When it’s time to get serious, Radio Matters
Radio connects with its communities in many different ways. It updates listeners on the local news, weather, what’s happening around town, and very often makes them laugh. But Radio also makes its audience think – and respond – to some of today’s most serious issues.
The problem of domestic abuse, and raising awareness of the crime and its victims, was the recent focus of radio professionals in the U.S. as well as Great Britain.
In Crystal Lake, IL, WZSR-FM/Star 105.5 conducted an all-day radiothon, combined with a strong on-air push, to help support Turning Point, an agency dedicated to helping stop domestic violence against women and children. It marked the fourth year in a row that WZSR-FM had broadcast live at Take a Stand for Turning Point.
All of the station’s daytime personalities appeared at the event, with elected state officials and members of the law enforcement community joining the list of on-air guests who discussed the importance of Turning Point. McHenry County ER nurses also talked about their experiences with domestic violence, while actual victims of domestic abuse shared their experiences and how Turning Point had helped them.
Throughout Take a Stand for Turning Point, WZSR-FM staffers collected used clothing, blankets, shoes, etc., as well as monetary donations, and helped coordinate a number of enjoyable family events that included live music and a talent show.
Meanwhile, in Great Britain, The Archers, featured on the BBC, is the world’s longest-running radio soap opera. Set in the fictional English village of Ambridge, generations of listeners have followed the program since it debuted in 1950. A recent plotline recounted the tumultuous relationship between the husband/wife main characters, focusing on mental and physical abuse.
The program has sparked a national conversation about domestic violence, inspiring one listener to set up a fundraising page to raise money for Refuge, the country’s largest provider of specialist services for women and children escaping domestic violence. The JustGiving page has generated more than £159,000 ($211,809) since its creation in February.
As well as raising funds, the program has done wonders for raising awareness about domestic violence and is cited as the reason for a 17% increase in calls to Britain’s national domestic violence helpline, which is run jointly by Women’s Aid and Refuge.
“The Archers has been incredibly successful in raising awareness of domestic abuse and coercive control,” Polly Neate, CEO of the Women’s Aid charity, told TIME magazine.
To read the entire article in TIME, click here.