WCYY 94.3 FM radio host Mark Curdo is about to lose a lot of sleep, but for a very good cause. Noon Monday kicks off the fourth annual “Mark-A-Thon” on-air benefit for the Center for Grieving Children (cgcmaine.org). Curdo doesn’t leave the studio until Friday night, and he plays all requests regardless of genre or how bad the song is. It’s typical to hear Air Supply followed by Aerosmith followed by Irene Cara followed by Tiny Tim. All you need to do is make a donation and voila, your song will be played. GO caught up with Mark before his final 40 winks for a while.

Who came up with the idea for Mark-A-Thon?

I wanted us (WCYY) to do something really special and big for a local charity. I felt with CYY being so close to our community since its start in 1995, it made sense for us to do something bigger and louder than normal benefits. You have the power of radio and the amazing heart of its listeners. Combined, it’s a major force.

This week allows us to provide a tremendous opportunity for the Center for Grieving Children to not only raise money, but to get massive exposure towards people who may need their services or want to assist in their work. Their services and support go beyond words. My heart instantly connected to this cause, and I really wanted to do this for them.

How much money has Mark-A-Thon raised so far?

In the three years of Mark-A-Thon thus far, our listeners have raised over $70,000. It’s just unreal that in this economy and around the holidays that people have been so giving. In a time when people need to think of themselves a bit more in terms of financial conservation and protection, Mainers find the richest value in supporting their community.

How do you prepare?

Preparing should be rest and doing nothing. That never happens. Rest happens basically the Sunday night before, and that’s about it. I make it work, though.

What’s the funnest part of Mark-A-thon, and conversely, how brutal does it get for you?

The fun part would have to be the music. The freedom to request anything to be played on the radio by those donating allows for the most freaked-out, oddball playlist you will ever hear. Ten iPods on shuffle couldn’t come up with this mix. From Sinatra to Sade, Slayer, Sha Na Na and the Scooby Doo theme; the fun is in the music for sure. People who love CYY and those that aren’t even rock fans listen all week. It’s great to hear from people who just love music. There’s metal heads requesting Chicago, and classic rock fans looking for ABBA.

What are some of the best, funniest or oddest requests you’ve received over the years?

Probably the German version of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. Also, someone donated big money to hear the full 17-minute version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly, twice in a row! I’d probably say “Why” by Fantasy Island star Herve Villechaize is still my favorite. And someone paid $150 to NOT hear a Nickleback song the entire day. That was such a win/win/win situation, really.

Is there an end of the Mark-A-Thon party?

After the first two years we realized, why not share this big wrap-up with people? So last year we teamed up with the Center for Grieving Children staff, the CYY folks and the station listeners for a gathering. It was great to bring everyone together and let them see what they’ve done. They also get to see a man as his body starts to physically shut down trying to hold valuable conversations. This year, we wrap up the week at Jimmy the Greeks at the Maine Mall starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. The invitation is out to anyone and everyone to join us.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]






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