Public discouraged from attending MDA telethon

The shorter running time for this year's MDA Labor Day Telethon means almost no chance for the general public to be part of the studio audience at the South Point, officials say.

There is room for about 200 people in the audience, and telethon organizers need to fit in about 400 sponsor and major-donor representatives for presentations over the course of the new six-hour format, explains Jim Brown, spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Tightening the telethon from its old 21-hour format also means shorter cutaways to local TV stations: only two breaks per hour of seven and eight minutes each.

"There's not enough time to change the audience out," Brown said. "Yes, there's a remote possibility (of getting in), but I would discourage people" who might expect an organized lineup area as in past years.

The telethon will be carried locally by KTNV-TV, Channel 13, starting at 6 p.m. today. However, only the local cutaways will be live; the national segments will be live for the East Coast and delayed for prime time here.


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