The New Normal

 

It has been a wild & unique couple of months for all of us dealing with the Corona Virus/Covid-19 situation.

Right off the bat, we were declared an essential business & workers. Radio stations have to stay on the air. We got a letter from Homeland Security and everything! We did not have anyone working from home. We had some employees more worried than others with family members dealing with compromised immune systems. I do a lot of work from home anyway and can do about 90% of my job from there, including voice work & announcing.  But here we are, coming into the radio stations daily.  We do try and practice social distancing and sanitize the control rooms, microphones, etc. every shift. I have never washed my hands so much in my life! We limited visitors in the building and started mailing prizes to winners instead of having them pick them up. Not that we were doing many contests anyway with everything shut down. I concentrated on providing much needed information on the air and on our websites. We wanted to be an oasis and the “feel good station” during these trying times.

A lot of the large radio companies required their office staff to work from home. Some even set up studios & technology for DJ’s to be able to record their shows from home. I have a home office studio and do a lot of voice-over work there, but I have never fully recorded a radio show from home.  Sadly, a lot of the bigger radio companies also laid off or cut salaries of a lot of their employees. We were very fortunate that did not happen where I work. It’s been a lean couple of months on the business side but everyone kept their job; the advantage of working for a small & local company. My heart aches for the multitudes of people who lost their jobs through the businesses that had to shut down. I was downsized during the recession of 2008 and certainly know how it feels!

This week in Tennessee, restaurants & businesses slowly started reopening. Social distancing continues, as it should. My life really hasn’t changed that much as I’m pretty much a home-body anyway. I go to work….I come home.  There were only the occasional trips to the hardware store to get the stuff needed for all the projects I finally had time to do around the house. They sanitized my buggy (not cart, I’m Southern!) and all the employees wore masks. The customers, not so much! I have missed our occasional night out at a local restaurant and listening to music. I have a wedding scheduled to DJ in May, and just found out it is actually happening! I feel so sorry for the couples who have had to postpone such a monumental event. I have several weddings & parties booked this year and am still working on the occasional computer & TV stream box through my home business.

I don’t actually know anyone personally that has or has had the virus. My wife works in a medical office and my daughter & her boyfriend work at a grocery store.  They have been on the front lines of this battle from the very beginning. I am very thankful that they also have kept their jobs and have remained healthy after being exposed to so many people. I remain thankful for these workers, along with all the heath-care & restaurant workers, truck drivers, postal carriers & delivery folks, hardware store workers and especially all first responders. Everyone who kept us going during this pandemic!

As things slowly return to what will be the “new normal,” I hope all the businesses can get fully re-opened and the employees called back.  This has been an unprecedented event in our lifetimes. We’ve been fortunate not to have that many cases of the virus in our area. I’ll be glad when it’s under control or as close as we can get it. I’ll still be practicing social distancing and it will be a while before I’ll feel comfortable being in larger crowds. Never was one for large crowds anyway! Ironic, but after all these years I can “turn it on” when I have to MC or DJ in front of a bunch of people! I hope the “new normal” means we are smarter, kinder & better to each other and I hope everyone remains safe & healthy!