A Note from the Melodic Distraction Team
At the start of March this year, we were busy putting special measures in place to make our studio as suitable to an encroaching epidemic as possible. As with many other organisations, businesses and day-to-day ordinary folk, we had no idea what the next six months would bring to ourselves as a radio station and as a community of broadcasters. As late March rolled around, the landscape had already shifted drastically and our staff found themselves presented with a new set of challenges; take the station city-wide, get hosts set up to broadcast from their lockdown homes and manage 180+ remote studios across the UK.
The epidemic had snowballed and that absurd box you tick on an insurance form titled “Pandemic” had become a reality.
.Since, Melodic Distraction Radio has become a collective of hosts, live performers and staffers working around the clock to broadcast from home. It’s been a real undertaking to get to grips with this new format and something we’re so incredibly proud of our community for pulling together to help us with. The patience, willingness to adapt and creative approaches to lockdown radio broadcasting have been heartwarming and inspiring.
We’ve had hosts connecting to our airwaves from all over Merseyside, not to forget a handful from Manchester, Leeds, London, Sheffield and even a few from around the world.
Over the course of the past six months, we’ve had over 1000+ ‘pre-show tech calls’, more than a few dodgy WiFi connections and a lot of chat room action. Honestly, we wouldn’t have had it any other way! We truly feel that radio has helped in providing our hosts with a creative outlet and our listeners with a friendly voice during some truly trying times.
.The time has now come for our return to the studio. This has not been a decision we have taken lightly, with the idea in fact being shelved twice in June and July. Thankfully, and with the invaluable guidance of Joshua Finesilver of Event CTRL, we are excited to announce that the Melodic Distraction Studio will reopen on Wednesday 19th August. This will take place with our regularly scheduled programme continuing via a blend of studio-based shows and home-based shows. We are staying committed to facilitating home-based shows for those who are still required to shield or do not yet feel comfortable in public spaces. Slow and steady is fine by us!
The reason for this note, is not as much to promote the reopening of the station as it is to highlight the measures that we have taken to ensure the safety and security of our staff, hosts and community in the face of this pandemic. We’re excited to get back into our little Jamaica St. radio bunker, but it is exactly that, “little” and a “bunker”. The key challenge that has faced us is how to make a small space as Covid-proof as possible.
Over the past month, our team has been working hard to implement a whole new studio process. We’re now at a point where we can promote strong and safe Covid-19 health and safety practices throughout the studio experience for each and every one of our hosts.
With PPE enforced while in the studio, perspex screens built in to protect producers, temperature checks being mandatory for all entrants, a traffic management system in the studio to keep hosts in line and our own contact tracing system, we feel well placed to re-enter 43 Jamaica Street.
As one of the first independent radio studios to open with producers in the room to ensure the quality of each broadcast, we’ve got even more to think about when it comes to protecting our staff. While they’ll be wearing PPE throughout the day, carrying out a rigorous cleaning procedure between each show and will be protected in their own perspex producer pod inside the studio, the most important thing we’ve realised is to constantly re-evaluate our process with our team. While we may not get things right first time, by constantly communicating with those on the ground, we can tighten up our processes over the coming weeks to reach that top notch, super safe studio that we’re striving for.
These refits have proven costly, with our hosts and extended friends of the station all helping to pitch in and get us off the ground with a warmly supported crowd funder. For everyone who pitched in on this, we can’t thank you enough! For those who would like to still contribute, the link can be found HERE.
So down to the brass tax; we’re sharing this information so that other businesses can reopen with the same reassurances as we were able to gain by thinking about Covid-19 safety as a pragmatic check-list. A set of processes we action and repeat for every host’s studio visit. As previously mentioned, we owe a huge debt to the guidance of Event CTRL for helping us create this strategy. For any other businesses concerned about their reopening, especially those based in the Baltic Triangle and Liverpool City Region, we can’t recommend them highly enough.
.For all those coming through our studio over the coming months, you have already received all the necessary information. For those who are curious about how we’re reopening, we’ve attached the relevant document we’re sharing with our hosts below.
It’s worth noting that we’ll continue to monitor WHO and Liverpool City Region guidance for businesses and all of our systems are subject to change throughout the coming months.
The Melodic Distraction Team