manager of Top 40 96X in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market, we decided to become the station in the market to participate in Hands Across America, an off-shoot of "We are the World" USA For Africa. I don't know if it was the Hands Across The Sand off-shore drilling protest on Miami Beach, or the iHeartRadio's Ultimate Pool Party at the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel that reminded me of this radio promotion. Probably both. This radio promotion event generated corporate sponsorships and excellent media coverage, resulting in increased.
The landmark 1986 charitable event -- ostensibly to raise money to feed the hungry -- was a gathering like no other in American history. Despite the Herculean efforts of at least 5 million Americans, and more star power than the world had ever seen the attempt 20 years ago to form a bicoastal, 4,125-mile human chain through 17 states -- couldn't quite bridge the gap across America.
But that's beside the point. And although South Florida is about as far away as you can be from the line that would form in New York City and dip down to the Capitol before stretching though the Midwest and the Southwest reaching Long Beach, Calif., at the foot of the Queen Mary (that was beside the point, too). Our event was symbolic! Sponsors included Bacardi Rum, a major airline carrier, EMI Records and The Fontainebleu Hotel which hosted the event.
We did however send a pair of winners and our night jock to the Heartland of America; Chicago where they would join the line. We partnered with WLS-AM & FM who allowed us to broadcast from their remote broadcast facilities alongside John "Records" Landecker. This is when I first became acquainted with WLS Operations Director John Gehron who is not only a first class guy but couldn't have possibly been more accommodating.
Thousands of Floridians turned out and simply stood with hands clasped for 15 minutes and sang, "We Are the World," "America the Beautiful," and the Hands Across America theme. TV news crews in the market turned out as did both local newspapers. So, mission accomplished; we received some exposure for the station due to a unique angle by doing what radio has always done; riding the coattails of something larger that's already in the mainstream.
Radio Consulting Services specializes in programming advice to radio stations in multiple formats.
Jon Holiday of Radio Consulting Services was a top programming executive at Jones Radio Networks for 15 years, providing radio consulting since 1998. In addition to overseeing the programming for the Jones 24/7 formats; he also supervised the production and promotions departments.
Prior to that, Holiday programmed and/or was on-air at Boston, Miami, Denver, Tampa, Providence and Hartford. He was PD of one of the 25 Highest Rated AC/Hot AC Stations in the nation according to industry publication Radio & Records.