When I was a Promotion Director at a station we were approached by the local Boys/Girls Clubs to have our airstaff play the talent from another station in town in a charitable softball game. My PD was apoplectic: “What if we lose?”
I replied, “Fire everyone and actively recruit broadcast students who can drive the ball to right and turn a double play.”
Think about it; when was the last time you joined with other stations outside of your cluster for, well, anything?
After Katrina every station seemingly did “something”, which, don’t get me wrong, was great. But you had ten or eleven different relief drives all competing for dollars, water and attention. Dan Seeman was a GM at Clear Channel in the Twin Cities and successfully brought every station in town together for a morning show broadcast on top of the Washington Avenue bridge, which metaphorically bridges the Mississippi River.
It was large.
So, you may have seen that regions of Europe have been suffering from weather of Biblical proportions, and you probably don’t know that stations from all of the countries affected by the floods, have come together to aid the millions of people in distress.
In South-East Europe, we’re currently facing nature’s wrath in all its glory. Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia are hit with floods that managed to cover 2/3 of the whole region. Entire cities simply don’t exist anymore. Roads, houses, churches, temples and mosques … everything gone.
In the last 500 years nothing of such proportions has happened to this region. We are simply left speechless. If it wasn’t for Radio, of course.
It all started last Friday May 16th, when Serbian association of Radio released pre-produced emergency audio files for all Radio Stations in Serbia to broadcast. After that, all stations simply came together, organized and started the biggest humanitarian campaign in the history of Serbian broadcast. Every single Radio Station started broadcasting emergency messages, dropping their formats, cancelling their promotions and focusing on what’s of upmost importance, human life.
Then Bosnia reacted. After that Croatia. It still is amazing to see how the media everyone said is dying, is helping people stay alive in the midst of the biggest natural disaster in the history of Balkans.
Why is all this so important and tear breaking? Do you remember 90’s? Well, all these countries mentioned were at War with each other not so long ago. Now, seeing the armies of once enemies coming together helping children, elderly in mission to preserve and not to take lives, is simply breathtaking.
Even Slovenia, Austria, Macedonia, Germany and Sweden joined in humanitarian campaigns to help victims of the floods. And mostly, we’ve been able to see that Radio STILL matters. Because when everything else breaks and shuts down, we can still count on the caring voice that sends the message of humanity.
Today, I’m not afraid for the future of Radio, because I’ve seen it works. I’ve seen people react because of the words they heard from the speakers. Radio IS A FRIEND. And most of all, Radio makes friends.
You can see and listen to the audio files from Serbian Radio Association here or by using our audio player below.
There are still numerous Radio Stations across the region organizing humanitarian help and gathering aide for the victims.
Slovenian and Croatian stations have also been broadcasting today the “Thank you from people of Serbia and Bosnia” audio file sent from Serbian and Bosnian broadcasters.
I’d be more poetic and I’d be happy to write in better English, but my hands are shaking for the last three days. I hope I managed to describe you small victories of Radio in Balkan. Pray for the victims. More than 100 thousands are left with no home to return to. Pray. Thank you.Robert Dedus