COOS COUNTY — Bicoastal Media is gearing up for its 15th annual Radioathon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
On March 19 and 20 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hot Country 97.3 will be fundraising for the childhood cancer treatment and research organization.
“We’ve been working since the close of our last Radioathon last March to get ready for this one,” Operations Manager Barry Lyons said. “Every bit of it is for the kids. To help kids all over the world, as well as the kids here in our community. We have a lot of kids in our community that are affected directly by St. Jude.”
For the second year in a row, the two-day fundraiser will be hosted by Lyons and Marketing Social Media manager Kristi Rigel of Bicoastal.
“Our biggest goal is to drive people to become a partner, and sign up for the $20 a month. With the partnership, they get a ‘This Shirt Saves Lives’ T-shirt,” Rigel said.
Last year, the Radioathon raised around $36,000 in just two days for St. Jude, and this year the goal is to break $40,000. If an undisclosed amount of money is raised, Rigel said she will get the St. Jude logo tattooed on her.
“If we raise even more, then Barry will get it tattooed on him, and he’s never had a tattoo before. That’s how much we care about raising money for St. Jude,” Rigel said.
Bicoastal has reached out to different members of the community to spread the word about the upcoming fundraiser. This year the radio station hopes to get both Coos Bay Mayor Joe Bennetti and North Bend Mayor Rick Wetherell in to the station during the fundraiser to help encourage their respective cities to donate.
“What we want is to try and get them to challenge other members of the community to donate, Rigel said. "That really seems to work. Last year Barry and I started a Coos Bay/North Bend completion, because I live in Coos Bay and he lives in North Bend,” Rigel said. “It got to be a funny banter, and people were calling in telling us which city they were from, and putting more money down. That really seemed to work and that’s why we got the mayors on board.”
Wildlife Safari out of Winston got in touch with Bicoastal, and offered to bring in a cheetah during one of the fundraiser's live broadcasts.
Another first this year will be the silent auction. Different businesses around town have donated baskets full of goodies to Bicoastal to auction off.
“We’re going to have a bunch of different baskets set up, camping, entertainment, sports and a woman’s basket. Jennie's Shoes is donating shoes to auction off, we’ve got a recliner, and a beautiful painting from Hennick’s,” Bicoastal account manager Julie Graham said.
A number of the folks who work at Bicoastal media have gotten a chance over the years of fundraising to travel back to the St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, some have even gone multiple times.
“I’ve been there twice, and Julie’s been there once,” Rigel said. “You meet the patients and you meet their families, and you hear their stories. You can’t not be involved after that.”