Ryan Seacrest flew into Atlanta to christen his first major financial endeavor for his new Ryan Seacrest Foundation: a media center at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston hospital near Emory University.
His first boss at Star 94, Mark Kanov, told me after the event that he had a similar idea two years ago after he retired from Star but held off due to the economy. When he heard Ryan had a similar concept in mind, they joined forces. Ryan funded the operation, well into the six figures, while Kanov helped put the entire operation together. Ryan hopes to place similar operations in children’s hospitals in other cities.
Kanov hired Wendy Threatt, a long-time former Star 94 employee who did traffic and promotions, to oversee the radio and TV studio. At first, it will operate Tuesdays through Thursdays. She will do some DJ work, along with students from University of Georgia, Georgia State and Ryan’s alma mater Dunwoody High School. Patients at this hospital and two other affiliated children’s hospitals will be able to call in and make song requests or talk to the DJs. Some will be able to go down to the studio and be interviewed on TV.
“Our goal is to bring smiles to these children,” Kanov said.
Ryan himself did a test show to launch the operation today. In studio, he interviewed “Doc” Shaw, an Atlanta-based actor who plays Boomer on Disney’s “Pair of Kings.” He also got former Atlantan Kyle Massey, another Disney actor, to call in from Los Angeles, where Massey is doing “Dancing With the Stars.”
Julianne Hough, his girlfriend, was there, as well as his proud parents, Gary and Connie. You can see all three of them in the photo below:
I spoke with Ryan briefly today while he was doing the media line but will have more time with him tomorrow when he visits the Ronald McDonald House.