How are radio stations reacting to the state of emergency? We checked this in Italy, the first country the pandemic spread to in Europe. On March 16, five days after the government issued a decree advising the population to restrict their movements, we visited all the active websites of the 1,094 radio stations transmitting on FM, the 273 on Dab and the 12 on medium wave on the FMLIST and FMSCAN. A hundred or so sites gave wide coverage to the exceptional circumstances of the situation. Among the networks and the superstations (those covering multiple regions), only Dimensione Suono Roma gave good coverage to the Government’s message. Their home page contains the hashtag #stamoseneacasa ( in Roman dialect advising everyone to stay at home).
More active local radio stations
Diverse approaches by local and community radio stations: Radio C1 in Pescara sends a message of hope, Radio Punto Nuovo in Naples interviews a radio presenter from Radio Zona Rossa, the Radio Codogna programme on air since February 23. They broadcast two daily news programmes covering the spread of the virus in the town, which following the Chinese approach, was one of the first to be locked down. Radio Nuova Macerata focuses on useful information such as free grocery delivery services which are beneficial for the elderly so they are not obliged to leave their homes and risk contagion.
The sacred and the profane in Puglia
There is no shortage of curiosities: Radio Montecalvo, a broadcasting station in Foggia announces a prayer to Padre Pio for protection against the coronavirus. On the contrary, Radio Made in Italy in Bari draws particular attention to their special offer regarding the red light portal Porno Hub, giving free access to the premium services in order to ….. lighten quarantine.
Luckily someone thinks about children
With the school closures and parents having to control their hyperactive smaller children, Radio Millennium has come up with a highly appreciated idea for children by broadcasting fairy tales, recorded by the theatre company Teatro del Cerchio in Parma. However focusing on children is not an Italian prerogative. In Germany, for example, the regional radio stations NDR and SWR have increased their numbers of educational programmes for the young.