Thursday, September 24, 2009
How Does a Non-Profit Raise Money During a Recession? By Broadcasting a Live Telethon
Starting tomorrow, CatholicTV will embark upon one of its most challenging annual missions: the CatholicTV telethon. The telethon is one of the most unique live television broadcasts in the nation. It is unique because it involves an almost unheard-of 12 hours of live television made possible through large amounts of coffee and dedication to the faith.
The annual telethon includes musical performances from artists from many areas of the U.S. including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and many others. The performers include Vince Ambrosetti, Kitty Cleveland, and many others. Kitty Cleveland is known for her impressive 3-octave range and her unique voice which has been compared to the rich sound of a cello.
CatholicTV is the world’s first diocesan television station in the world and has been broadcasting for over 50 years. The telethon has been part of the CatholicTV tradition for nearly 2 decades. This year’s telethon will be the 18th* CatholicTV Telethon. CatholicTV’s viewers have been called the “parish of the airwaves”. CatholicTV employees (especially Director Fr. Robert Reed) consider the viewers “parishioners”. Because the live broadcast is so labor intensive, many CatholicTV viewers volunteer at the telethon by answering phones, and performing other duties.
Connie and Cathleen Murphy of Medford, MA (2 of CatholicTV’s “parishioners’) have volunteered at the annual telethon for over 15 years. In a phone interview with Connie Murphy, he said, “It’s a lot of fun and we have met a lot of people while volunteering. Sometimes, viewers will call in and ask me if I’m the man with the red sweater on or, they might ask me to wave at them on live television. Some callers feel like these gestures add some legitimacy.”
Traditionally, the Cardinal makes a regular appearance on the telethon. Last year, Cardinal Sean O’Malley visited the telethon although he wasn’t seen on television answering phones. Last year, Cardinal Sean “participated at the telethon to greet the people and encourage them to make their donations.” He also posed for photos with a young and attractive singer named Heather Waxman. The photos captured the great difference between Cardinal Sean’s television wardrobe (he wears a brown Franciscan habit) and Heather’s. Heather wore a colorful dress and her blonde hair contrasted Cardinal Sean’s more “conservative” gray.
The telethon will air on CatholicTV on Friday, September 25th, and 26th from 9AM until 9PM each day (Eastern). The telethon will be viewable at CatholicTV.com and will air simultaneously on CatholicTV. The show is produced by Kevin Nelson and is hosted by CatholicTV General Manager Jay Fadden and Director Father Robert Reed.
*The Telethon was cancelled in 2001 out of respect for the tragedy on September 11th.