MKFM Column: MKFM prepares for a busy autumn and winter after a period none of us will forget in a hurry

Even with new technology, local radio has been at the forefront of delivering essential local information throughout the pandemic.

This September, MKFM will have been broadcasting on 106.3FM for 5 years after our high-profile campaign to ensure Milton Keynes continued to have its very own local radio station.

Whilst we have been able to prepare for most things, nothing could have prepared us for the past few months.

On Monday 23rd March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people they “must” stay at home and required most
businesses to close.

At a time where we were told to socially distance or self-isolate, MKFM along with hundreds of other local radio stations had the challenge of remaining on-air whilst working remotely.

At a time of crisis localradio is renowned for keeping communities connected and provide a sense of togetherness whilst providing the very latest information.

A few days before lockdown, our team moved quickly to ensure we could continue broadcasting. Thanks to modern day technology, some MKFM presenters continued to work from the station’s studios at Stadium MK, while others broadcast from underneath their duvets at home.

We reconfigured our website (MKFM.com) to provide an easy access hub of information for local residents.

This included new sections to further support changes to MK Council services, public transport information, MK coronavirus case updates and mental health support.

Our radio output continued to support local business, charities and share our appreciation for MKFM’s Big Stars – who were going above and beyond in the local community, while hopefully keeping spirits high with
fun and games to keep MK entertained.

Podcasts were made available to listen again, share and download from local MP’s, charities, business
owners and the CEO of MK Hospital about how the Covid-19 crisis was impacting our community.

Lia host of the MK Breakfast Show says, “Radio is the most powerful medium of communication and in these
testing times that has become ever more apparent. It has been so important to provide a sense of the
day and reflect the mood of Milton Keynes as we navigate through this ‘new normal’.

“Driving in on the eerily quiet H & V roads and into MK1 Shopping and Leisure Park, which would usually
be bustling, has been quite an unsettling experience but being able to talk it through with our listeners as they have similar encounters has kept us connected as a community.”

During the pandemic, MKFM has seen a massive growth in visitors to MKFM.com and our latest listener survey has shown another leap forward as more and more people switched to MKFM for the latest local information.

Darren Dorrington CEO says, “The feedback we’ve had over the last few months has been humbling, our team is passionate about our community and it was a natural reaction to want to ramp up our offering further
to ensure we got through these unprecedented times.’’

MKFM is hoping that from September, more of our team will be able to return to our studios as we look to
reinstate our usual schedule with Darren and Lia back on the MK Breakfast Show.

In September, MKFM will be launching our new campaign with GrabNow as we attempt to break our 2017 record of 64,000 tins for the MK Food Bank. This year we are looking at raising the bar to 70,000 tins.

There will also be the return of our on-air competitions in addition to MK’s Biggest Hits and all the
latest local information for MKFM.

This feature was published in the September 2020 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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