February 10 is the day set aside this year for the 48th annual Heart Radiothon in Fulton County. Every year WMTR 96.1 sets aside the entire day to play musical requests in exchange for a donation to the Heart Radiothon fund.
All of the money raised on this day through the radiothon remains in Fulton County. There are no administration fees subtracted from what’s donated. All of the money is invested throughout the community in AED (Automated External Defibrillator) units, cholesterol screenings, community heart education, AED maintenance, and cardiac rehab equipment at the Fulton County Health Center.
In the last 12 month, over $25,000 of the money raised was spent on maintaining the AED units. The units needed new batteries and pads to make sure that they were ready to use when needed.
“Every year, three to six different entities in the community ask to have an AED installed in their buildings and the answer is always yes even though each unit costs over $2,000,” Max Smith, owner of WMTR 96.1 radio station explained,
According to the American Heart Association, “Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include CPR and AED training for rescuers have achieved survival rates of nearly 40% for cardiac arrest victims.” Otherwise, their statistics say that only 10 percent of victims survive. The AHA also claims that if early defibrillation with an AED unit is used in conjunction with immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), then a victim’s chance of survival can more than double.
The Heart Radiothon is a community event that has raised over $1 million during the last four decades. One such outpour of generosity comes every year from the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce. Last year, even though they were unable to have their own big fundraiser, The Taste of Wauseon, they still managed to give $3,000 to the Heart Radiothon.
The Taste of Wauseon will be held this year on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at the St. Caspar Parish Life Center.
Every year a monetary goal has been set except for last year. “The goal was intentionally not set out of respect for the difficult financial times the COVID virus has wrought,” said Smith.
During the 2021 Heart Radiothon, $29,000 was raised despite the circumstances. This year’s goal is $24,000.
Why is the event held each year on Valentine’s Day? Smith said, “We did it in association with Valentine’s day as a way to send your Valentine a song.” Smith’s dad, Max Smith Sr., Bob Lammon, and Marv Goldsmith started this tradition at the radio station in 1974.
“I was just a kid when it started,” said Smith. He explained that he is the only person still working at the station that was present from the onset of this charitable event since his dad has passed away and other radio station employees have retired.
“The guest DJ’s will be limited in number to a small handful of people this year because the radio station wants to be careful and respectful due to COVID-19,” said Smith. This won’t limit the fun that the DJs, callers, and recipients of the dedicated songs will have.
According to Smith, the three most requested songs since 1974 are:
– “IOU by Jimmy Dean” – (A tribute to mothers)
– “How Great Thou Art” – ( Christian hymn written by Carl Boberg in 1885)
– “I Will Always Love You” – (Sung by Whitney Houston, written by Dolly Parton)
Each year the radio station uses the same joy-filled formula. A caller can dedicate any song from any genre. The DJ’s will announce birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions. Smith said, “It is an unbelievably fun day to listen to the radio.”
Make sure you have your radio dialed into 96.1 WMTR to show your support. If you would like to participate, call the radio station at 1-800-686-9687, have your song picked to dedicate to your loved one, and don’t forget to have your checkbook ready to donate.
“We love Fulton County and appreciate their generosity,” said Smith.