In 1993, there was an on-air promotion on Class95. It was something called A Time For Our Children. The Class Crew had committed to the dual cause of raising funds AND awareness for The Children’s Charities Association and their clients.
Hardly anyone in the building knew nor cared about what we were doing. As a stunt, I had pledged to stay at the station for all 95 hours of that first ever “radiothon” over the weekend. And my girlfriend wondered why the hell I was doing it.
And then it began.
And, as I am sure some people had expected it would, it did not go well. The volunteers from the CCA were a long way from being overwhelmed with phone calls. It looked like we would struggle to reach our modest goal of raising $95,000.
And then it happened. The parents of a John, a young boy with special needs showed up at the reception of RCS. They had brought with them a cassette. John had heard the radiothon on the air and he had something recorded his personal message to the audience.
And when we played it, we heard an innocent child make an uncomplicated plea. To please be treated like the others.
We played that recording over the air. And in those 2 minutes and 39 seconds John changed the world. Grown men called us from their cars – barely able to control their tears as they reacted to his heart-wrenching words.
Our partner Swensen’s had set up donation booths at their restaurants. At the Orchard road branch, a man who spoke little English came up to the volunteers and donated $3000 in cash. John’s message it seemed had jumped the language barrier.
We played the recording a total of 4 times that weekend. At the end of the 95 hours, and mostly because of the recording, we had more than $980,000 in donations and pledges. And we were the talk of the town as the 95 hours came to a close.
And it was then, when our senior management showed up. They gave interviews to the press about giving back to society and doing good for the community.
The whole thing made me sick. On the Friday before, the Class crew had been silly for trying and now on the Monday after it was successful, the company had swept in, taking credit for being the hero for pulling it off.
I don’t want anyone to take what I am saying as ANY kind of political statement – because it absolutely is not. But it IS a message about management.
When it comes to success, give credit where credit is due. And if you happened to have played a part in it, you certainly deserve some recognition.
But never claim more credit than is due to you.