top of page

Radio in the age of Coronavirus

The subject on the minds of every citizen of the world this week is the Coronavirus – how does it affect me, what should I do about it, what will happen next? The questions just pile up.

The real-time feedback loops of digital social media channels are already feeding a fear loop of misinformation and mistrust. Political actors climb into these discussions to achieve their own agendas, further dividing us – for example, right-wing politicians in the United States are now referring to it as the “Wuhan Flu”, a very deliberate “othering” that will create issues of social cohesion and effective crisis management that will affect all humans, not just those of a particular class or political stripe.

To deal with this crisis, we will be falling back on our communities and our ability to support and sustain our community members through this disruption.

While there is a lot of focus on the role of social media on the response to the first global crisis rooted in our common humanity to take place in the digital era, there are elements of this crisis that elevate a very traditional medium to centre stage at a time like this.

Not because of the technology but because of the human dynamics.

As a human-centred medium, radio has been a high trust, high community medium ever since inception. Time and again, in times of crisis, radio has risen as the preferred, trusted and resilient medium of information distribution to citizens.

During the coming hunger for trusted information and community support and resilience, because of its re