ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL’s annual Country Cares Radio Seminar may have been virtual again this year, but it was still a star-studded affair. The hourlong event, hosted online TODAY (11/17), included taped appearances from Country stars LADY A, CARLY PEARCE, JIMMIE ALLEN, RANDY OWEN and BRETT ELDREDGE. There was also a segment where KEITH URBAN, accompanied by wife NICOLE KIDMAN, spoke with two ST. JUDE patients and their parents and, by request of one of the patients, played a snippet of his current single, “Wild Hearts.”
Also featured during the event were various Country Cares advisory board members from the radio and record industries, as well as ST. JUDE physician’s assistant (and former patient) HAYLEY ARCENEAUX, who was part of the all-civilian crew of the two-day INSPIRATION4 spaceflight mission in SEPTEMBER. ARCENEAUX introduced video of a Q&A learning session she and her crewmates hosted from space with ST. JUDE patients during their journey.
LADY A, PEARCE and ALLEN modeled the new ST. JUDE “Love Music Stop Cancer” t-shirts, while ST. JUDE advisory board members promoted new assets and resources for stations that host annual fundraising radiothons for the hospital, including the brand.stjude.org website, artist liners and photos, a new PSA featuring multiple Country artists including CARRIE UNDERWOOD, and four new story songs. ALSAC/ST. JUDE’s JESSICA TURRI encouraged attendees to use the hashtag #Musicgives while posting shots on social media of themselves wearing the new t-shirts.
The event culminated with Country Cares founder OWEN of the band ALABAMA presenting the RANDY OWEN Angels Among Us Award to two men who were instrumental in the development of the fundraising program more than 30 years ago, which hundreds of stations now participate in. The recipients were COUNTRY AIRCHECK founder and “Country Countdown USA” radio show host LON HELTON, and retired COUNTRY RADIO BROADCASTERS Executive Director and former record label executive and radio programmer BILL MAYNE.
In his introduction, OWEN said, “The heart of the work of ST. JUDE is giving hope to families.” He also encouraged seminar attendees to “go out and let people know this is important stuff we’re doing.”
It was noted during MAYNE’s introduction that he recruited the first artist to attend the (normally in person) Country Cares Seminar in MEMPHIS in the early ‘90s, HOLLY DUNN, and later FAITH HILL among many other stars. That inspired the annual tradition of attracting approximately 30 Country artists to the MEMPHIS event annually.
Both HELTON and MAYNE were previously honored with the 20-year ST. JUDE Pioneers Award for their longtime support of ST. JUDE kids.