Channel Seven Perth Telethon
The Channel Seven Perth Telethon, known simply as Telethon, is an annual telethon produced by TVW, a Seven Network owned television station in Perth, Western Australia for two main beneficiaries; Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, plus many other beneficiaries including the Telethon Speech & Hearing Centre. It is widely regarded as the most successful fundraising event per capita in the world, raising over A$154 million since 1968.
The Channel 7 Telethon Trust is the charitable trust behind the event and its related fundraising activities. The philosophy behind the Channel 7 Telethon Trust is to financially support the medical and social welfare of children and young people and to fund research into children's diseases.
The event usually runs around 26 hours non-stop, from 6.30pm on a Saturday night in October, broadcasting live across Western Australia on TVW7 throughout the metropolitan area of Perth and the Golden West Network (GWN7) across the rest of Western Australia (Australia's biggest state by area), and since 2005 has been held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event aims to raise money for its beneficiaries from donations from private citizens and corporations, as well as from special fundraising events held throughout the year and the public auction of two specially built Telethon homes - one in the metropolitan area of Perth and one in the regional area of Western Australia.
Each year there are also two children (one from the metropolitan area and one from a regional area) who have had reason to be a patient at Princess Margaret Hospital over the past twelve months. Over the Telethon weekend, these two children are chosen to represent all children who benefit from the money raised. From 2010, these two children have been referred to as the "Little Telethon Stars."
Stars from Seven Network shows such as Home and Away, Sunrise and A Place To Call Home make the journey to the west coast of Australia for the weekend to entertain the audience, visit sick children at Princess Margaret Hospital, take phone calls and generally participate in the 26 hour marathon broadacst. In addition, musical guests are also a big part of the weekend. Over the years many acts including Sir Cliff Richard, Harry Connick Jr., Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Julian Lennon, Sammy Davis Jr. and Céline Dion have performed during Telethon. In 2012 Elton John performed two songs for Telethon live from his concert that was on the same night at Perth Arena. In recent years past finalists from Australian Idol have also made appearances during the event, joining lower profile and local acts. Michael Jackson appeared on the October 1985 Telethon as part of a deal with Western Australian millionaire Robert Holmes à Court (who owned the television station at the time) to acquire ATV Music Publishing. Jackson could not perform due to contractual reasons, but he spoke briefly and met the two "Little Telethon Stars."
Weekend Sunrise has even broadcast their show from the event live across Australia.
Telethon began in 1968, when the Trust was established by a group of senior executives at TVW. Before moving to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, it was previously held at TVW7's studios at Dianella, Western Australia.
2007 marked 40 years since Telethon began in Western Australia and raised more than $6.5 million. This was more than double the previous record amount of $3 million. Telethon 2008 raised a further $7.5 million, with the Australian Federal Government contributing $1.5 million, and a lottery winner donating $1 million of her winnings to the cause. The 2008 event also featured an Australian rules football match between old West Coast Eagles players and old Fremantle Dockers players in tribute to Chris Mainwaring, a former West Coast Eagles player and TVW7 sports presenter who had died the previous year. This match has been run each year since.
In 2010 Telethon again broke the record, raising $9,237,539, surpassing the previous record of $7.5 million set in 2008. This figure was later revised to $10 million as the phones kept ringing after the Telethon finished. In addition, 2010 marked the year in which the total amount collected over the previous 43 years surpassed the $100 million milestone. 2010's Telethon was touted by Seven Network owner Kerry Stokes as being "the best Telethon ever". In 2011, Telethon once again broke the previous record by raising $13,473,159. In 2012 Telethon broke several records, with the Telethon Home selling prior to auction for a record A$1.2 million. In addition, the final total broke the $15 million milestone, raising a record $16,805,622. The telecast featured a live performance via video from Elton John who was performing at the Gala Opening of the Perth Arena. In 2013 Telethon again broke the record raising a staggering $20.7 million which works out to be around $8.60 per head of population.
- Perth's love affair with Michael Jackson
- "Michael Jackson 1958-2009". Today Tonight. 2009-06-25. Seven Network. TVW. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3htpIVyUtec. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Hilburn, Robert (22 September 1985). "The long and winding road". Los Angeles Times.
- About Telethon
- $6.5 million Telethon total smashes records
- Channel 7 Telethon breaks last year's record
- Chris Mainwaring tribute match a success