While we are in the midst of a pandemic that has affected the whole world, it’s important to pay attention to the good things that are happening around you.
As our new Radio Bites feature has been showing, radio is proven to lift moods and provide companionship, as well as being a trusted source of news. Many stations are producing special content to reflect the times we’re in, while others are keeping news to the top of the hour and focusing on providing entertainment to distract and comfort us.
As part of our coronavirus hub, Radiocentre is collecting good news and the best content from around the industry, in celebration of what radio can really do for the nation.
You can also read more about how commercial radio has responded to the pandemic in our new report, Commercial Radio: A force for good.
The Week in Radio
Every Friday, we select five stand-out moments from the last seven days in commercial radio. Some are related to the COVID-19 outbreak; others are just examples of brilliant broadcasting continuing to air during this strange time. Check out our previous editions:
- 18 September: Featuring Kate Garraway’s return to Smooth, the Hometime Conker Championships 2020 on Absolute Radio, The Offside Rule on JACK Radio, a timely Rap Roulette from Fleur East on the new Rule of 6 on Hits Radio, and Michael McIntyre speaking to the Capital FM Breakfast team.
- 11 September: With the new Call the Cabinet phone-in on LBC, an important discussion about the BLM Diversity performance on the KISS Breakfast show, a challenge to connect with every country in the world on JACKfm, Scala Radio’s new youthful series, Sunday Night Scala in the Youth Orchestra, and a scoop on the return of SMTV on Radio X.
- 4 September: Including a shout-out to the kids and teachers going back to school on Heart, the biggest Carnival celebration across the KISS network, kmfm’s new game to find out listeners’ duvet thickness, an interview with jazz-funk and acid jazz pioneer Bluey on Jazz FM, and Gold Radio’s Hall of Fame Top 300.
- 28 August: Celebrating the launch of Hits Radio Pride with Years & Years’ Olly Alexander, getting etiquette tips to make the most out of Eat Out To Help Out on Capital, enjoying the festival spirit with XS Manchester BreakFEST, a great interview with Tim McGraw on Smooth Country, and Magic Radio Book Club’s latest ‘What Inspired Me’ with Anthony Horowitz.
- 21 August: Including a hypothetical Mount Rockmore on Radio X, the final interview of ‘Monty Panesar In Lockdown With’ on Asian FX, a Lockdown Quiz with Little Mix on Heart, Bryan Cranston interviewed on Absolute Radio, a first-time caller on KISS FM with a hilarious theory about who Perri sounds like and birthday celebrations for Danny Mylo at Pulse.
- 14 August: With an animal-based fake news quiz on Capital, a brilliant last-minute interview crashing on Jazz FM, Union JACK Radio’s hunt for the best local beer garden, celebrating the Class of 2020 on Hits Radio, and Moira Stuart’s new series on Classic FM.
- 7 August: Featuring the first week of KISS FM’s new breakfast show with Jordan & Perri, limited edition branded masks for The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X, a wonderful bit of help to a listener with Dave Berry’s #UnlockYourLockdown on Absolute Radio, a tasty Apprentice challenge on XS Manchester, and a fun interview with Olympian Greg Rutherford offering tips for staycationing parents on Heart.
- 31 July: Containing the cutest caller ever phoning in to speak to James O’Brien on LBC, the best walk-on music you could have in real life on Scala Radio, a bit of a disaster on Union JACK, a special Packed Lunch on Magic Radio presented by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and Angie Greaves’ Love Letters on Smooth Radio.
- 24 July: Featuring a decade of One Direction on Capital, Fun Kids’ new Activity Quest podcast with fun things to do for all the family, Hits Radio getting personal with Kylie Minogue, Asian FX speaking to R&B artist Jay Sean, and live performances as part of London Mozart Players and Classic FM’s ‘LMP Live!’
- 17 July: With a whip-round to help a listener who’s having a difficult time on Radio X, an insightful and inspiring new series on classical music from around the world on Scala Radio, Panjab Radio and other Asian stations uniting for a special interview series, starting with comedian Paul Chowdhry, Bob Geldof talking all about Live Aid on its 35th anniversary on Absolute Radio, and an incredibly emotional competition win on Heart.
- 10 July: Including actor Martin Freeman talking all things jazz on Jazz FM, Smooth Radio’s Kate Garraway speaking to James O’Brien on LBC in an emotional interview about her husband’s battle with coronavirus, the XS Manchester Breakfast hosts pretending the floor is lava in their studio, Hits Radio UK’s Fleur East on her new reality TV podcast, and artist interviews galore on Capital Xtra ahead of Wireless Connect.
