Not only will Fulton County’s 46th Annual Heart Radiothon spin musical memories for heart health this Thursday, the event is poised to reach a milestone.
If donations from listeners of the heartfelt fundraiser push this year’s proceeds beyond the goal of over $24,000 they will bring the more than four-decade Radiothon total to over $1 million.
As in previous years, WMTR 96.1-FM in Archbold will suspend regular programming from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to bring the county a day of listeners’ requests for donations, everything from rock to country to gospel to practically any other musical genre they want to hear, provided it’s appropriate for the airwaves. In past years, the over 30 volunteer Radiothon DJs throughout the day have played team fight songs, golden oldies, one-hit wonders, novelty songs, and whatever strange or silly recordings they’re asked to share.
And, especially with the ease of digital technology, the Radiothon stands by its credo – requested recordings WMTR may not have available on-site will be found.
Past favorites have included the Fulton County Dog Pound’s usual request, “Who Let The Dogs Out” by the Baha Men, and Jimmy Dean’s 1976 stalwart tribute to mothers, “I.O.U.,” which has been played each year. And, as is tradition, the DJs will be pleased to sing listeners a happy birthday, anniversary or other important occasion.
The Radiothon also enjoys playing recordings and spotlighting live performances by local artists. Past years have included Memories from Pettisville and Messengers Quartet featuring Fulton County members.
Donations typically vary between $5 and $100, but no donation is too small or large.
Listeners’ donations also cover the cost of cholesterol checks for the county’s high school freshmen and seniors, CPR equipment and supplies for EMS crews, heart-related program equipment for the Fulton County Health Center, heart-related programs at the Fulton County Senior Center, and heart-related equipment for Fairlawn Haven and Fulton Manor nursing homes, among other programs.
Last year’s Radiothon brought in $24,841. Treasurer Brent Shea said the fundraiser is about $16,700 shy of surpassing the $1 million mark in the event’s 46-year history. He said he’s confident that goal will be reached by noon on Thursday.
“It’s an exciting year with the million dollar goal, and it’s pretty exciting that all of that money goes back into the local community,” Shea said.
As of 2020, Radiothon donations have made it possible for 145 automated external defibrillator (AED) units to be dispersed around Fulton County, in locations such as Wauseon’s fire department, the Fulton County Alano Club, and Delta’s Trinity Lutheran Church and American Legion Post #373. This year, units will be given to Fulton County Airport, Crossroads Evangelical Church in Wauseon, and Shalom Counseling in Archbold.
Ron Murd, a 19-year Radiothon board member, said the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to unveil a complementary service to the AEDs the fundraiser has donated. Called Pulse Point, it will allow the sheriff’s dispatchers to notify 911 callers whether the location they’re calling from has an AED and where it’s stored.
WMTR owner Maxell Smith Jr. said the Heart Radiothon has endured so long due to its endearing quality.
“People know that the equipment and the training funded by Radiothon benefits everyone in the county. And that 100% of the money stays in the county,” he said. “I just think people know that it’s a legitimate, important charity. People in Fulton County are very generous, and they love local.”
Smith said over the years many county residents have physically benefited from the health services the Radiothon provides, “so there’s some prevention that goes into this as well.”
He said it’s important to him that the Heart Radiothon board has always been able to present the public with transparency and accountability regarding its proceeds. “There’s no question that this is a really well-run event,” he said.
Murd said he’s both astonished and proud the fundraiser has collected more than $1 million for heart health during its decades-long run.
“The residents of Fulton County are just amazing,” he said. “People just love to support Heart Radiothon.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.