The 'UK Radio Aid' event on Monday was pronounced a phenomenal success, with more than £3m raised towards victims of the tsunami disaster in Asia. It was the first time that the UK’s largest radio groups – EMAP, Chrysalis Radio, Guardian Media Group, Scottish Radio Holdings, Capital Radio, GWR and Scottish Media Group – had collaborated to create a nationally networked station for twelve hours. The audience was estimated to be in excess of 26 million across the 268 radio stations taking part, each of which pledged to donate a single day’s profits to the appeal. Making his first appearance on radio for three years, Chris Evans interviewed the Prime Minister for half an hour and asked him if his children had downloaded the 'Crazy Frog' ringtone to their mobile phones. Sounding slightly baffled, Tony Blair admitted that he did not know, but he offered to donate a tour of Downing Street to the appeal, followed by a cup of tea with the highest bidder, which raised £11,000. He also donated a free mobile phone for life and a history book about 10 Downing Street signed by all living former Prime Ministers. Chris Evans auctioned two seats on his table at next month’s Brit Awards ceremony, which raised the most money for an individual item at £17,000. Other popular items included Frank Skinner’s Elvis Presley shirt, attracting £7,000, Jamie Cullen’s piano for £6,000 and Sting’s signed guitar at £4,600. George Michael had donated a dinner date with the singer and his partner at their Hampstead home but, sadly, the offer had to be withdrawn when overenthusiastic fans pushed the price above £4m. Online bids on 147 items are still being accepted through the E-Bay website until the auction closes on Friday. The day of broadcasts from 6am to 6pm was co-ordinated from Capital Radio’s studios in London where guest DJs, celebrities and pop stars presented live acoustic sets, guest interviews, contests, auctions, pledges, messages and news bulletins. On Monday evening, ITV2 broadcast a behind-the-scenes documentary about the whole event. Afterwards, Mark Story, chairman of UK Radio Aid, publicly thanked the principal sponsors for their generous encouragement and support. "There are many, many people to thank – many who have helped to make UK Radio Aid achieve such success,” he said. “This important fund-raising effort wouldn’t have been nearly so successful without the generous support from the key sponsors of UK Radio Aid." More than £400,000 was donated by sponsors, including Carphone Warehouse who signed up as the first of six main sponsors and pledged £170,000. In addition, the Radio Advertising Bureau and the CRCA secured £100,000 worth of prizes for the event. The day’s broadcast was also carried by student radio sustaining service that serves several colleges including the University of London. Programming manager James Lewis said that "being a student radio sustaining service, we felt it would be a good idea to get the students at the different college and university campuses involved and help raise more money for the cause."

News: 'UK Radio Aid' Appeal Day Raised £3m For Asian Tsunami Victims ©2005 Grant Goddard

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Guest DJ and 'Big Brother' presenter Dermot O’Leary summed up the generous spirit of listeners during the day’s broadcasts: "I can’t believe people would get up at 6am, use their mobile phone and donate. It was just incredible." Guardian Media Group [GMG] made a separate donation of £250,000 towards victims of the tsunami, which will be used by the charity 'Concern in Sri Lanka.' GMG chief executive Sir Robert Phillis said: "Over the last two weeks, all GMG's media operations have been keeping readers and listeners updated on the disaster in the Indian Ocean. We have been overwhelmed by the response of our readers and our staff throughout the organisation. GMG now wants to make a practical contribution by helping thousands of people in Sri Lanka to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.”

[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'UK Radio Aid Worldwide' [sic], #667, 22 January 2005]

Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at

News: 'UK Radio Aid' Appeal Day Raised £3m For Asian Tsunami Victims ©2005 Grant Goddard

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