Scottish Rite ends Star 94 radioathon, moves to Q100, Kicks, NewsRadio and Rock 100.5 Dec. 11

The Star 94 radioathon for Scottish Rite last year pulled in $85,000. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

The Star 94 radioathon for Scottish Rite in December 2014 pulled in $85,000. Rob Stadler (left), Scott Lindy (third to left) and Cindy Simmons (fourth-to-left) have since left the station. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, November 30, 2015

Star 94 has ended its long-time charitable partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite after the pop station’s listeners donated a mere fraction of what they gave a few years earlier.

The station raised a whopping $7.2 million between 2004 and 2010, including $1.2 million each year from 2005 to 2007 when Steve McCoy and Vikki Locke manned the airwaves over three days.

By 2013, Star cut the radiothon down to one day and raised $147,000. Last year, the station pulled in just $85,000. Star’s waning ratings at the time didn’t help matters.

So this year, Children’s Healthcare is teaming with Atlanta-based Cumulus Media and four of its radio stations: Star rival Q100, Rock 100.5, Kicks 101.5 and NewsRadio 106.7. Each station will run the radiothon for 13 hours from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, December 11  with stories from families and patients.

Sharon Robinson, the manager of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, said nationally, other hospitals have teamed up with Cumulus as well.

For her, the power of four radio stations with four different demographic groups could expose the hospital’s good deeds to a broader audience and potentially help improve fundraising significantly over last year for Scottish Rite. Indeed, the combined ratings of those four stations last month was a 12.2 share vs 4.5 for Star alone.

She said part of the reason fundraising numbers have dropped since the novelty of the radiothon has gone down. Plus, the increased awareness of the hospital has led other companies to raise money separately for the organization and other fundraising efforts have cropped up during the year.

The event itself will look a bit different December 11. The hospital has hired a third-party call center to handle calls. (More people now donate online anyway). So volunteers will no longer be needed to man phones. And Robinson said some personalities on one station may pop up on another. You may hear Bert Weiss of Q100, for instance, on NewsRadio 106.7, or the Kimmer on Rock 100.5.

Star itself has gone through an ownership change this year which includes new management seeking to reinvigorate the brand.

So far, the results have been promising. Ratings have edged upward this year. In the latest four weeks of Nielsen Audio ratings covering most of October, Star tied for ninth place with a 4.5 share and eighth place (4.9) among 25 to 54 year olds. This compares to 14th place slot a year earlier (3.4 share) and a tie for 12th (3.7) among 25 to 54 year olds.

And these encouraging numbers are happening before the arrival of Jeff Dauler, formerly of the Bert Show, in February, 2016.

Star, for Christmas, will be giving away car leases to ten returning vets via sponsor Carriage Motors.

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