The power of local radio: “Radio can save your life”

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This interesting session highlighted how two local radios – Radio Wuppertal in Germany and Radio Popolare based in Milan – covered challenging situations. Alessandro Gilioli, journalist and director at Radio Popolare, and Georg Rose, editor-in-chief at Radio Wuppertal, went on stage to show the audience the power of local radio in a time of crisis.

From adapting around obstacles to working under stress, Georg Rose gave us an account of the events on the night of the 15th July, when heavy rains flooded the streets of Wuppertal. 

By 3am that same day, power went out throughout the whole town and the local radio had to work under testing conditions to bring the citizens information on these events in order to keep them safe.

An 8 hour special flood news coverage, only stopped by complete transmission failure, later awarded Radio Wuppertal the German Radio Award 2021. “I think we just did our job”, says Georg Rose, “We say radio can save your life”.

“We are a community radio”

The podcast “Andrá tutto bene” (“It’ll be fine”) from Radio Populare in Italy showed the audience the worries over coronavirus during the worst weeks of the pandemic. 

Radio Populare started investigating the big mistakes of the decision makers. “Information and Investigation”, is the main focus of this radio, reminds us Alessandro Gilioli. The power of local radio reflected itself in bringing to light the mistakes of decision makers who were able to be held accountable. 

These are great examples of the importance of local media. They are close to the people. Like Gilioli states, “we are a community radio”.

Written by Beatriz Valente, Gonçalo Martins and Rita Silva

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