Yesterday, TV and radio stations across the state held a tornado relief telethon, Together for Alabama, that was coordinated by the Alabama Broadcasting Association. “Broadcasters are always there for the communities they serve and at times like these, we bring everyone together in a way like no other,” said Sharon M. Tinsley, Alabama Broadcasters Association’s president.
The tornado was a mile wide where most are just 300-500 yards across.
No wonder it’s being called the country’s strongest and deadliest in years.
Yesterday, TV and radio stations across the state held a tornado relief telethon, Together for Alabama, that was coordinated by the Alabama Broadcasting Association (ABA).
Collin R. Gaston, an ABA board member and general manager of WBRC, Gray Broadcasting’s Fox affiliate in Birmingham, said the idea for the telethon came about in Washington where all of the Alabama broadcasters were making calls on their legislators on the Hill.
“These storms happened on the weekend, and we started an email about 7 o’clock Monday morning asking each other if we would be willing to cooperate as the Alabama Broadcasters Association on some sort of telethon to raise money. We all said yes, we all were in.”
Gaston said he reached out to his Gray Broadcasting TV stations across Alabama, and every general manager said they’d participate.
“By noon, we were all thumbs up to do a telethon.”
WBRC teamed up with the Birmingham Salvation Army and the American Red Cross for the telethon.
In addition to Gaston’s station, WBRC, the other Gray TV stations that participated in the all-day telethon were WSFA, the NBC affiliate in Montgomery; WAFF, the NBC in Huntsville; WTVY, the dual CBS/MyNetworkTV affiliates in Dothan, and WTVM, the ABC affiliate in Columbus, Ga.
Gaston said that part of his station’s legacy has been serving the community when the time calls for help. In this case, the community of the location of the Lee County tornado is about 120 miles from WBRC’s station in Birmingham.
“A lot of us either attended Auburn University or have children who are attending Auburn which is 10 or 15 miles from where the tornado touched down.”
“We hope these donations will ease the pain for so many who are suffering loss of loved ones and loss of their homes,” said Shannon Isbell, WBRC’s news director.
“It’s always difficult to look at the images after a disaster but, when it’s your neighbors and so many of them are gone — it’s especially hard to accept,” said Sharon M. Tinsley, Alabama Broadcasters Association’s president.
“Broadcasters are always there for the communities they serve, and at times like these we bring everyone together in a way like no other.”
As of 6 o’clock last night, the Gray stations had collectively raised more than $234,000 for tornado relief.
NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that there were more TV stations in Alabama that participated in the tornado relief effort, Together for Alabama, that was coordinated by the Alabama Broadcasting Association.
If your group or station has a story to tell about your participation, please contact me, paul@newscheckmedia or 817-578-6324.