With TV benefit, Rowan Television Network looks to make a difference in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines

With TV benefit, Rowan Television Network looks to make a difference in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines

The Rowan Television Network, one of Rowan University’s largest student organizations, will broadcast the “Philippine Benefit Special: Typhoon Haiyan Relief” from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Five thousand deaths. Thousands of homes destroyed. Damage beyond comprehension. And yet, little national attention.

Super Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines in early November, leaving thousands dead and even more homeless. The country is struggling to regain its footing and needs all the help it can get. Yet, many are still unaware of the devastation caused by this disaster.

The Rowan Television Network (RTN), one of Rowan University’s largest student organizations, is taking a stand—and making a difference. On Tuesday, Dec. 3, RTN will broadcast the “Philippine Benefit Special: Typhoon Haiyan Relief” from 7-8:30 p.m. The benefit will air on Rowan’s Channel 5, as well as stream live around the world at www.rtnch5.tv.  

Completely student led, the benefit special will be a live production featuring interviews, musical acts and video footage, much of it provided by CBS-3, concerning the disaster. Students hope to raise money and awareness for the typhoon. The projected goal is $1,000. All proceeds from the benefit will go to Waves for Water’s relief project at www.wavesforwater.org.

Students and viewers will also be able to live tweet during the event using the hash tags #RTNHaiyanRelief and #RowanProud.

The benefit special was conceived by juniors Josh Hersch and Joe Ponisi, both of whom are radio/television/film (RTF) majors. They are the event’s producers.

“I saw a sign hanging up in the RTN office about the tragedy in the Philippines,” said Hersch, a native of Flemington. “I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it before. When I looked it up online, I was shocked. It wasn’t like the tsunami in Japan a few years back. It seemed like nobody really had any idea of what was going on. So, I knew this was an opportunity for our club to really make a difference.”

Because the issue is so current, Hersch and Ponisi gave themselves just three weeks to make the broadcast a reality. From contacting charity organizations to setting up the crew for the broadcast, every aspect of the production is in the hands of the students.

“RTN has never done anything like this before, or at least not in this little amount of time,” said Ponisi of Holmdel. “Any live broadcast of this size would usually take a few months to plan. We only a have a few weeks. Not only that, but we’re doing everything ourselves. We aren’t looking to administrators or professionals for help. It’s all on us.” 

For a charity, the team chose Waves for Water, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to Third World countries. The organization also sets up projects to aid in natural disasters around the world. 

“They’re a great organization and it’s so easy to donate to them. We’ve set up a page for our event and we can actually keep track of how much we will raise,” noted Hersch.

The broadcast will be hosted by Katlyn Scott of Galloway, a junior RTF and musical theater major with a minor in voice. All interviews will be conducted by Ashley Force of Frederick, MD, a broadcast journalism major with a minor in advertising.

Headlining musical guests will be Nalani and Sarina Bolton of Flemington, a twin pop music act with a strong following throughout New Jersey and other parts of the tri-state area.

The other musical acts are made up entirely of Rowan students and include: Laura Fanelli of Voorhees, a sophomore RTF major with an advertising minor; Erin Maglietta of Hamilton, a junior RTF major with a minor in anthropology and a concentration in new media communication; Sophia Pettiford of Hackensack, a junior RTF major; and Matthew Maccarone (Matty Mac) of Mickleton, a senior electrical and computer engineering major.

While donations will be accepted online, phone bank operators will be standing by to accept pledges during the broadcast at (856) 347-0786.