Oct 28, 2008

Light-a-thon raises $13,300 for funding and scholarships

by Amanda Baker

Sitting for hours behind a plastic table collecting nickels and dimes in 50-degree weather is hardly an ideal job. However, students who volunteered to work the donation table for 90.9 the Light, Liberty’s campus radio station, braved the elements to bring in support during Light-a-thon 2008, which ran from Oct. 22-25.

The purpose of Light-a-thon is to get listeners involved in keeping the radio station on the air.

“We appreciate your gift of any amount … whether it be a gift of $10, $100 or an entire student scholarship (of) $1,200, please consider helping us … (reach) our listeners with the gospel of Jesus Christ while training the next generation of broadcasters (to) go out and impact the world,” stated the Light’s Web site.

The white tent outside the radio station sheltered radio practicum students and 90.9 staff from extreme weather conditions as they asked Liberty students, professors and alumni to donate whatever they could, from spare change to a monthly pledge, to help fund the station. A telephone bank inside the radio station, dubbed “Phone Central,” took calls from listeners who wanted to call in a donation. The money raised will go toward scholarships for students who work full-time at the radio station.

“(Students) receive scholarships from the money raised during the Light-a-thon,” Jamie Hall, the station manager for 90.9 the Light, said. “(This is) the only compensation the majority of our staff gets for the work they do at the station.”

The Light gave away prizes sporadically throughout the event to donors who gave a specific amount of money, including MercyMe tickets, Scaremare tickets and a skateboard donated by HopeBoards, a local Christian skateboarding company. Listeners were encouraged to either pledge a specific amount per month, give a one-time gift or to give a day pledge of $100, which was the opportunity to sponsor a whole day of programming on 90.9 the Light. According to the Light Web site, “A ‘day pledge’ allows you to have a day in your honor ?or in the honor of a loved one or group. On that day, you can come in and celebrate on our morning show or we can play announcements throughout the day on the air.”

Light-a-thon promotions were scattered throughout the day, including endorsements from the bands Family Force 5, TobyMac and Superchic[k], and Liberty faculty – Dr. Elmer Towns, Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore and Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., who encouraged listeners to give money to the station. Snippets of Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr.’s statement, “If it’s Christian, it ought to be better,” were interwoven with the station’s declaration that the Liberty communication department’s goal was to rise above mediocrity and embrace excellence.

Practicum students who helped work the phones and collect change from passersby learned to get creative while waiting for donors. Apple juggling, chair racing and playing songs through a bullhorn sufficed as spur-of-the-moment entertainment. Auctioning off fellow practicum students for dates was also a short-lived scheme.

“I (put in) 18 hours (helping out with Light-a-thon),” senior Tanner Blankenship said.

Professor Bill Dewhurst, who oversees the practicum, said, “The practicum students helped Light-a-thon run a lot smoother.”
Hall would regularly check in with the courtyard workers for progress updates and to interview donors. The youngest donor to give to the station was a 5-year-old girl visiting the campus with her parents – both Liberty alumni – and 8-year-old sister for Homecoming weekend.

The largest donation made during Light-a-thon was given by an anonymous donor, who “gave a pledge large enough to cover two scholarships,” according to Hall.

“He was worried about the type of music that was targeting this generation. He said that he found our station and that is all (he) listen(s) to now. He was listening during the first day of Light-a-thon and felt convicted to make a donation because of the impact the ministry has had on his life,” Hall said. “Stories like this … really lift the spirits of our staff and motivate us to do the very best we can to continue to shine the light of Christ to our audience.”

By the end of the week, the radio station had raised 95 percent of its $14,000 target.

“The $14,000 goal was an increase from last year. Since the first Light-a-thon in 2002, we have increased our goal from $5,000 to $14,000,” Hall said.

To give to the radio station, call 434-582-2909, e-mail the Light at wwmcfm@liberty.edu or visit the Light’s Web site at www.thelightonline.com. Please include your name, address, phone number and the pledge amount, and the station will send you a pledge card in the mail. Payment can be made by credit card, money order or check.

 


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