- 3 July: Containing a Pride celebration with Baga Chipz on KISS FM, a call to look after your mental health on Radio X, the launch of Times Radio, a restaurant vying to be one of the first to pull a pint as establishments reopen on Free Radio, and a show to fill the sports and/or comedy gap in your life on Union JACK Radio.
- 26 June: Celebrating temporary pop-up station, Magic Eurosong (a partnership between Netflix and Magic), a special kind of honeymoon package on Capital FM, Radio Exe’s new podcast series, Devon Discussion, and its first episode on Black Lives Matter, Windrush Day with Angie Greaves on Smooth Radio, and Heart’s final NHS hero, Dr Alex Aldren the opera singer.
- June 19: Highlighting the emergency appeal from Global’s Make Some Noise, with Roman Kemp’s dad Martin Kemp embarrassing him on the Mega Hard Super Quiz on Capital FM, and the (virtual) return of the Chris Moyles Pubcast on Radio X, as well as a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire with Swarzy on KISS FM, an inspiring interview with Racing Driver and Disabled Motoring UK Ambassador Nicolas Hamilton on Fun Kids‘ Sports Squad, and a full weekend of great music with Isle of Wight Festival at Home on Absolute Radio.
- June 12: Featuring Keir Starmer’s first phone-in show on LBC, an insightful documentary on classical music in lockdown on Scala Radio, Blossoms being interviewed about their legacy on XS Manchester, virtual graduations with some very special speakers on KISS FM, and cocktail making contests to find the fastest mixologists in the region on Heart North East.
- June 5: A standalone edition of The Week in Radio, focusing on how radio has covered the Black Lives Matter movement and the news of George Floyd’s death and ensuing protests in the last week, with just five examples of personal moments, interviews and regular segments from KISS FM, Capital FM, BBC Radio 1, Capital XTRA and Hits Radio that are worth listening to again.
- May 29: With His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales appearing in a two-part special on Classic FM, a weekend of great dance music in KISS Ibiza, a poignant poem recital recognising the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack by the XS Manchester family, some positive stories from the Metro Radio and TFM Radio news team, and an unexpected interview for Alan Carr on Radio X.
- May 22: Including the Mental Health Minute across UK radio, Fleur East’s Rap Roulette on Hits Radio clearing up the new lockdown rules, Capital’s Best of Summertime Ball, Theo Usherwood visiting an intensive care unit on LBC, Absolute Radio presenters opening up for Mental Health Awareness Week, the final edition of 60 Second Support and a very special clip, heard at Tuning In Livestream, that rounds up some of commercial radio’s best moments during the pandemic.
- May 15: Containing pop star Katy Perry on Capital FM ahead of the Best Of Capital’s Summertime Ball, a new series on Scala Radio all about musicals, the Humans of XS Manchester podcast and an interview with Jonny Brown, KISS FM presenters talking honestly about how they’re coping with lockdown and offering tips to get through it together, and the cutest two-year-old on Heart who likes dressing up as key workers.
- May 7: Celebrating VE Day with pop-up station Absolute Radio 40s, plus Isle of Wight Radio’s appearance at Downing Street, the heart-pounding conclusion of Heart’s Make Me A Millionaire competition, classic team banter in The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X, and digital dating advice on Hits Radio.
- May 1: Highlighting a (virtual) wedding for NHS workers Louise and Steffan planned and livestreamed by JACKfm, Rachel Johnson’s first show as an LBC presenter paying tribute to the nurses who helped her brother (the Prime Minister), Hits Radio’s heroic efforts to recognise the incredible people doing their bit in the pandemic, with a month of #HeroHour, More Radio’s 24-hour name change to pay tribute to Colonel Tom Moore on his 100th birthday, and a heartfelt yet humorous goodbye from the XS Manchester team as presenter Adam Brown moves on.
- April 24: Featuring a very new couple who found themselves moving in together a little earlier than planned on Capital FM, Scala Radio’s celebration of World Book Night with readings from some top guests, special gigs to raise money for charity on XS Manchester, a new sports show, Sports Squad, on Fun Kids, and The Breeze’s new special audio to recognise the weekly clap for key workers.
