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″We Are The World” To Be Broadcast On Muzak

April 4, 1985 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The orchestral tones of Muzak will hum to a different beat Friday as the nationwide music system joins thousands of radio stations in playing ″We Are The World,″ the record that is raising funds to fight hunger in Africa.

It will be only the second time that Muzak, which pipes ″backround″ music into 110,000 offices, shops and factories around the country, has broadcast the sound of a human voice, spokesman Charles Furlong said Wednesday.

The first time was to announce the release of American hostages from Iran in 1981.

Furlong said Muzak reaches about 80 million Americans daily through satellite transmissions to more than 200 ground stations around the U.S.

″We saw this as a way to double or triple the number of people we can reach″ with the famine relief song, he said.

Muzak is owned by Group W Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Corp., and Furlong said Group W’s 11 radio stations have agreed to participate in the airing along with several other major networks.

The simultaneous broadcast of the famine relief record is planned at 10:50 a.m. EST Friday on thousands of radio stations worldwide. The Good Friday broadcast was started by stations in Georgia and Utah.

Recorded by U.S. artists after last month’s American Music Awards show, ″We Are The World″ has netted an estimated $8 million for the USA for Africa relief fund, a nonprofit organization founded by the singers to aid starving Africans.

Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Dionne Warwick, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteeen and Ray Charles were among the 46 singers who participated. Jackson and Richie wrote the song.

The album version of ″We Are The World″ - which included unreleased tracks by Springsteen, Tina Turner and Huey Lewis and the News, among others - was declared a gold record Wednesday after selling 500,000 copies since Monday, the Recording Industry Association of America said.

The Manhattan-based RIAA is the group that certifies recordings as either platinum or gold depending on the volume of sales.

The single version has been certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum - selling 1 million, 2 million and 4 million, respectively.