How Virgin Radio is bringing people together in Lebanon

A studio at Virgin Radio Lebanon
Virgin Radio Lebanon
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
16 February 2021

The whole world has faced challenges over the past year with COVID-19. But Lebanon in particular has been hit hard, not just by the pandemic but also by an ongoing economic crisis and the Beirut explosion that devastated the capital city. 

Currently, the country is facing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, with a 24 hour curfew in place and no-one permitted to leave their homes, except in an emergency. Throughout all of this, however, Virgin Radio Lebanon has committed to continuing to broadcast to its listeners. And it’s working hard to support local businesses and people too.

“The first feeling that comes to mind when thinking about the current situation in Lebanon is helplessness,” said Zaina El Hage, who hosts the drivetime morning show. “Whether it’s towards the economic crisis, the damage done to families after the 4 August blast, people suffering from COVID 19; the complete lockdown, or worse, the loss of a loved one taken by COVID 19. We’re forced to stand still. To keep a distance. To stay silent. All we can do for now is try to help as much as we can, from a distance.”

Zaina in the Virgin Radio Lebanon studio
Virgin Radio Lebanon

What that looks like in reality is operating the radio station remotely – most of the DJs are working from home, broadcasting from their bedrooms and bringing hope to the people of Lebanon. 

Sally Geha, host of the drivetime afternoon show, said: “With the array of bad news we keep receiving in the country, radio became comfort food for people on the roads attempting to move forward from our current situation. With the community turning their ear for a distraction, we showed and continue to show support for local businesses, products and services and initiatives that have been born amidst the crisis, blast and pandemic. We became a voice for the people to shed light on the efforts being done in the shadows.” 

She added: “Now that we are going through a strict lockdown and have to stay home, us radio presenters are feeling that we are unable to bring that positivity for people and find ourselves in a difficult situation. Lebanon more than ever not only needs hope but a voice and we are proud to be part of this incredible community.”

Virgin Radio Lebanon has given a voice to hundreds of local businesses and initiatives on its social media over the last 12 months, giving them a platform to share their messages. Over Christmas, the team also shared a number of videos showing listeners reuniting with their families for the first time in months.

Najy Cherabieh, general manager at Virgin Radio Lebanon, commented: “Virgin Radio Lebanon and Virgin Radio Stars Lebanon, now more than ever are needed to try to help as many as possible get through this. Virgin Radio Lebanon's social media, especially during lockdown, has become a very powerful tool for supporting the community. It is our duty to offer our reach to struggling local businesses, NGOs, initiatives. While offering an escape through entertainment, we’re giving a platform and voice to local talents. It is the beautiful feedback from the community that gives us the drive to never give up; we know better days are ahead.”

Visit Virgin Radio Lebanon to find out more.