A Ross on RadioInsight guest article from Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.
The giving time of year is upon us and radio stations across the country have been conducting drives to raise money and awareness for the charitable causes that help their communities. That’s part of radio’s public service, and we do it earnestly and well. Radio is a call-to-action medium. We know how to rally our audiences to help others.
What happens, though, when the victim is one of our own? When an unforeseen misfortune befalls a member of the broadcasting community? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of American can step in to help. The Broadcasters Foundation is the only charity devoted exclusively to helping broadcasters in need. Our grant recipients are your colleagues. Broadcasting professionals who worked at radio and TV stations and had meaningful careers in programming, on-air, production, engineering, sales, management and more. Now, these same broadcasters are destitute because of severe illness, accident or even advanced age.
Adding to their tragedy, many of these colleagues of ours do not know about the Broadcasters Foundation of America nor that they can apply for aid. Imagine that? We are broadcasters, and yet we can sometimes fall short of broadcasting vital information to our own.
Monthly grants from the Broadcasters Foundation can help pay for medical bills and basic living expenses. The Foundation also provides one-time emergency grants to offset the destruction caused by natural disasters like floods and hurricanes. This past year, for example, we distributed more than $90,000 in one-time emergency funds to broadcasters who were affected by the floods in Louisiana. If you work in the Baton Rouge market, you may have heard of the Broadcasters Foundation’s work there.
With the support of individual broadcasters and numerous broadcast companies, The Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to thousands of radio and TV broadcasters and their families for more than 65 years. The main source for these monthly and emergency grants is the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Contributions to the Guardian Fund have ranged from $50 a month up to $50,000 (and over) because of several very generous benefactors. Every amount helps. Our profession is large in numbers and large in caring! Collectively, we can come together through the Broadcasters Foundation to help colleagues who have found themselves in unthinkable circumstances.
Here’s a note we received from a drive-time DJ who was helped through your generosity: “I can’t thank you and the Foundation enough for this financial help. I’d be lost without it. As you know I’m without a family to help me along so the Foundation has become my support.”
The Broadcasters Foundation is really all about taking care of our own. Our work is dedicated to helping broadcasters and their families who find themselves in devastating circumstances.
The widow of a radio on-air announcer and program director writes: “I have done my best to keep the family happy, stable, and positive. The BFOA has played a huge role in that, thanks to your support.”
This is the kind of impact we can have. When unforeseen disaster or medical emergencies strike without warning, we are often the only safety net, providing not only much-needed financial assistance, but also a shoulder to lean on through the tough times.
The inspiring words from a radio business manager is a glimpse into the hope our help can deliver: “One day I won’t need [the BFOA’s support] anymore and hopefully on that day I can contribute back..”
The more broadcasters who are aware of the work that the Broadcasters Foundation does, and the more support we receive, the more colleagues we can help. As you look over our list of Board of Directors, you will recognize many leaders and prominent individuals from Radio and Television. These broadcasters are doing some of the best volunteer work of their lives. You can be sure they are careful and dedicated stewards.
We hope you are never in a position to need charity. But with your support, we can ensure that no broadcaster’s cry for help goes unanswered. Please, visit our website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org and click on the “How To Help” button. You can also contact us at 212-373-8250 or [email protected].
In closing, if you know of a broadcaster in need, let us know right away. If you have any questions, message me personally on Facebook or LinkedIn or email me at [email protected].