Curtis Media expands partnership with UNC Children’s

Curtis Media Group executive vice president, Trip Savery, says the evolution of UNC Children’s and its strategic priorities since the debut of Radiothon in 2002 has his team looking at new and innovative ways to support patients and families year round.

More than 13 years into a partnership that solidified with N.C. Children’s Hospital’s first Radiothon, Curtis Media Group has announced a recommitment to UNC Children’s as its signature charity and an expansion of the company’s involvement in raising awareness and money to support the hospital year round. Although the new approach means the discontinuation of the annual N.C. Children’s Promise Radiothon, it will enable Curtis Media’s diverse brands to tailor events and initiatives for their unique audiences for greater impact.

Trip Savery
Trip Savery
“In the years since we started the Radiothon, we’ve seen UNC Children’s grow to become one of the country’s preeminent children’s hospitals,” said Trip Savery, executive vice president of Curtis Media Group. “The new hospital has seen many changes since it first opened, and that got us thinking about how we can best serve the mission and vision.”

Savery was part of Curtis Media’s leadership team when the company started the Radiothon in November 2002. He relocated to Charlotte, N.C., in 2010 but returned to Raleigh and Curtis Media Group three years later, just in time to participate in the 2013 Radiothon.

“Having been away for a few years, I saw clearly how the hospital’s marketing and fundraising priorities had evolved, yet we were doing many of the same things—in the exact same ways—that we did when we started in 2002,” reflected Savery of the experience. “We met with the hospital’s senior leadership and discovered there is a greater opportunity throughout the year for fundraising and awareness to support research and clinical care.”

It was a difficult decision, said Savery, but leaders at both organizations agreed: it was time to end the Radiothon, while adding opportunities throughout the year.

“Something so steeped in tradition is hard to let go,” said N.C. Children’s Hospital chief physician, Wesley Burks, MD. “But when we thought objectively about how to best leverage our relationship with Curtis Media—to make the greatest impact on the greatest number of patients and families—we knew it was time to make a change.”

Curtis Media Group’s various news and music stations began launching new UNC Children’s initiatives over the summer. Pop station, Pulse FM, hosted a ticketed bachelor auction. The company’s heritage news/talk station, WPTF, debuted a weekly feature on Tuesdays which incorporates patient stories and interviews with clinicians. Its Hispanic station, WYMY “La Ley,” is working with regional Latino artists to put on benefit concerts in the Triangle and Triad.    

“We are asking each of our brands to raise money and awareness through events and on-air campaigns compatible with the diverse audiences we serve,” said Savery. “We’ll also build on signature station events like the QDR Country for Kids concert at DPAC.”

WQRD-94.7’s Q Morning Crew announced on Sept. 23 that its Country for Kids benefit concert would return to the Durham Performing Arts Center on Nov. 21, welcoming its best lineup yet. Artists scheduled to perform include local favorite Jason Michael Carroll, rising star Mickey Guyton, Country Music Award-nominated “Vocal Duo of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year” Maddie and Tae, and one of country music’s all-time favorite duos Big & Rich. The concert series began in 2010 and has raised more than $250,000 for UNC Children’s.

Savery relishes the chance for his team and their audiences to have a greater impact on the lives of critically ill children and their families.

“Our geographical footprint and public service mission matches very well with UNC Children’s—but more than that, our employees and listeners are so invested in the mission of the hospital,” said Savery. “Having seen the hospital’s impact firsthand through the many patients and families we’ve met, there’s a huge sense of pride in being a part of the hospital’s success, and that’s something we want to continue for years to come.”

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