How have community radio stations dealt with the pressure of the lockdown and responded to the pandemic? How has community radio continued to support local communities with companionship and information during the pandemic? In this latest episode of the Decentered Media Podcast, I’m joined by Dr Jo Coleman of Brunel University, Leona Fensome of Radio Verulam in St Albans, and Anne Howie of Lionheart Radio in Alnwick, Northumberland. We had an in depth online discussion, in which Jo, Anne and Leona shared their experience of supporting community radio volunteers to continue making meaningful and valued radio during the lockdown.
Jo’s recent research into the response of community radio in the UK to the Covid-19 pandemic was able to identify that community radio is well “placed to provide locally specific health and welfare updates” for different communities, and is able to act as an effective bridge within and between communities when responding to the crisis, because community radio is flexible in “incorporating new content alongside their usual entertainment and information outputs.”
We discussed how our different experiences of community radio has the common thread of providing an anchor point for local action, events and companionship, and how important it is to remember that volunteers are the backbone of this alternative network of social gain based media.