Ryan Seacrest is one of the country’s top radio, TV and online personalities who is best known for hosting the televised competition American Idol since 2002.
He has also co-hosted Live with Kelly & Ryan since 2017 and was the producer of the hit reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians for nearly two decades.
Seacrest has never forgotten his roots in radio and the opportunities they gave him through broadcasting. The American media personality and producer’s successful career can be traced all the way back to a radio station internship he got back in high school.
Alongside many of his popular media projects, he is also the founder of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non-profit organization that installs radio station studios into children’s hospitals across the United States.
For any parent, watching their young child sick in a hospital bed is one of the hardest things to witness. For the child, it is incredibly difficult having to be away from friends and their home in order to go through medical treatments and procedures.
The foundation currently has eleven studios put into children’s hospitals scattered across the U.S. that offer a place for patients to truly become a star and forget about their health issues.
The programming provides an outlet for kids to host their own shows, play games, and even interview celebrities as the foundation helps to bring by.
It was last year amid the pandemic that the foundation opened its eleventh studio in a partnership with the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. A new state-of-the-art 1,200 square foot broadcast media center called Seacrest Studios was opened at the hospital in December of 2020.
Seacrest, 45, hosted the special virtual ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new studio, and pop star Justin Bieber joined in virtually to celebrate and connect with the patients.
Seacrest told PEOPLE in a statement, “2020 has been a year unlike any other and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation is honored to be welcomed into the lives of Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children’s patients and families. We are thrilled to share a fun and creative outlet during their stay that continues to keep their health and safety a priority during these challenging times.”
The media personality explains on his foundation’s website that his goal with the studios was to provide a positive distraction to hospitalized kids through two things he knows best: radio and television.
“Over the years, I’ve visited numerous pediatric hospitals that have the weighty task of caring for children facing serious illness or injury and I’ve always been amazed by the courage of the children and the families I meet. During these visits, I also learned that the patients were wanting more things to do to distract and entertain them during their hospital stays. This feedback really stuck with me,” said Seacrest.
The foundation has a revolving door of celebrity ambassadors that have included Sabrina Carpenter, Selena Gomez, Charlie Puth, and the Jonas Brothers over the years. The studios have hosted musicians, actors, authors, athletes, and more.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot over the years, both together and as individuals. At the end of the day, it’s something really dear to our hearts – to be able to give back. If we can spend time in Seacrest Studios and make life a little lighter for these patients, we want to do it. These kids are brave, and they push us to continue to be the best we can be!”, said the Jonas Brothers
For the eighth consecutive year this year, the “iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour Presented by Capital One” is partnering up with Seacrest’s Foundation.
“The nation’s most iconic holiday event is back live on stage in front of screaming music fans with performances from some of today’s hottest artists,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer for iHeartMedia. “After being virtual last year, we’re excited to be able to celebrate the end of the year with artists and music fans across the country in person again.”
Nine cities are on the tour including Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Boston; Philadelphia; New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Atlanta; and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.
“The Ryan Seacrest Foundation is incredibly grateful to partner with the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour for its eighth year, allowing us to build and maintain Seacrest Studios in children’s hospitals across the country,” said Meredith Seacrest Leach, Executive Director & COO of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
“Seacrest Studios provides an uplifting and entertaining environment where kids can host their own radio and TV shows, play games, interview celebrities and forget they are in the hospital for a while. We have so much gratitude for the relationship with iHeartMedia, which has helped us create one-of-a-kind experiences and bring hundreds of special moments to patients nationwide,” she added.
The foundation is currently accepting donations via their website and merchandise offerings. The studios act like regular radio stations with prizes given away each week to during special events. Acceptable merchandise includes t-shirts, earbuds, and water bottles.
Gibson has been donating guitars and KRK headphones to several Seacrest studios throughout the 2021 year.
“The Ryan Seacrest Foundation brings healing through music with their in-hospital studio locations. We believe this to be a crucial part of the healing process as well as a comfort distraction from the realities of whatever a patient is facing,” remarked Dendy Jarrett, the executive director of Gibson Gives.