When the power goes off or cloud cover and rains disrupt the signal, the television won’t work. So there goes your connect with the city at a time when you need it the most. However, a few pencil-sized batteries and a transistor saved the day for many in the last couple of weeks. The medium was in full flight as it connected people, distributed relief and inspired the city to rise up and be there for one another.
Most radio stations upped their game and selflessly contributed. Ramesh, vice president and head of content at Hello FM (also one of many who were rescued by boat), says, “The station did not want to be in any statistical rat race. We wanted to be a line of communication for the city. Anyone could reach out to us and we would go all the way to help them”
A big salute goes out to RJ Balaji of Big FM. He was very vocal about the relief effort and, in the end, was a key inspiration not only for other stations but also for Chennai. In one incident, when a listener from the US wasn’t able to connect with his folks at Pallavaram, he tweeted Balaji who in turn tweeted RJ Ajai of Mirchi and ensured the listener got to speak with his parents. There’s the beauty of connectivity and the power of social media right there for you.
Ajay Titus walked into Mirchi a night before the storm hit, only to find himself Mother Nature’s hostage for the next four days. He says, “The city was in dire straits and we made it a point to get people to connect with each other via our radio station. Electricity was on the blink so then we decided to go into the street and help with food and water. We also kept our focus on the outskirts of the city and got loads of tarpaulin, mats and blankets for the worst affected. The last seven days has taught us the real meaning of love and care.”
Sano and Team Fever were also on ground zero for four days, focussing on mother and baby needs. All SOS messages that Fever FM received were in turn aired on NDTV. Radio stood tall when Chennai needed it the most. Respect to all those who saved this city and its people from drowning. See you next week.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.