Channel 7, Episode 3
I admire few things more than selfless philanthropy. To give of yourself without expectation of reward is perhaps the truest expression of faith, whether you place that faith in God or in humanity.
Ostentatious philanthropy is another matter. One of my favorite books calls people who get every last ounce of publicity out of their giving "Pharisees," and their hucksterism can be tiresome at times...
(SCENE: The studios of WFLK -- Channel 7, Columbus. In a back room, several folding tables are set up. Banks of telephones sit on the tables, manned by volunteers wearing "WFLK Ð The Channel That Cares" shirts. The cameras and lights in one corner of the room are focused on Bob Hart and Pamela Gait, who are preparing to start the six o'clock newscast. The theme music kicks in, the graphics come up, and five minutes later...)
HART: Disaster has struck again in the state of Ohio and, as you can see behind me, the "Seventh Crusade" has sprung into action to meet it. I'm Bob Hart.
GAIT: And I'm Angela Gait. The flooding in Massieville has brought extreme privation to the town's residents, as these dramatic pictures taken from our "Seven in Heaven" copter show.
HART: But never fear, help is on the way. WFLK, "The Channel That Cares", has again brought together the best charity fundraising team in central Ohio to help meet the needs of Massieville. Our goal is $250,000 -- which is the highest goal of any station in central Ohio -- and if you want to make a donation, please call our toll-free number: 1-800-777-WFLK. That's 1-800-777-WFLK.
GAIT: After you've made your pledge, you can either give us your credit card number or mail a check to "Seventh Crusade," Box 7777, Columbus, Ohio, 43217.
HART: The response so far has been overwhelming. It seems like every major figure in Columbus has, with only minimal prodding, given of themselves for Massieville.
GAIT: The most generous offer of all came to "The Channel That Cares" from Les Wexner. He offered to completely rebuild the town if, in return, the town would change its name to "Wexxieville" and build a private golf course on the outskirts of town. Town leaders say they are considering the offer.
HART: But don't think for a minute that ordinary citizens haven't been putting their two cents' worth in. We've received hundreds of calls from concerned citizens just like you. Here are just a few examples: a Grandview Heights grandmother has sent in $20, which she says is her food money for the week; a Pataskala paperboy will be sending in half of his monthly proceeds; a Dublin teenager has contributed half her weekly allowance, which brings another $50 in; a father in Westerville has offered to send his overdue child support payment to us if we'll get him out of jail; and a Columbus mother has contributed her two children to repopulate the town...well, we had to turn that one down. But the "Seventh Crusade" still needs your help! Come on, Columbus, give 'til it hurts! Again, our number is 1-800-777-WFLK. Call now.
GAIT: Local politicians have also contributed to the crusade. Democratic congressional candidate Bob Fitrakis has filed a federal lawsuit against Mother Nature, stating in a press release that "her actions are inexcusable in the kind of rational, ordered world we seek to live in." Franklin County's other Democratic congressional contender, Richard Cordray, has donated his comb and brush, explaining that he doesn't use them anyway. And OSU President Gordon Gee has announced that he will run full-page ads in local newspapers asking for contributions.
HART: The question that has probably crossed most viewers' minds by now is whether more rain is coming to southern Ohio. Here to answer that is WFLK weatherman Chyp Shott. Chyp, what's your forecast?
SHOTT: Well...it's tough to say, Bob. I keep seeing these big blue birds flying across my screen. I need a flyswatter, Bob, I need a flyswatter! Make them stop!
HART: Chyp! Get a hold of yourself!
SHOTT: Whap! Whap! Whap! There, I got 'em. That's a relief.
HART: Chyp, are you stoned again?
SHOTT: I'm just taking a few painkillers for my putter's elbow. What's the problem? They don't call these the Halcion days of summer for nothing. I'm predicting continued warm and dry weather for southern Ohio.
HART: Thanks for that report, Chyp.
GAIT: Our more observant viewers will notice that we have not stopped at simply posting our grand total of contributions. We also have a breakdown by city, and Hilliard and Upper Arlington have been in a neck-and-neck race for the lead. Here's Channel 7's own award-winning sportscaster, Buddy Blake, to tell us why those cities have been so competitive.
BLAKE: Thanks, Bob. The rivalry between Hilliard and UA is what I like to call the "Battle of the French Phrases." The old-money Arlingtoners are trying to show that their sense of noblesse oblige is stronger than the need for social acceptance being shown by the nouveau riche Hilliard folks. As of right now, Hilliard is in front, but the lead has switched hands several times.
HART: I understand some other sports figures have sent contributions.
BLAKE: Yes, they have. We just got a check from former OSU quarterback Art Schlichter and the Philadelphia Eagles have sent the game ball from their season opener to be auctioned off.
HART: Fantastic. And how much have you given, Buddy?
BLAKE: Well, Bob, I've decided to contribute my salary for tonight's broadcast.
HART: And how much is that?
HART: Two hundred and fifty dollars! That is incredible, Buddy!
BLAKE: No, no, no. I meant two dollars and fifty cents.
BLAKE: I'm also throwing in some sports jackets to help out those who lost their clothing in the flood.
HART: Well, God bless you, Buddy. Just another example of why Channel 7 is "The Channel That Cares."
GAIT: That's all the time we have for right now. But we'll be back every hour on the hour to update our progress toward our goal -- the only station in Columbus providing this service to its viewers. That's what makes us "The Channel That Cares." See you at seven.