From video calling guides to coronavirus campaigns, radio stations adapt to Covid-19

Posted on: April 1, 2020 by Claire Meadows

The coronavirus pandemic has seen radio stations adapt their schedules to provide dedicated coverage with new initiatives launched and record online listening figures being reported, it has emerged.

According to RadioToday, some stations have reported double-digit increases in online listening figures amid the coronavirus pandemic and many stations have adapted their schedules with podcasts launched, campaigns announced and dedicated-coverage.

Media group Global, which owns stations such as Heart, Capital and LBC, said digital radio reach was up 15 per cent between 9 and 17 March, while listening hours rose nine per cent. LBC displayed the most notable growth, with its daily reach growing 43% and listening hours increasing 17%. LBC has included a Coronavirus Daily Update with Nick Ferrari into its breakfast schedule with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary having appeared on the programme in the past few days.

Bauer, which broadcasts stations including Kiss, Absolute Radio, and Magic, said it had also seen increased traffic with a record daily reach for Bauer Radio streaming on Friday March 20.Over the weekend of 21-22 March, Bauer saw its average daily reach and average daily hours increase by 15% and 13%, respectively.

Bauer had encouraged all listeners to take part in the #ClapForOurCarers campaign on Thursday 26 March with all its radio brands joining in with the applause at 8pm. In response to the impact of Covid-19 on local communities, the Hits Radio Network has been promoting Bauer Media’s Cash for Kids with an urgent new appeal to help families in the UK who need it most. Relying on donations from listeners and locals, the Cash for Kids Appeal will build a fund from which grants will help families help cope, such as covering basic essentials including food & heating.  

BBC Local Radio has also seen an increase in listeners across its stations. The BBC’s radio schedules have been adapted as the spread of Covid-19 continues to change how people work. Changes to the schedules of Radio 1, 6 Music and Radio 4 have been implemented to ensure coronavirus coverage.

The BBC is providing dedicated Coronavirus coverage across its platforms and the corporation said that more than 100,000 had contacted its Local Radio coronavirus helpline since it was set up two weeks ago.

The Make a Difference campaign was launched to link up those in need of help with those who can provide it.

BBC radio stations have also been providing individual coronavirus help and assistance across stations.

BBC Essex has responded to calls for listeners unable to video call friends and family by providing step by step guides during broadcasts as well as providing a leaflet guide to help those in need.