What it’s Like to Broadcast a Radio Show During the Outbreak
While many coworkers and colleagues are safely at home, some local broadcasters must continue to work in close quarters during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It's a strange combination of stress, fear and honor that gets me through each morning. As the host of The Boris & Robyn Show on 101.5 WPDH, I've been broadcasting live every morning as the pandemic continues to rage through our area. Being a silly morning show host isn't usually looked at as that important of a job, but when vital information needs to get out to the community and people desperately need some relief from their fears, our ridiculous show has suddenly become a little more important to many listeners.
For that reason, a limited staff of on-air personalities continue to meet in the studio every morning, doing our best to remain positive while taking unprecedented precautions to broadcast to the public.
Each morning starts with a thorough cleaning of the studio. For ten minutes every knob, button, keyboard, mouse and microphone is meticulously sanitized. And then the telephone, chair, tables and anything else that we might touch are also wiped down Just this week we used our very last Clorox wipe, so now a homemade wipe with either hand sanitizer or virus-killing cleaner is what we're using to keep everything safe.
After the equipment is clean, we then need to worry about each other. Our team of broadcasters feel a responsibility to take extra precautions in our personal lives, so as not to put each other at risk. But still, the danger is real. So social distancing is observed as much as possible, even in our tiny studio.
You may have seen radio personnel on social media broadcasting from their homes, smiling in their living rooms while wearing pajamas during their show. Unfortunately, for us, that's not an option. We don't have expensive home studios like Ryan Seacrest, and our local radio station isn't as technologically advanced as many big-city studios. So we have no choice but to wake up early, say goodbye to our families and come to the studio every morning.
Adding to the stress of being at risk for COVID-19, broadcasting a show during the outbreak is not business as usual. In-studio guests are now routed through the phone or computer, adding extra challenges and technical difficulties. Coworkers who aren't coming into work are now depending on air personalities to take on additional responsibilities. And riding the line between entertainment, compassion and hard news is something there's just no playbook for.
While it's certainly the most stressful time I've ever experienced in my radio career, it's also one of the most invigorating. I feel such a strong connection with our listeners, who have been sharing their gratitude and support during this whole experience. Being able to connect the public with each other and give a semblance of normalcy during this time is a responsibility all of us take very seriously. And by the number of calls, texts and social media posts our show receives every morning, it's nice to know that the work we're doing is appreciated by our loyal listeners.
In the midst of all of this, I'm constantly thinking about the doctors and nurses on the front lines. If putting on a silly radio show like this is this stressful, I can't even fathom how these heroes get up every morning and report to the front lines. We are all in debt to these brave men and women, as well as the countless essential employees who are out in the public every day to keep the Hudson Valley moving. Grocery store workers, sanitation workers, postal workers and more are all putting on a brave face and getting the job done.
It's easy to say that we're all in this together, but I am seeing first hand that this is true. The Hudson Valley is a very special place in both good and bad times, and we're proud to be just a small part of it.
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