Community Stations Share COVID Stories

Annual Grassroots Radio Conference addresses the pandemic’s impact across community radio in the USA.

Flash back to fall 2019 at a community station abuzz with activity. A DJ is in the studio, spinning records, while volunteers socialize, work in production studios and assemble donor gift packages. Training is underway for new recruits and anticipation is high for a co-promoted concert at a nearby venue. Hugs are exchanged along with “hellos” and “goodbyes.”

For much of 2020 most of these activities were just a memory, as stations adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does community radio look like when the community isn’t necessarily allowed inside the station? How are stations that pride themselves on 24/7 live in-studio DJs doing radio when they must restrict access to their buildings? And how are volunteer-reliant stations adjusting to socially distanced engagement?

The Grassroots Radio Conference confronted these questions in October. Held virtually, the event was hosted by ARTxFM, otherwise known as WXOX(LP) in Louisville, Ky.

See their results here: