MDA Telethon Talk

by Melissa Brunner

Change can be a scary thing. We get comfortable with what has always been. But sometimes it's necessary to step outside our comfort zone and explore a new course.

By now, you've likely heard the rumblings that the MDA Telethon would be different this year. We really didn't have many specifics about just how it would be different - until now.

I spent three days in Las Vegas last week with people from MDA and telethon producers and emcees from around the country learning about this new and improved telethon. The best way to sum it up came from Jann Carl, national co-host, during our closing session: the way we do the telethon might be changing, but why we do it and who we do it for have not changed.

The biggest headline is that we will now be on Sunday, the day before Labor Day, from 6pm to midnight. We're still calling it the Labor Day Telethon, but it airs the night before. It's exciting because the show really hasn't had prime time hours before. Some stations did start at 8pm, but a great many more didn't launch until after the 10pm news. Because of that, the national producers are getting better cooperation in securing commitments from major talent. Let's face it - the agents for big-name acts aren't going to jump at the 2 am time slot! To that end, they announced Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Martina McBride are among those already on board.

Locally, you'll still see Ralph and I. Instead of a single 15 to 20 minute segment each hour, we'll have two, 7 to 8 minute segments each hour. For us, behind the scenes, that will take some adjusting. However, at home, you'll still hear the phones ring, see our partners who've raised money throughout the year and, of course, meet the children, adults and families who live with neuromuscular disease every day and mean so much to us.

As for Jerry Lewis, you'll want to stay up and watch the end of this year's telethon (you don't have to work the next day!). Jerry previously announced that this will be his final telethon appearance. He will close the show singing his signature piece, "You'll Never Walk Alone." Does this mean Jerry is turning away from MDA? Absolutely not. He remains as MDA's national chairman and, as he said, he will never desert his "kids." But, given his pseudo-retirement, it seems like a perfect time for MDA to step outside its comfort zone and explore change.

It does seem a little scary, but I'm excited about it, and hope you are, too!

Read More Blogs
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability