25 December 2011

Christmas Day - Reflective Chat

It's Christmas Day. It's quiet, mild for the time of year, and raining. I'm just home from presenting my Christmas radio show on 103FM.

As a chicken roasts in the oven and I'm about to tuck into a snack of cheese, biscuits and strawberries, I reflect how lucky and thankful I am to have a roof over my head and plenty to eat.

For one reason or another many people around the world have been deprived of life's essentials this year, none more so than in Somalia and the neighbouring drought-hit countries of East Africa.

Of all my activities in the past 12 months I'm proudest of what my broadcaster colleagues and I achieved on 30 July during our day-long transmission to raise awareness of the famine in the Horn of Africa, a campaign linking 103FM with the Disasters Emergency Committee, which we called 103DEC.

It was no easy matter persuading either the radio station managers or the Disasters Emergency Committee that local radio had the reach and audience to raise funds, which we as a station weren't able to take on directly. But our enthusiasm and the obvious need couldn't in the end be denied and on the day itself everyone associated with 103 was firmly on board.

We'll never know how much money our day's broadcasting raised although our listener numbers, phone calls, emails and Internet take-up were all substantially increased from usual Saturday figures and we can only hope that those who committed to give money to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal actually did so.

It's quite something that a small radio station, albeit with a substantial geographical reach and listenership, is willing to donate an entire day's output for the greater good of an emergency taking place not just beyond our own East Midlands region but outwith the UK. 

It proves that local radio, so often accused of leaving larger issues to terrestrial broadcasters, is able to construct high quality, meaningful content that reflects the concerns of its audience even when those concerns are bigger, international, humanitarian issues. 

I believe that's something in which everyone involved can be justifiably proud. 

Wishing you good things this Christmas and always. 
Mitch x

For the full 103DEC story visit www.103dec.blogspot.com
Up to date images from East Africa by the BBC available here.

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