One would think that, when it comes to fundraising, there aren’t that many “new tricks” relative to being creative and thinking outside of the box. And you would probably be right. So the question begs, “If a Morning Radio Show host climbs up on a roof, in the challenging weather period known as late October, will anybody hear him?”
“Thankfully,” says Marty in the Morning from B-104.7 Radio, “they have, and with an even higher goal this year than last, we hope they continue to open their hearts, and their wallets. Our listeners, our advertisers, and even people off the street who just plain care, have continued to step up in a huge way these past 2 years. I get a lot of looks from people driving by off Highway 41, and just stop to see why a guy in a parka is sitting at a picnic table on top of the roof at OshVegas Palms. Quite frankly, even my family says the same thing!”
2015 will mark the 6th year of B-104.7’s “Hallow-Ian” campaign.
“The first few years were truly a labor of love,” Marty said “back in the first 3 years, we would take over the Cow Palace (I mean, with a name like that, how could you go wrong?) on the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds, and spend the better part of the week turning it into a true, lightly-haunted attraction. Back then, the school’s typically had the last two days of the month off for Teacher’s Conferences, so it was a natural to hold grade school and middle school dances on Thursday night, a dance for the high school’s on Friday night, and then an adult-driven event on Saturday, ranging from bands to comedians, to a Dean Martin impersonator. It all was received very well, but it was also a ton of work.”
That first year, Ian Locke was chosen as not only the recipient of the fund raiser, but it was also his name that was used for the event, and it’s stuck ever since.
“For those that don’t know,” Marty explained “Ian was a sophomore in high school that first year. He was injured in a football game, taken in for X-rays, and it was then they diagnosed him with bone cancer in the leg. My daughter Sydney, who was in Ian’s class, came home that day from school and was just torn up about it. She asked if B-104 could assist in helping promote the brat fry cookout that was being coordinated, and I said we could. I helped out that weekend, and was just amazed at the outpouring of support from the community. And it was also that night when I realized, we needed to not only do something bigger, but also something that might have traction and be able to thrive for years to come. And that’s when we decided to have the inaugural ‘Hallow-Ian’ event.”
The Cow Palace in Fond du Lac was already reserved for dances, so turning the 3 nights into a fund raiser was an easy choice.
“I will admit before Ian was diagnosed with bone cancer,” Marty said “I was looking at a way to offer kids something to do with two days off, give parents a break, and maybe make some money in the meantime. But when Syd came home, and I saw the tears in her eyes, and I saw the hundreds and hundreds of people come out for the brat fry…that’s when I kind of felt God slapped me up side the head and said ‘this money-making idea will now be a fundraiser.’”
It’s been a labor of love ever since, and a real source of pride for Marty and B-104, and their partners.
“The neat part for me this year has been running into the Locke family,” Marty said “and hearing how great Ian has been doing (now a Junior in college). I’ve also run into Amy and Aiden, the parents of Baby Mateo, who was our 2nd year recipient. I can’t believe how big he has gotten, and how much Amy and Aiden are doing with him. We saw them on at least three occasions this year at various fundraising walks and runs that we are a part of, and it’s the three of them, and it’s just cool to see.”
It was after the 3rd year of spearheading Hallow-Ian that Marty decided he had to do something different.
“I knew I was never going to be able to build a huge committee to move HallowIan forward,” Marty said “and I really wasn’t relishing the thought of asking people who had given so much already of their time and talents, to give even more.”
The 3rd year involved Terah Bowe and her family, and we were raising money for Baby Clay. Not only was Terah and her family a very deserving family, Baby Clay was truly in need and as Marty said, “at the end of the week, when it came to writing the check, it just seemed like so much work, and just too little payoff.”
“There was never any family or individual that ever said anything,” Marty said “but it was my own personal affirmation that we were fighting a forest fire with a squirt gun. And that’s when I came up with the idea to get up on the roof.”
One could argue that sitting on a roof, raising money, is not all that novel.
“But, not only am I on the roof,” he explained “but I’m also broadcasting live from there. I do my show from 5a-10a, then I cut in with live breaks when Jen, Skye and Stevie V are on. It’s actually a lot of fun. As long as I don’t have to repeat the length I did the first year length, I think we’ll be good.”
That first year on the roof, in 2013, Marty set a goal to raise $10,000.
“I looked at the checks we were able to write the first 3 years,” he said “and I wanted to at least match that in our first year on the roof. I wasn’t concerned that we could raise it, as I knew folks in our area love a challenge. And once people knew that 100% of what we raised was going back into the local communities, and with zero expense, I just thought we couldn’t lose. My only concern was how long it would take.”
And that first year?
