Radio listening is on the rise now, more than ever. Recently published figures released by Radiocentre show that the COVID-19 crisis might be causing people to shut their doors, but they’re opening their hearts to radio broadcasting again.
If you’re stuck in lockdown with nothing to do but stare at the world and re-work your budget, you might be going a little stir-crazy.
Quarantine might be a good idea to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s having a very negative impact on our mental health.
With no morning commute, and no Friday afternoon drinks with friends, many of us are lost.
The good news? Radio can help us to rediscover our inner resilience and grit. Listening to our favourite songs and presenters gives us a sense of togetherness that we can’t get anywhere else.
The only question is, which are the best radio stations to listen to during lockdown?
Radio during the Coronavirus outbreak
Global and Bauer, two of the market leaders in the broadcasting world, released figures in the last month, showing a significant growth in the number of people listening to the radio.
Digital and online radio during the Coronavirus has seen perhaps the must significant surge. Meanwhile, the demand for local radio groups is increasing too.
Nation Broadcasting, which owns a network of local stations across the UK, as well as Nation Radio, also reported increases in listening of over 40%! What’s more, the latest results from Rajar found that radio streaming has increased by almost 6% this year.
Rather than listening to music apps or podcasts, people are turning to radio for a sense of comfort and human support.
According to new research published by Radiocentre, 38% of commercial listeners are now tuning in for at least an extra hour and 45 minutes every day.
Additionally, in general, we’re all listening to around 26 hours of radio each week.
Confidence in radio as a source of reliable news is one of the major reasons for customers tuning in right now, according to reports from top radio stations. 68% of people say that they trust news from the radio more than other sources.
That doesn’t mean that you want to listen to talk radio and news alone, however.
The top radio stations right now are likely to be the ones that give a blend of information and entertainment. In an age of enforced isolation, we’re all looking to radio to create the camaraderie and human connection that only radio can offer.
The best radio stations to listen to during lockdown
As the world becomes smaller and more worrisome, we’re all flocking to radio for a sense of community. Psychological studies prove that listening to music and human voices reduces anxiety.
The right songs affect our emotions, while broadcasts from other people experiencing the same discomfort that we are builds a sense of community.
Over the last few weeks, radio personalities have stepped up to the plate to do their part for society.
Lauren Laverne from Radio 6 has been encouraging people to dance around their homes with a playlist of pop songs and wedding disco music.
At the same time, Roman Kemp is constantly looking for ways to make people laugh with super tough quizzes, regular giveaways, and fantastic musical sessions.
Even former Love Island Contestant Dr. Alex George has opened a new segment on the radio to answer questions for those worried about the virus.
The top radio stations in the world right now are the ones that are delivering the right kind of joy, levity, and togetherness to keep us moving forward in this complicated time.
These stations aren’t ignoring the fact that there’s a pandemic going on. Instead, they’re acknowledging the hard work that essential employees are doing, sending messages of thanks to loved ones, and discussing difficult topics.
At the same time, we see a unique mix of new shows and storylines introduced into the radio environment, to deliver the sense of togetherness that we need most.
Although the best radio stations to listen to during lockdown will depend on exactly what you’re looking for, YouGov have compiled a list of the most popular options for the UK under lockdown.
- Heart Radio: Perfect for feel-good music and amazing presenters.
- BBC Radio 2: Packed full of inspiring music, top trending songs, and news.
- Capital Radio: For some of the top of the charts bangers, and some emotional storytelling.
- Heart 80s: There’s nothing more reassuring than a little nostalgia from the 80s.
- BBC Radio 1: For popular radio shows and news.
- Classic FM: For soothing classical sounds when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Smooth radio: Relaxing music and emotional stories.
- Magic Radio: Excellent for top songs throughout the years.
- Absolute Radio 80s: More top music from the 80s.
- Kiss FM: Great for music and talk radio.
Local radio stations worth listening to
It’s not just national radio stations getting extra attention during the Coronavirus pandemic. Local stations are gaining traction too.
For instance, here in London, we have tons of regional radio stations, where local DJs often feel like a member of the family.
Now that listeners have nowhere else to go, local radio stations are working just as hard as their national counterparts to keep us all entertained.
Rachael Bird, Soho Radio’s studio manager, has said that having a familiar voice in the home can feel like a lifeline in these times of trouble.
DJs are spinning through their own “self-isolation sessions” and discussing their experiences with the lockdown in a way that’s incredibly authentic and moving.
On NTS radio, the online station for Hackney, listeners can find a 24/7 collection of music and shows to keep them entertained.
At the same time, local jockeys are combining their shows with online publications where you can check out the “survival guides” of the people you used to hear on your morning commute.
What kind of stations are best right now?
When it comes to the top radio stations to listen to in a crisis situation, it’s important to think about your own unique needs. Different people will be soothed and reassured by different things.
When searching through national and local radio stations, you’ll need to focus on finding something that speaks to you.
One of our top tips is this: limit your news intake. Radio may well be one of the most reliable sources of news in the UK, but that doesn’t mean you should be binging facts.
Hiding your head in the sand might not be the ideal way to get through a pandemic but overwhelming yourself with news you can’t do anything about isn’t helpful too.
Already, the potential mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing therapists, psychologists, and medical experts to issue advice about keeping calm and stress-free.
However, the lockdown and quarantine situations could lead to some significant long-term effects if we’re not careful. Constantly listening to news that keeps you up to date on the latest death toll isn’t good for anyone’s mental health.
Instead, it might be best to build your radio listening schedule in a way that’s similar to the programming on your favourite channels.
You’ll notice that Heart and Capital aren’t constantly pushing out news updates, although they do keep their listeners informed.
Instead, these channels offer a regular mix of upbeat music, relaxing songs, and insightful shows.
Make your own lockdown playlist
Perhaps the ideal way to make the most of your radio experience during this lockdown scenario, is to create a list of the best radio stations to listen to during lockdown, that are designed to suit different moods.
Maybe you’ll start your morning with something lighthearted and fun, like BBC2 or Capital FM.
As the day continues and you begin to worry about things like family and budgeting, you can switch to Heart or Smooth, for more relaxing and uplifting beats.
Give yourself a blend of different musical styles and shows to listen to, based on your emotions in any given movement.
As long as the broadcasts keep airing, there’ll be no shortage of channels to keep you entertained. The best thing you can do is make the most of that fact.
Which channels will you be listening to most during this unusual time? Let us know on social media, or in the comments.
Remember, you can always keep yourself entertained right here at Radio Fidelity too!
Radio Fidelity: For the love of radio.