It is only Tuesday, but news organizations have had a busy week drumming up donations for a number of charitable causes.
Last night CNN aired a star-studded two-hour telethon organized and hosted by Larry King. According to an article on CNN.com about the program, the telethon raised $1.3 million to help the people of the Gulf Coast.
Update: according to an internal memo from CNN, the final numbers are around $1.8 million.
Less well publicized (and with much less star power) is the ninth installment of the “Today Show” event “Lend a Hand.” All this week Al Roker is traveling the country, helping local charitable organizations.
Yesterday, the same day of the King telethon, Today, “Lend a Hand” raised just over $1.2 million in donations, its best single day ever. So far it has raised $4.3 million this year, with more coming in as Roker continues his trip.
Why the discrepancy between the money raised by CNN and the money raised by NBC? The likely culprit is simply reach. NBC’s “Today” is on for four hours every day, averaging just over five million total viewers. King’s telethon was one night only, and his program typically attracts total viewers in the high hundreds of thousands, with one million viewers being a very good night.
Of course, helping the Gulf Coast and helping charities in local communities are both extremely worthwhile endeavors, so there is no “wrong” decision for potential donors.