- April 17: With a heart-warming interview on LBC with Captain Tom Moore, more than 100 DJs appearing for KISSFest over the Easter weekend, a kmfm listener sharing her story of appearing on a conference call in a wedding dress, a Kaiser Chiefs hit re-written for Radio X, and hair tips on Scala Radio’s Castaway Clinic.
- April 9: Including a Time to Listen special with CALM CEO Simon Gunning on Absolute Radio, a new piece of music for listeners to create their own versions of from Classic FM’s Composer in Residence Debbie Wiseman, ‘Beat The Teacher’ with Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston on Heart, Matt Lucas joining the Breakfast team on Hits Radio to spread the word about FeedNHS and his new charity single, and educational activities for kids created by teachers from Radio Blogging.
- April 3: Containing Jazz FM’s new show with Marcus Brigstocke which shows off the collaborations between artists, pop icon Harry Styles talking about break with Roman Kemp and Sian Welby on Capital Breakfast, the launch of The Wellness Hour on JACK Radio, Home Shows kicking off with Foo Fighters at Etihad Stadium in 2018 on Radio X, and Magic Radio’s own Ronan Keating calling in to the Breakfast show to update everyone on the birth of his daughter.
- 27 March: Highlighting LBC’s Political Editor Theo Usherwood’s call to James O’Brien from hospital after a week of care, JACKfm’s Jack It Inn virtual pub, The Magic Radio Book Club’s #ShelfIsolation sharing an intimate look at the bookshelves of presenters and authors alike, a new podcast from Fun Kids called Stuck at Home, for kids stuck at home, and a montage of coverage for the NHS mass applause across commercial radio.
- 20 March: Featuring a brilliant joke from an eight-year-old on Dave Berry’s Good Deed Register on Absolute Radio, Heart’s Make Me A Millionaire competition, a timely Rap Roulette from Fleur East on Hits Radio to remind us all to wash our hands, XS Manchester’s Sophie Sveinsson starting a global band to cover Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’ and Chris Moyles and his team on Radio X reassuring listeners with an honest discussion about how things are changing.
More positive stories
We are amplifying the work that commercial radio stations and others are doing to help during the pandemic online and across social media. There’s a huge amount of amazing work being undertaken by stations across the country. Below are just a few stories from our own website and further afield that showcase how so many broadcasters and radio execs are doing their part:
- Global’s Make Some Noise Emergency Appeal will raise money for those hit hardest by coronavirus in our communities
- “Show You’re Listening” encourages those working full time in radio and audio to donate a show fee, a day’s pay, or as much they can afford, to help less fortunate colleagues and peers throughout the UK
Panjab Radio’s Managing Director, Surjit Singh Ghuman MBE, has been branded a “hero” by a listener in a feature published in the Metro, for his hard work and support to the elderly during the crisis
- JACK FM supports local businesses and charities with £100,000 advertising fund
- Sunrise Radio gets behind Barnardo’s Crisis Appeal with a donation of free airtime
- Cash For Kids coronavirus appeal raises over £1million
- See how Nation Radio Wales is keeping nurses’ spirits up in a full Covid ward with music and shout outs
- Audio and Radio Emergency Fund to help those in the radio and audio sector who are facing hardship because of the coronavirus crisis
A new music radio prep service created by consultant Francis Currie and presenter Bam, Smash Prep, has launched for free for at least the next three months
- Heart’s special podcast, A Kids Guide To Coronavirus With Dr Ranj sees Dr Ranj answer a bunch of questions posed by some very inquisitive young listeners
- Isle of Wight Radio’s Hall Of Heroes pulls together nominations and shout outs from their Breakfast Show to some of the incredible people who have been making a huge difference during the pandemic
- Wave FM’s Community Hub shines a spotlight on the services offered by local organisations, businesses and individuals
- Listen: Radio industry united to thank the NHS with mass applause
- Health Radio Information offers free news updates to stations
- Commercial radio amplifies NHS workers mass applause initiative
- Hits Radio Network launches Cash for Kids appeal in response to coronavirus
- Find out how Silk 106.9 in Cheshire is giving national news a local angle by speaking to interviewees like Officer Pattison
- BBC Local Radio teams up with manufacturers, retailers and loneliness charity to give away DAB radios to vulnerable over-70s
- Simon Jupp MP is back on air at Radio Exe
Stay in touch
We want to support our members and the wider radio industry during these difficult times by celebrating their hard work. Please let us know if you are working on any initiatives around coronavirus or have a segment or clip that we might be able to include in our weekly round-up.