Katrina Telethon, Benefit Totals Roll In
The tallies of funds raised by various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts are being revealed, with substantial amounts culled from recent telethons.The tallies of funds raised by various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts are being revealed, with substantial amounts culled from recent telethons.
NBC Universal's "Concert for Hurricane Relief" pulled in $40 million, according to a Reuters report. The Sept. 2 show was the first big broadcast event to air and drew about 8.5 million viewers to NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, according to Nielsen Media Research. The show featured performances by Tim McGraw, Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis and made headlines for hip-hop star Kanye West's unscripted comments, including the declaration, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Friday's multi-network "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" raised about $30 million, Reuters reports, and boasted participation by Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, the Dixie Chicks and many more artists. The show averaged more than 22 million viewers on 29 U.S. television outlets that carried it, including the six major networks.
BET's S.O.S. telethon, which also aired Friday with Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Omarion and others, pulled in $11 million, and continues to raise funds via its Web site. Totals for Saturday's MTV/VH1/CMT "ReAct Now" event have not yet been reported.
The American Red Cross has been the recipient of most of these efforts. "As always, the Red Cross has been extremely grateful for all of the support from all of the networks," spokesperson Kara Bunte told Reuters.
A Sept. 6 show Velvet Revolver played at Hard Rock Live also raised $250,000 for the Red Cross, while a Sept. 12 Dave Matthews Band concert at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre pulled in more than $1.5 million for a hurricane relief fund established by the band's own Bama Works charity organization.
"We are deeply grateful to the Neville Brothers, John Butler Trio and to everyone who supported this effort," the band says in a statement. "We want to especially thank our fans for responding so generously to assist those affected by the hurricane.”