Specially commissioned programming produced as part of BAI Sound and Vision Covid 19 broadcast funding has received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Beat was one of several independent radio stations around the country which was successful in securing €70,000 in funding under the bespoke scheme from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, to curate Covid 19 related content. The aim of the scheme was to help listeners better understand the pandemic and provide support to citizens on how best to navigate life in these unprecedented times.
Market-leading radio station Beat 102-103 committed to producing six different projects under the BAI fund. These included:
- A spotlight series on “Minding Yourself” produced by Beat newcomer and now multi award-nominated Michelle Heffernan. Each day, for one week, Michelle spoke to health professionals and provided practical tips for listeners to help with their mental health.
- Heroes Aid Live: Frontline Workers took centre stage in these multi-platform Infomercials presented by Beat, i-radio and Red FM. These formed parts of an innovative campaign and a “first” for the radio sector in Ireland, where three radio stations not owned by the same company, collaborated on a unique fundraising initiative.
- Embracing Change: “Stay Alive”; “Stay Connected”; “Stay Educated”; & “Stay Creative” were multiplatform programmes that shared real-life stories in people the South East. In the first series, the focus was on highlighting that everyone needed to play their part to protect those most vulnerable among us. The second phase focused on educators who had adapted their services, to an online offering. Subsequent phases demonstrated how people across the region were remaining connected and using creativity for positive escapism during Covid 19.
- “Beat The Boredom” –this weekly feature devised by Beat at Work presenter Dave Cronin brought a new twist to the regular “what’s on” slot on radio. With nobody leaving their houses, Dave came up with some novel entertainment at home ideas, to inspire our listeners.
- The station’s two flagship talk programmes are Beat Breakfast which begins each weekday morning at 06.50 and The Sunday Grill which airs every Sunday morning from 10 am. Every week, both shows dedicated sections of their programmes to either raising awareness on a specific Covid 19 related health issue or they also looked at the other end of the spectrum by exploring the lighter side of life during Covid 19 e.g they discussed how listeners could safely continue to date during a pandemic!
- Life after the LC: when Leaving Cert 2020 was cancelled, we knew thousands of students across the region would need support as they navigated unchartered waters into the next chapter of their life; after coming through some of the most stressful months of their existence to date. Every night on The Takeover, Debbie Ridgard caught up with Beat’s LC ambassadors from across the five counties. She also spoke to experts along the way to provide crucial professional advice to students on getting to college, sorting accommodation, providing help with finances and other important topics.
Head of Station Sound Niall Power has paid tribute to the Beat content team “ I’ve genuinely never been prouder of my colleagues, whose response to the extraordinary challenges of 2020 has been outstanding. They knew they had an important role to play in keeping our 159,000 weekly listeners and over half a million social followers both informed and entertained. Everyone just rowed in together and produced such a wealth of meaningful content that helped our listeners in practical ways to cope with life in a pandemic.”
At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to describe what Beat meant to them right now and the responses were heart-warming. They included:
- “it’s a real comfort to hear relevant information surrounding these times and also a good distraction which is needed at times too”
- “it kept me sane”
- “turning on the radio instantly cheered me up after a long 13-hour shift”
The final word goes to another nurse who wrote: “I’m a health care worker, thank you for your work. You are also essential”.
Beat Boss Gabrielle Cummins has thanked the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for providing this much-needed funding to stations “when the pandemic first hit, most radio stations saw their revenue levels slashed by 40% or more but they still had thousands of listeners who needed them to deliver quality content more than ever before. This fund ensured stations did not let their audiences down. As we head into a new year with continued uncertainty for businesses, we at Beat would welcome the opportunity to apply for similar funding in 2021 so hopefully, a new round will be forthcoming from the BAI in the coming months.”