CMT, MTV and VH1 have announced the first stage of an ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief campaign — a multi-artist, multi-genre, multi-platform live performance special set to air across all three networks on Sept. 10. Gretchen Wilson and John Mellencamp are among the artists scheduled to perform from locations in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville.
The special will seek to raise much-needed funds for the American Red Cross and similar organizations as they continue their relief efforts. The campaign will also seek to activate the diverse audiences across CMT, MTV and VH1 to drive volunteerism, donations and general awareness.
“In the face of a tragedy of this scope, we simply have to do everything in our power to offer support, comfort and hope to all the people directly impacted by the hurricane,” MTV Chair and CEO Judy McGrath said Wednesday (Aug. 31). “This is always the first and best instinct of all our millions of viewers and the artists we know so well. If we can offer a platform to contribute in some meaningful way, all of our MTV Networks brands will be there. Our goal is to join forces on every medium to get involved, to volunteer, to contribute in any way we can.”
“There’s been an outpouring of support and concern and a desire to help from the artist community, our audiences and our employees,” said MTV Networks Music Group President Van Toffler. “We feel fortunate to be able to provide a forum to channel all of this energy and good will and to let the people in the affected states know that we’re there for them. Many of the artists across our channels are from the affected areas and have a strong connection to the South. We are looking to activate every hip-hop, rock, country, R&B and pop music fan out there to get involved and help support the relief efforts.”
The ongoing relief campaign will kick off with a live programming block featuring Wilson, Mellencamp, Ludacris, Green Day, Usher, Alicia Keys, the Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, David Banner, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and others. The special will be simulcast across all three networks, as well as MTV2, mtvU, VH1 Classic, plus MTV Overdrive and Vspot, the broadband video networks. Additional details will be announced shortly.
Starting immediately, all CMT, VH1 and MTV platforms will begin an awareness campaign to provide information to viewers on how to get involved and participate in the relief efforts. Viewers and users will be directed to Web sites and phone numbers where they can make donations of money, clothing, equipment and anything else that may help the affected areas.
Viacom, MTV Networks’ parent company, is making a $1 million cash contribution to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort and is also instituting a worldwide employee matching gift program for employee donations.
The American Red Cross is asking people to help by making an online contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW to donate, signing up with a local chapter to volunteer or making a blood donation.