Amidst a cost of living crisis and pandemic, local radio stations are holding our hands

When people need company the most, local radio is always there.

“We are here to be there for people and that’s the most important thing we can do”, the Director of Paisley FM told me on my first day volunteering at the station.

At the time this was said to me I was a student completing a masters in journalism with the intention of getting a job in the industry.

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I am, therefore, not going to be dishonest and tell you this heartwarming thought was what compelled me to begin my time at the station.

Local radio is there for people when they need it most.

What I am going to say, however, is that these words, spoken by Norman Ross, have never left me and have become all the more meaningful to me.

First there was the pandemic. Now, as we continue to overcome this, there is the cost of living crisis, driving people into poverty and isolation.

Currently, around 100,000 older people in Scotland feel lonely all or most of the time. This figure amongst the elderly is shocking and now almost everyone is understanding that loneliness all the more.

Over the phone at the weekend, Professor Linda Bauld told me working from home is one of the most effective measures in dealing with the virus.

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It is no surprise, therefore, that we have all reverted into our singular cocoons of safety and protection.

Whether wrapped up in blankets as we continue to get positive lateral flows tests or fearful of going out and spending money, most of us have become the victims of isolation.

Yet my figurative light at the end of this eerily quiet tunnel has been found in radio frequencies and a clunky microphone purchased online.

Every week, I sit at my desk and I talk into this equipment. I wish everyone is having a nice day, I talk about recent songs and news. I even say what I think about instant soup versus fresh soup and random thoughts that pop into my head.

Local radio has been there for me in a way I never knew it could be in recent days.

When I am feeling alone and stressed, it has my back and I hope I have been there for someone else too.

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