The Local Radio Day initiative is back to celebrate all that is good about the sector on Monday 12th October 2020.
Whilst there are significantly fewer local radio stations operating than this time last year, the day will continue to highlight the value local radio brings to listeners and communities.
BBC local stations are taking part along with community and commercial services, and the day is supported by The Radio Academy, Community Media Association, Community Radio Awards, the Local Radio Alliance and the BBC.
This year’s theme is ‘Communities making waves: turning the tide on isolation’.
Local Radio Alliance was founded by Dom Chambers to explore how local radio can strengthen communities and help improve lives. Dom told RadioToday: “Audiences have been drawn to those locally trusted voices offering both the information we need to hear as well as diverting us with great entertainment and music choices.
“With the extraordinary year we have been having it is inevitable that Local Radio Day is about communities taking action. We want this day to be a celebration of those heroes and organisations that stepped up in a national crisis to help their fellow people.
“In sharing these stories, I am sure shows will find time to mention those hundreds of volunteers, engineers and staff that made sure the local airwaves were full of news, information and entertainment as lockdown kicked in.”
With restrictions in many parts of the country, the emphasis for this year will be more around broadcast content than physically getting out into the community.
BBC Local Radio has been running the Make a Difference feature across all their stations since the start of lockdown. BBC Sussex and Surrey is taking this further for Local Radio Day with their Pledge to Talk campaign.
Editor Mark Carter says, “We’re going to be asking our audiences to make a pledge to talk to someone who they haven’t spoken to in a while or at all – with the aim of checking in on how they are. So, for example, someone might pledge to talk to a family member who’s just gone back to Uni and are finding it hard.
“People can make their pledges by calling BBC Sussex and Surrey or logging them on the station websites. This will run throughout the day on 12th.
Jeff Martin at Erewash Sound in Derbyshire spent years campaigning to have a local radio station to help give the area a distinctive voice. On Local Radio Day the station will be turning on a second transmitter which will help build their local audience.
Vijay Umrao runs the multilingual radio station EAVA FM. He said: “EAVA FM is supporting Local Radio Day because we believe grassroots programmes are the future of a healthy society for broadcasters and listeners.”
Maxine Stride, Director at Local Radio Alliance said, “Whilst COVID restrictions have meant that the scope for local broadcasters to get out into the communities is limited, the pandemic has also highlighted alternative ways to stay connected – including social media.
“People of all ages have embraced technology as a way to reduce isolation and join their community in conversation, so there’s never been a better time to get involved across socials.
“It’s an impactful tool both for the radio industry and its listeners.”
Local Radio Alliance has released a free resource pack to everybody registered through localradioday.co.uk. The pack includes inspiration for participation, social media post templates, audio assets and more. Registrations are welcomed right up to the day. Followers can use #LocalRadioDay to join in the conversation as well as following Local Radio Day on Facebook and Twitter.