The importance of radio during lockdown

During lockdown, we have all had to adapt to the changing conditions of a pandemic. For myself and numerous others, online radio has offered musical discovery and much needed connection with others.

The importance of radio during lockdown

Whilst much has changed for us over the past year in lockdown, our need to remain connected with one another has not. With the possibility of meeting up with friends and family all but gone - though that is slowly changing now - we have all had to find new ways of coping with isolation and staying connected to the outside world and each other. 

Radio is a great way of discovering new music that you may have not stumbled upon otherwise. During lockdown it has also been a way of maintaining some level of connection with others. Stations like Radio 6 Music, NTS Radio and Worldwide FM promote a wide range of music, giving a platform to a new and experimental radio presenters, curators, musicians and DJs. 

For a lot of us, either working or studying from home, meant that busy, hectic lives came to a halt, replaced by restrictions and routine. Though difficult, these restrictions have meant there has never been a better time for radio to flourish. A favourite of mine, and countless others, has been the popular Do!! You!! Breakfast show w/ Charlie Bones on NTS Radio. The show has a considerable following and through the online chat room, listeners are able to connect with the radio host and others tuned in. Through radio, presenters are able to make connections between different pieces of music or seemingly disparate artists. 

Some of my favourite artists, musicians, and DJs have been discovered through online radio stations. Drawing on the traditions of pirate radio, online radio gives a platform for presenters to expose more people to slightly unusual or experimental music which might otherwise be ignored. The diversity of programming on these online radio stations opens up the listener to a whole range of different ideas; eclecticism, and a love of various different kinds of music and musical programming. This diversity is at the root of many of these stations and they are all the better for it. 

Inspired by much of this, with few opportunities of getting involved in radio, a friend and I decided to start our own online radio station, Debris ‘83. The show has given us something to focus upon during the pandemic and share music that we love. Streaming weekly on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, between 9pm and 12am, my friend Will takes charge of things on Wednesday and myself, Saturday. The music ranges from jazz to techno, afro-beat to new wave. The whole thing is very much a loose affair, with a great deal of the show spent sharing random stories, catching up with friends, talking about the music we’re playing or giving shout outs. 

Doing the radio show has helped give me a sense of purpose during the lockdown, especially since finishing university and returning back to live and work in my hometown. Hosting a show has also provided a space in which my friends and I can socialise. By listening to music together and talking via a chat room we’re able to connect without a dreaded zoom call. 

We’ve done the odd ‘special’ show. Marking a year since the passing of Bill Withers, I did a Bill Withers Special, solely playing music by him, including some covers and songs which sampled him. I also included some audio from the 2009 Still Bill Documentary. Vinyl only shows have also been a feature, as have shows which focus upon certain styles within dance music.

Although things are beginning to open up, we will continue to do the radio show every week, sharing music and random bits of nonsensical chat. 

We are grateful to everyone who tunes in regularly to our shows, giving us support and contributions.

If anyone reading this would like to get involved, please send me an email at [email protected]

You can listen in at https://mixlr.com/debris_83 on Wednesday and Saturday evenings between 9pm and 12am. 

Hope to see you there!

Header Image Credit: NTS Radio

Author

Harry Ruxton

Harry Ruxton

This author has no bio :(

4 Comments

  • Cal vin

    On 6 May 2021, 13:49 Cal vin commented:

    Great read!

  • Daisy Mellor

    On 9 May 2021, 10:35 Daisy Mellor Contributor commented:

    Totally agree that radio has been super important for lots of people during lockdown! It provides a sense of connectivity to others and allows us to listen to and discover music we wouldn't necessarily find by ourselves! Love the article.

  • Diana Walton

    On 10 May 2021, 09:35 Diana Walton Voice Team commented:

    Interesting piece Harry and your show sounds a great platform for less discovered music as well as a creative way of keeping in touch with people :)

  • Ophelia Appleby

    On 12 May 2021, 16:08 Ophelia Appleby Kickstart Team commented:

    thanks for sharing this - very interesting and I will certainly be tuning in to see what the hype is (despite not being much for radio generally!)

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