This weekend you should start hearing on 97Rock and seeing on Channel 4 a public service announcement about the Team Up 4 MS campaign. Simply put, it asks supporters to pledge dollars to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for every sack or every touchdown the Buffalo Bills score this season. Over the past dozen years or so, the pledge campaign (which used to be called Help Sack MS) has raised more than $200,000 to fund research and local programs for people with Multiple Sclerosis.
Larry Norton of 97Rock always brings the comedy and has been a gracious partner in putting together the PSA. Last year and this year, we have enjoyed having Bills Wide Receiver Lee Evans as our Bills spokesperson. Lee has taken a personal interest in fighting MS and, as you can read below, surprised us at the MS Dinner of Champions by kicking off the Team Up 4 MS campaign this year with a $5,000 pledge of his own.
On the evening of October 22nd, both Lee and Larry joined me here at the WIVB-TV studios to shoot this year’s PSA. It didn’t take long. Within about 45 minutes we had recorded a radio spot for 97Rock, practiced our lines in a script written by Channel 4 Promotions Producer Steve Patrick, posed for some still photos, and recorded on video about 7 or 8 takes that Production Photographer Roy Schrodt would use for the final cut.
Truth be told — Lee Evans did not fluff a single time. I needed three or four takes to get the coordination down of pulling the football out of Larry’s hands and passing it smoothly to Lee without interrupting the cadence of my sentence. (Thankfully I wasn’t required to do any walking and gum chewing!)
The rest of our takes had to do with injecting a little fun into the spot before the stopwatch hit 28 seconds. Steve left a few seconds at the end of the script for us to ad lib something humorous. Try being funny when somebody turns on a camera and says: “Go!” It’s not that easy. But, we always rely on Larry to be the foil and leave viewers with a smile.
Over the years, Larry has fallen down on the turf, tried to tackle Pat Williams, been tackled by Josh Stamer, run away from Ted Washington, and, as you’ll see this year, tried to coax the football away from one of the leading receivers in the NFL.
The Team Up 4 MS campaign runs through the end of the Bills’ season. We hope you get a kick out of seeing our PSA. And, more than that, we hope you will feel compelled to join us and make a pledge of any amount. You’ll find a link to the MS Society pledge page by clicking on the Team up 4 MS graphic on the home page of WIVB.com. Thanks for joining the Team!