(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — MTV, VH1, and CMT have set the first stage of an ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief campaign–a multi-artist, multi-genre, multi-platform live performance special set to air across all three networks on September 10. The special will seek to raise much needed funds for The American Red Cross and similar organizations as they continue their relief efforts. The campaign will also seek to activate the diverse audiences across MTV, VH1, and CMT to drive volunteerism, donations, and general awareness.
The ongoing relief campaign will kick off with a live programming block from locations in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville featuring Ludacris, Green Day, Gretchen Wilson, Usher, Alicia Keys, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, David Banner, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington and more. The special will feature performances from country, pop, rock, and hip-hop artists and will be simulcast across all three networks as well as MTV2, mtvU, VH1 Classic, plus MTV Overdrive and VSpot, the broadband video networks.
"In the face of a tragedy of this scope, we simply have to do everything in our power to offer support, comfort and hope to all the people directly impacted by the hurricane. This is always the first and best instinct of all our millions of viewers, and the artists we know so well. If we can offer a platform to contribute in some meaningful way, all of our MTV Networks brands will be there," said Judy McGrath, chair and CEO, MTV Networks. "Our goal is to join forces on every medium to get involved, to volunteer, to contribute in any way we can."
"There's been an outpouring of support and concern and a desire to help from the artist community, our audiences and our employees. We feel fortunate to be able to provide a forum to channel all of this energy and good will and to let the people in the affected states know that we're there for them," said Van Toffler, president MTV Networks Music Group. "Many of the artists across our channels are from the affected areas and have a strong connection to the south. We are looking to activate every hip-hop, rock, country, R&B, and pop music fan out there to get involved and help support the relief efforts."
All CMT, VH1, and MTV platforms will begin an awareness campaign to provide information to viewers on how to get involved and participate in the relief efforts. Viewers and users will be directed to web sites and numbers where they can make donations of money, clothing, equipment, and anything else that may help the affected areas. MTV News will air a special on the hurricane relief efforts on September 10 and feature news correspondents Gideon Yago, Sway Calloway, and SuChin Pak filing from the hardest hit areas.
mtvU will be partnering with its nearly 7 million college students, national fraternities and sororities, other student organizations and Urban Outfitters to mobilize clothing drives, donations and volunteer relief efforts. mtvU will also continue to broadcast special features from the universities most affected by the hurricane, and will highlight the relief work of the thousands of college students who have been displaced and cannot return to their schools.
Viacom, MTV Networks parent company, is making a $1,000,000 cash contribution to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort and is also instituting a worldwide employee matching gift program for employee donations. For any donation made by a Viacom employee to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort, Viacom will match the amount, over and above the company's direct cash contribution.
Additionally, Viacom's other media properties, including BET, CBS, and UPN, as well as Infinity Broadcasting and Viacom Outdoor have a variety of support efforts underway ranging from special programming, to the donation of significant air time for public service announcements for the American Red Cross and other organizations that are coordinating relief and fundraising efforts. Local television, radio and outdoor operations are also involved in organizing and supporting community-based relief efforts.
The total value of these efforts including donated airtime and ad space is estimated to total tens of millions of dollars overall. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen