CHENNAI: Listening to the radio has trickled down to a habit religiously followed either during a power cut or when one is driving. But little did Chennaiites imagine how useful the radio could be when all other power-hungry devices were starved and rendered unusable.
Pitching in to aid those worried about their loved ones, and providing minute-to-minute updates on everything from traffic congestions, water-logging, and aid, local radio stations were a blessing to the bored souls who decided to crank up the radio. Stations like Big Fm 9.27 and FM Rainbow 101.4 were on point throughout the past few days, streaming live updates from various locations. Perhaps the most worrying thing which even dwarfed the water woes and power cuts was when a family member could not be reached for days.
Many residents expressed the horror of not being able to contact their loved ones as phone lines failed. This is where FM Rainbow, for instance, came in handy, as they had call-in segments for those whose family members or friends were stranded. Their numbers and contact details were publicised so people nearby could check up on them.
“My sister lives in Velachery, and I have not heard from her. I just want to know if she is fine,” said a concerned brother calling from Triplicane.
Big Fm also maintained a stream of updates on locations where food, medicines, and supplies were available. Information about people who were willing to host victims in their houses was also publicised. The contact details of NGO, and information on where food was being served proved crucial for hundreds of starved and shelterless victims.
“I was able to arrange water for my friend’s mother in Velachery,” says Vishal R (24), a resident of Palavakkam, who happened to listen to the radio while driving on Saturday afternoon.