Heart songs for young patients
KOTV newsman Rich Lenz lends his musical talent to Tulsa's Children's Miracle Network radiothon.
Rich Lenz isn’t someone you’d expect to be shy. The veteran television newsman has been a sports anchor and reporter and now serves as co-anchor of KOTV’s “Six in the Morning” and noon newscast.
But Lenz has another talent for which he’d rather stay behind the scenes. He is an accomplished songwriter. Before Tulsa, Lenz worked in New Orleans for 13 years. There, he often collaborated with some of the city’s best musicians.
In 2003, Lenz teamed with his musician friends to write a song to bring awareness to the annual Children’s Miracle Network telethon, on which he had appeared for 12 years. Lenz also enlisted friends from work at WDSU to help create a music video featuring some of the children who would ultimately benefit from the telethon.
The songs soon became a welcome, and expected, part of the yearly event, helping the telethon to set donation records for five consecutive years.
At work, Lenz was on the front lines during Hurricane Katrina as WDSU’s news anchor. He and his family also lost their house in the disaster. Eventually, he says, the everyday struggles of post-Katrina life got to be too much, so he, his wife and two children relocated to Tulsa.
Not long after he began working at KOTV, Lenz began to inquire about assisting at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. While continuing to help with the New Orleans telethon, he also wanted to participate in Tulsa’s Children’s Miracle Network radiothon, benefiting the hospital.
Saint Francis happily obliged, and now Lenz has put the finishing touches on his sixth song, “Getting Well is Getting Done.” The up-tempo, folksy tune, which Lenz describes as a “salute to volunteerism,” features five Cedar Ridge Elementary School students, who also appear in the music video. That video will premiere on “Six in the Morning” June 29, and the song will be played during the radiothon, which takes place from 6 a.m.-7 p.m., June 30-July 1.
Lenz says he hopes the song encourages people to volunteer with patients at children’s hospitals.
And although professional New Orleans musicians and videographers from both cities contributed to the project, he adds, “The kids and the song and the story are the stars. It helps to have everyone in it and say, this is a community effort. In some small way, here’s what we are doing; what you can do is call and donate.”