It’s a guarantee that song requests during the 43rd Annual Heart Radiothon will vary from the nostalgic to the ridiculous to the sublime, but the goal behind the musical mishmash is all heart.
The beloved Fulton County fundraiser kicks off Thursday at 6 a.m. on WMTR- 96.1 FM in Archbold. Thirty-two guest disc jockeys assisted by about 20 additional volunteers will continue spinning a cornucopia of tunes until 9 p.m. to raise $24,000 to benefit area heart health.
That’s a goal the Heart Radiothon has met with pride each year for more than four decades. WTMR owner Maxell Smith is confident county residents will come through with donations once again.
“This is a charity that Fulton County loves,” he said. “A lot of groups and a lot of companies really get behind it. And people get behind it because they know that 100 percent of the money is being used for Fulton County heart-related projects. We’re very transparent. There’s no questioning what Radiothon does.”
Smith said Fulton County believes in the fundraiser because it’s all about county residents. “Everybody understands that what benefits one town benefits the whole county,” he said.
For a pledge the DJs will oblige listeners’ requests for practically any song, from rock to rap, country to Celtic, love ballad to Beethoven, fight song to funk or novelty to just plain nutty. And an anonymous sponsor has agreed to match up to $500 in requests for the “Happy Birthday” song.
The number to call Thursday is 800-686-9687.
A portion of all proceeds will purchase seven automated external defibrillators (AEDs), priced at approximately $1,000 each, to be placed on one fire truck in each Fulton County community.
The 2017 Heart Radiothon budget includes: $7,000 for the AEDs; $2,300 for heart-related equipment to county EMS departments; $1,200 for heart-related program equipment and CPR manuals for the Fulton County Health Center; $3,000 for “Teen Tickers” – cholesterol checks for high school freshmen and seniors; $4,000 for replacement batteries and pads for about 100 AEDs previously distributed by Heart Radiothon; $3,500 for community cholesterol and blood screenings; $500 to purchase heart-related equipment for both Fulton Manor in Wauseon and Fairlawn Haven in Archbold; and $2,500 for Heart Radiothon promotions.
Heart Radiothon directors are Sharon Morr, Maxell Smith, Ron Murd, Marcy LeFevre, Brent Shea, and Chad Smith. And in memoriam: Dr. Ben Reed, Chuck Rychener, Marvin Goldsmith, and Maxell Smith Sr.
Morr, who is Fulton County Health Center Director of Corporate and Community Health Promotion and a Heart Radiothon board member, said all of the proceeds remain in the county.
“The money here does stay in Fulton County and is designated for the good of the community,” she said. “It comes in and it goes out, back into the community. I think people know that and appreciate that.”
The event receives a boost this year through the inaugural Wauseon Chamber of Commerce “The City You’ll Take To Heart” Gala being held Feb. 11. Some of that fundraiser’s proceeds will benefit the Heart Radiothon.
“We’re hoping to really hit a home run with this gala and bring more in,” said Shea, Heart Radiothon treasurer.
And, as with every year, FCHC will hold cholesterol/blood sugar/blood pressure testing for a $5 donation in the hospital cafeteria from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on the day of the Heart Radiothon. Proceeds benefit the event.
Morr said the goal this year is of getting an AED in each county fire department will bring the total number of AEDs the event has distributed throughout the county to 110.
The Heart Radiothon “is a fun day for us. It’s rewarding to see the public come out. It’s just a whole community event,” Morr said.
And it’s a unique day for the radio station itself, which foregoes its regular playlist to honor even the most obscure requests.
“There’s no radio station I know that plays such a variety of music. It’s incredible,” Morr said. “You hear everything from very, very old tunes to gospel to hip-hop. It’s whatever people call in and pledge.”
Shea said county residents embrace the Heart Radiothon because they usually know someone who has benefited.
“And the money all stays here, so it’s easy to get people to jump on board and help,” he said.
Smith said the continued success of the Heart Radiothon also stems from the close community aspect of Fulton County.
“The Radiothon board just really are grateful that this continues to be a relevant charity for the county,” he said.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.