Albany - Albany businesses are rallying behind the Flint Riverquarium to keep it afloat. On Monday, Cumulus radio will kick off a nine week, concentrated advertising campaign for the Riverquarium. They also plan to hold a concert and radiothon to raise money.
It's rather ironic. The Flint Riverquarium is financially strapped, worried it could be forced to close. Yet, attendance is on the rise. "Our attendance has increased a bit, and I think that is due in part to the situation, the funding issue and the fact that the Riverquarium is in somewhat of a financial crisis, people are responding in a number of ways, and one way is to come visit this wonderful place," said CEO Scott Loehr.
Businesses are also responding. Cumulus is donating free advertising and lots of it. "An unprecedented gift, in kind contribution," said Loehr.
$35,000 worth of ads over nine weeks to increase attendance and awareness. "The reality of the situation is we have to do something to save the Riverquarium," said Jay Wachs.
As the incoming General Manager of Cumulus radio, Jay Wachs is new to Albany, but he's seen how important the Riverquarium is to the area. He said, "It's the crown jewel of downtown, it's the centerpiece of the development."
And he hopes over the next few weeks, others will see that as well. "What we're trying to do is get the word out about the Riverquarium to our 112,000 listeners so people can respond and take advantage of it and we feel it's our civic responsibility to do that in a time of crisis."
A crisis that in some ways made people realize the value of the Riverquarium. "In one sense," said Loehr, "the crisis may be the one thing that wakes everything up."
And that's why CEO Scott Loehr is so appreciative of what Cumulus is doing. He said, "Another example how this community is responding and helping and supporting the Riverquarium."
But not everyone can contribute on such a large scale. So what can you do? Wachs said, "Go visit. Go see it. Take your kids, your grandchildren, participate. It's only a few bucks to get in the door. Go buy something at the gift shop, wear a t-shirt around town, tell people about it."
About a crown jewel he hopes will keep shining. CEO Scott Loehr says he's working closely with city and hopes commissioners will approve money for the Riverquarium next week. WALB will team up with Cumulus to sponsor a concert at the State Theater and will donate advertising to boost attendance at the Riverquarium.