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Home Comforts: How my DAB radio is helping me through lockdown

Why I've fallen in love with my DAB radio.

Home Comforts: How my DAB radio is helping me through lockdown
Holly Pyne
04 May 2020

Home Comforts is a series of articles focusing on the things that are helping the ShortList team get through lockdown. Whether it's a gadget, movie, song or book we'll showcase great things that are making us happy - and hopefully they will make you happy too...

Turns out I’m a people person. If you’d had said that to me two months ago, I would have laughed, but lockdown has changed me.

Obviously, I miss my friends and family the most but it's also the daily, uneventful meetings too, whether it's working in coffee shop or buying something in a shop. Being at home all the time, can make you forget there's a big old world out there. Hence my newfound love - the DAB radio.

And, yes, of course I’ve been texting and video-calling most days but all these Zoom, FaceTime and Houseparty chats also mean I'm spending way too much time staring at screens. Now find myself jumping at the chance to get away from the blue light.

I am fortunate enough not to be isolating on my own, so I do have someone to speak to regularly - even if we might be sick of each other by the end of it - but I also miss that connection to the outside world. The radio provides that.

In case you're interested in the radio itself, mine is a Roberts Rambler BT and I adore it. The model may now be a couple of years old (having first launched back in April 2019) but it also remains one of the most affordable Roberts radios you can buy.

Though I will admit, I did initially fall in love with this radio because of its beautiful vintage design. It's an updated version of the 1970s Rambler, so Roberts has kept the radio’s original design but added all the mod-cons you’d expect from a new-age DAB radio. Not only is it Bluetooth-enabled, the radio is also lightweight and can be powered by batteries making it easy to move throughout the house - and even into the garden, if you’re feeling adventurous.

This portability essentially means that my DAB radio has followed me around my home whether I’m working, cooking or having a mild tantrum over an unsolvable puzzle.

Political and speech radio stations have been a no-go for me. Lockdown is stressful enough without added speculation. What lockdown requires is big pop anthems and sing-alongs to songs you shouldn’t know all the words to. When it comes to cooking and cleaning, there’s nothing better to listen to than the classic hits of Magic and Gold Radio.

You don't feel so alone when listening to the radio. There are hundreds of thousands of strangers across the UK listening to the same song with you, and when you're only seeing the same two or three people each day, that can make the world of difference.

So every Thursday morning during lockdown I have turned on BBC Radio 1 to hear the 'Great British Singalong'. At 9am, five BBC radio station (Radio 1, 2, 1 Xtra, 6 Music and the Asian Network) takes it in turn to choose a song to dedicate to key workers and it plays out simultaneously on all five radio stations. Singing is optional, and it’s a tech’s nightmare waiting to happen, but it does give you all those warm fuzzy feelings we’re all searching for right now.

Radio also allows you to hear those familiar voices of Greg James, Lauren Laverne, Sara Cox. These presenters are there morning and night to provide you with new music - not the same 100 or so songs on loop from your playlist - and a sense of routine.

When lockdown was announced, I suddenly lost the two hours a day I spent listening to music. My DAB radio gave me a lifeline now I can’t work, cook or clean without it. I may still spend way too many hours watching TV, but if I can spend a couple finding new music or singing to my heart’s content - I’m happy.

The Roberts Rambler BT radio is available now for £93.00.