Radio saved me during lockdown

The pandemic has helped loneliness mutate into a pandemic of its own. Isolating has become a normalised part of our lives, especially with the aftermath of the dreaded ping looming around all of us. We have become used to not seeing those we care about. Many have grown used to the loneliness that isolating brings. But is there an opportunity to ease this loneliness? We are surrounded by negativity. It can be overwhelming. Yet, it is so important to cling onto any form of positivity we can. Sometimes this positive influence is hiding in places we may not think to look. 

I remember Christmas last year. All of my friends had gone home to their families yet I was unable to. I remember waking to a silence which filled the room and stuck. There were no “good morning”, no one asking “how did you sleep?”- just quietness. Within those weeks I understood loneliness in a completely different way. My friends and family were out of reach, all I had was myself and my own thoughts, thoughts that became more and more negative as the time passed and I spent more time on my own. I have always been quite fond of my own company. After all, I have known myself since I was a baby, so my assumption was that it would be okay. Yet I have found that the unattainable nature of companionship in lockdown turns your own company into something a bit more ominous. I have realised there is only so much of my own company I can handle. Yet, I soon discovered voices in a place where before there was only my own. In fact, I found a whole group of people who would speak to me throughout the day, sharing stories and music. I had discovered just how much I needed the radio.

Keeping active was intensely helpful when I spent most of my days stuck inside. Keeping physically fit helped keep me going through lockdown. Personally I prefer to run with someone. Running with someone keeps me distracted, it takes away my tiredness. However, my running partner had gone home to her family, therefore, I had to find companionship through other means. I needed ways to make my one allowed outdoor exercise last more than ten minutes. Radio is where I landed; and it was a very smooth landing. Presenters became like friends who spoke to me everyday. On my runs Greg James from Radio One talked to me and gave me something to focus on: he provided music which boosted my energy. The radio helped me through an activity which reduced my lockdown blues. His morning shows helped bring a smile to my face when positivity had been so hard to find.

After my runs I had a day within the confines of my house awaiting me. Yet this seemed far less gloomy when I excitedly awaited the Radio Six presenters Shaun Keaveny at one, then Steve Lamacq at four. I couldn’t go out on the weekends, but I had Craig Charles’ ‘Funk and Soul Show’ to look forward to. I felt like part of a community. To quote one of the many songs I have discovered on the radio, “We’re isolated, but we’re connected, because we are one”- this has been the experience of the radio for me. It helped me discover connection and contact when on the surface it seemed impossible.

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Ollie Heginbotham

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May 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on L.Hargreaves@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.