Sunny-themed radio stations have been tried before, but the newly launched "Breakthrough Radio" channel co-developed by iHeart Media and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is taking the feel-good concept to a level that's "never been done before anywhere, as far as we know," said iHeart Philadelphia market president Rich Lewis.
Officially launched on Wednesday as both a local broadcast and a national-streaming service, Breakthrough Radio aims to "get your blood pumping" with "life-charging tunes" appealing to "everyone from kids to grandparents." So say the recurring station promos between doses of Elton John ("Crocodile Rock") and Sara Bareilles ("Brave"), Bruno Mars ("24K Magic"), Nico and Vinz ("Am I Wrong"), the Beatles ("Good Day Sunshine"), Louis Armstrong ("What a Wonderful World"), and Carl Carlton ("Everlasting Love").
And because this new audio feed is "powered" by CHOP as both the lead sponsor and content collaborator, the Breakthrough channel will also be promoting a healthy lifestyle and the hospital's special expertise to listeners through regular doses of medical tips and interviews with staff doctors, medical researchers, and patient families.
"You'll hear experts from different specialties, from EMT to orthopedics to primary care and child-life specialists," said Stephanie Hogarth, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia chief marketing officer. "We're really excited about this, as it offers an interesting and innovative way to get in front of families. We have amazing physicians. Those people can't be everywhere but this is a great way for them to communicate with patients and families in the region and beyond."
Seasonal health tips will be part of the mix, as well as some seasonal fund-raising. "People in this region and beyond aren't as aware of CHOP as a charity, the way we raise funds so we continue to make great breakthroughs," said Hogarth. "This will give us a messaging opportunity, so people might think of us in end-of-the-year philanthropy and give insights to what we do with those philanthropy dollars."
CHOP was one of the first of now 10 children's hospitals to open an in-house, closed-circuit radio and TV production facility backed by the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, back in July 2011. Staff DJs and special guests, including Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, have taken to the airwaves, just for the benefit of hospital listeners. And patients also take turns as DJs, talking and spinning tunes for their friends. There's been some preliminary discussion of sharing that content on Breakthough Radio, Lewis said, though there are concerns about HIPAA privacy regulations.
As a marketing vehicle for promoting the CHOP cause, having professional radio voices doing the presenting and interviewing — such as station program director Michael Tozzi and iHeart director of news and community affairs Lorraine Ballard Morrill — adds polish to the project.