Internet

Stars come out for disaster-relief telethon

A national telethon and Webcast that aims to assist relief efforts following last week's terrorist attacks is attracting star power, from giant corporations to Hollywood celebrities.

A national telethon and Webcast that aims to assist relief efforts following last week's terrorist attacks is attracting star power, from giant corporations to Hollywood celebrities.

All proceeds of Friday night's telethon, titled "America: A Tribute to Heroes," will go to The September 11th Fund. The United Way and the New York Community Trust created the fund for established agencies providing immediate support in cities affected by the events.

Telethon participants will include Tom Cruise, Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, Robin Williams, Stevie Wonder and other entertainers.

Friday's event will be shown live and commercial-free on the major TV channels, cable networks and radio stations. Yahoo will also Webcast the event at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PDT. Yahoo said people will be able to watch the event and make donations via its site.

"It's part of our overall effort to help in the disaster relief, but we're very happy to have joined the rest of the entertainment industry to help make this effort take place," said Yahoo spokesman Jackson Holtz.

Convergys, which provides billing and customer-management services for companies such as AOL Time Warner and Microsoft, is supplying 16 of the 25 call centers and more than 2,000 employees as volunteers for the event. Other companies providing call center support include AT&T, Verizon, WorldCom and Capital One.

"I have been...amazed at the groundswell of support in our country and the exuberant demonstration of patriotism in this difficult time," said Convergys CEO Jim Orr. "Two hours of network time across all the major networks and appealing on an issue that is so much in the front of people's minds I think have to be a very significant fund-raising success."

The event will be shown live on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT. The telethon will be tape-delayed in Mountain and Pacific time zones.