Radio, I’m super proud of you.

Staff Writer

Yes, we were all fascinated by the stranded cows and the seabed coming vertically out of the water. But in a time of crisis like the massive earthquake, radio always steps up with real voices, telling real stories in real time.

I know some of it can be a bit loose. Tales exaggerated, a little out of excitement maybe, or the odd loon wanting to be part of the action. But in the main it’s legit. And people take it for what it is – a person on the other end of the phone telling a yarn about what they’ve experienced.

Interspersed with news reports and NZ Civil Defence alerts to ensure the facts are straight, it’s by far the fastest way to get a good picture of what’s going on in a disaster zone.

One of the things I love most about radio is its unique ability to draw a community together. After the big Christchurch quakes, callers would be lined up on ZB looking for infant baby formula, needing a lift somewhere or just scared and not knowing what to do. Each time the listeners would phone in to help fill the void.

And the stories… some of them absolutely devastating. I remember one grandmother phoning ZB on the day of the February 22nd quake to talk about how her baby grandson had died. Heartbreaking.

But people needed to talk. They wanted to know life was out there and others cared. They want to share experiences. Their favourite radio station, the one with the host they’ve known forever, was the natural place to congregate.

As a radio station manager, it’s at these times you value great radio talent the most.

One of radio’s greatest assets is its simplicity. When the power goes out, even if you don’t have a battery-powered radio, you can go to the garage and turn on the car. Radio really is just a microphone, tangle of wires and a listener.

It was great to hear radio stepping up again.

When the end of the earth finally comes, there’ll be cockroaches and radio. And while I may be out of the business for the first time in 22 years, I’ll always be a broadcaster. And at times like this I’m a very proud one.

Stay safe out there everyone.

About: Dallas Gurney

Dallas was General Manager Group Content Marketing at NZME and prior the GM of Talk for NZME. Soon he will take over as GM of Spark PR & Activate, part of the PHD Group.

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