(By Mike McVay) March 11th is the one-year anniversary of the day that the World Health Organization announced that the Coronavirus was officially a pandemic. March 13th marks one-year since America shutdown. Since then, we’ve learned that we should stand six feet apart, wear a mask in public, and continually use hand sanitizer. Not all of us apply those rules to everyday life, but we should. Most of us started working from home, broadcasting from closets, making sales calls via video, and spending time calling advertisers to reassure them that we’d support them if they’d support us and continue to advertise.
We’ve learned to “do radio” while home schooling children, visiting with our elderly relatives on-line, and trying to quiet our pets during the most important of our virtual meetings. Bedrooms became offices, hair styles went out of style, and getting dressed up for work meant wearing what was previously referred to as business casual or “going out” clothes.
These two dates, March 11th and 13th are worthy of noting on the air. It’s a time for reflection. There are many who have lost loved ones, who have been separated from family and friends for over a year, and some have lost their jobs. For many their lives will never be the same.
The total number of deaths in the USA is now over 500,000. Let that sink in for a moment. More than half a million Americans have died because of the Coronavirus. The daily average at this moment had declined to approximately 1,750 a day. To many these are simply numbers. To some these numbers represent names.
It’s difficult to know if the lives lost will be remembered annually, at some future point with a government acknowledged holiday, or if it will be like 9-11 when many remember the details of the terrorist attack that took place on American soil on September 11, 2001. It is safe to think that there will be an annual remembrance of some sort, at least until none of those alive today, will be alive in the future.
How will your radio station mark this date? Will you pause on-air for a moment silence? Will you produce a memorial or tribute to play on the air? Will you acknowledge those who your audience may know because they were a part of your station or well known to your listeners? Will you list names on your station website? Use your social media platforms to acknowledge the significance of this date? Will your air-talent tell stories of those who have been lost? Will you take calls and give your audience the opportunity to share their feelings on March 11th?
This is a moment when our purpose becomes clear. It is to serve our communities and to make a difference in the lives of our listeners.
Mike McVay is President of McVay Media and can be reached at [email protected]