“33 hours,” Marty laughed. “Which I can tell you not only sounds like a long time, it was a long time. It was the first time on the roof, the only things I was really concerned about were weather and bathroom facilities. The weather kicked my butt a bit, as it was cold, windy, rainy, some snow flakes. We had it all. I was most proud of the fact that I didn’t have to come off the roof for any bathroom breaks. I just waited to pee until it was dark!”
33 hours of broadcasting later, and Marty’s goal of $10,000 was achieved. And the fun was just beginning. Now came the chance to give the money back…to food pantries, where he teamed up with Webster’s Pick and Save in Ripon to purchase pallets of canned food items. He then transferred those cans to places like Farmer’s and Merchants Bank in Berlin, where for every can of food donated, they would match it with a $1 cash donation.
“I remember calling them, just to confirm,” Marty said “I mean, I was sitting on 1,047 cans of food, and was hoping there was not some type of limit I couldn’t go over. Thankfully there wasn’t, and we have been working with them ever since.”
As Marty points out, raising the money locally, expense-free, and then being able to give it all back again locally, really hits home with so many people.
“We realized there were so many great fund raisers and charitable events,” he said “and so many deserving individuals and families. I just knew to stand out from the crowd, we had to be different. I don’t have a committee. We don’t do raffles. It’s pretty simple. I go up on the roof, and I broadcast live until we reach the total for the year. Last year I raised our goal to $15,000. I was a bit nervous. We started out very slow. Then again, the weather was not great. I think folks loved hearing the wind whip me around on air, and they wanted to see where my breaking point was. And that breaking point happened when Cary McGrath climbed the ladder to drop off a check, and scared the long underwear right off my backside! But it was all worth it the end of the day when Kevin Michels from Michels Pipeline called on the phone and asked, ‘how much longer are going to be up there? I’d kind of like to get you down from there, but we are having way too much fun listening to your teeth rattle on air.’”
The wildest moment of the Hallow-Ian 2014 Roof Top Marathon was when attorney Nate Olson, normally reserved, usually in a suit and tie, showed up.
“He was wearing a Captain America costume,” Marty laughed “he and his wife Carla had the kids out for a party or trick or treating. He pops out of the car, walks right to the building, and simply asked what number was needed to get me off the roof. We were close at the time, but I also knew time was not on my side. I was wet from the rain, I was cold, I was hungry, I was tired. Bear Grylls would not have liked my mindset. But Nate wrote a check for the balance to get to the goal, and off the roof I came. Our goal of $15,000 was achieved in just over 15 hours.”
And the goal this year?
“I haven’t decided yet,” Marty said “It’s got to be bigger, obviously. I’m just not sure how much bigger I want to make it this year. $20,000 seems logical, then again…”
Marty does a number of things that allows everyone a chance to get involved. Donors can “sponsor” an Hour of Music while he broadcasts; you can also “pay to play” meaning, you may just hear the Carpenters or Metallica on B-104 during the marathon; and you can also sponsor an appearance during the Marathon, and join Marty on the air, on the roof, or send an employee, a family member, et cetera.
“The one thing I wanted to accomplish,” Marty said “was being able to help a great many more people, and try to make a difference within more communities. I remember sitting in a meeting back in February, at an auto repair shop. A young mom with 3 young children was at the counter, in tears. Her van had just been fixed, and she was looking at the bill. The mechanic was struggling, but he managed to tell her that, while fixing the original issue, they found one other item that really needed attention. That set off another round of tears. The mom was doing all she could to keep it together. But she had done all she could to round up enough money to get the first repair done. While she was trying to figure out what to do, I called the mechanic over and asked what the additional repair was going to cost. It wasn’t a huge amount, but at that time the additional $348 seemed like a mountain. I told the mechanic to go ahead and fix it, and that we would write the check for it. When he went to tell the Mom, another round of tears broke out. It was unreal, but it’s the reason we do what we dd…helping others.”
For Marty in the Morning, it’s really what he believes his and B-104.7’s main purpose is.
“There are a ton of great radio stations, and great media outlets in the area,” he said “we all need to make money to survive. I just think how you choose to do that is our biggest difference. We could probably make more money, doing it the way others do, but it wouldn’t be as much fun. I’d have to wear shirts and ties every week, and I’m pretty sure most of the other companies would frown on me for peeing off the side of the building. There are perks to owning your own building!”
Find out more about Hallow-Ian 2015 at www.B104online.com or to contact Marty in the Morning directly to donate or help out, call the studios at 920-230-1047.
Hallow-Ian 2015 Roof Top Marathon takes place Friday, October 30th, at OshVegas Palms Resort in Oshkosh.