Being On The Air In Radio Means You Can Make A Difference (Part 1)

A long time ago I decided, as a radio personality, I was going to make use of being in the spotlight by doing what I could to help the community where I was on the air. I think this was a highlight when I was on the air in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. I was at 105.7 KOKZ and the sales manager came to me and said that she wanted to do a Christmas promotion with the local Crossroads Mall and The Cedar Valley Food Bank. I had heard of radio personalities in other radio markets doing “roof sits” where the radio personality would live on the roof of a building to raise funds and awareness for various causes. I suggested to both the Sales Manager and The Marketing Director for the mall that I live on the roof of the mall, over the week of Thanksgiving until a Food Bank truck was filled with canned goods and non-perishable items. I remember how everyone worked together to make this happen. The maintenance men at the mall did a great job using a crane to get the Kybo (port-a-potty) up on the roof. The Sears store in the mall provided the tent where I would sleep. Restaurants in the mall and the mall area would provide me with my meals. And our engineer, Len Tompkins was awesome setting up the broadcast equipment I would need to do my morning radio show. The weather wasn’t always cooperative when I lived on the roof. But it was very rewarding how people would come by to fill the Food Bank truck and put money in the “fish bowl” to help the people who where having trouble making ends meet. I did this stunt for a couple years. When I left the station and went across town to Mix 96 we decided to do something different for the Food Bank. This is where we did a “stuff the bus” promotion for the Food Bank with the MET Transit people in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. They provided me with a 1964 vintage Transit bus and bus drivers volunteered their time to haul me around Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Waverly. Another year, during Thanksgiving week, I hauled a live turkey around with me along with a blow up statue of me where people could deposit money through a slot in the statue. The promotion was called “stuff the DJ or the turkey get’s it.” The object was to donate enough money for the Food Bank to keep the turkey from the chopping block on Thanksgiving. Lucky thing for the Turkey, we raised enough money to save it’s life. In the 10 years that I was involved with the Food Bank we raised over 200 tons of food. Proving that you can truly make a difference being on the radio. In part 2 of this blog I’ll talk about how me and my morning show partner made a difference in the lives of chronically and terminally ill children from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.