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03/07/2020 The Communication Science magazine

Making the Arctic a Little Less Lonely: How a Radio Station Went from 3 to over 40k Followers

This time is not easy: adaptation of a new routine and social distancing. Rita introduces a radio show that will let you feel a little less lonely in this time of corona.


In a world where a single virus has caused the death of thousands, revealed injustices within health care systems, and incited a great war over toilet paper, two Portuguese comedians defied all odds and brought some light to these dark lonely days. In a time of social distancing, they brought together over 40k people and a lonesome radio host in Longyearbyen, Norway. All with a single live stream.

A Live Stream about Nothing and Everything

Amidst the Covid chaos, and with the mission to preserve his sanity, Bruno Nogueira, a famous Portuguese comedian/host/writer, started a daily Instagram live stream, ‘Como é que o bicho mexe?’ (or ‘How does the animal move?’). This impromptu decision would soon make Nogueira one of the unsung heroes of the Portuguese nation, creating a new ritual for their daily Groundhog Day-esque routine.

Bring some light into people’s lives.

Every day at 23h00 sharp, after a day of staring at the same 4 walls, thousands are greeted with a tired man having a glass of wine: Bruno Nogueira. Throughout the live stream, Nogueira calls one of his friends he feels like talking to, often other comedians or celebrities. And what do they talk about? Nothing really, but also everything; whatever is on their minds, or what they have been up to. The point isn’t to get a certain message across, but to bring some light into people’s lives, to reduce the social distance, and to show that we’re all together in this constant hand-washing life.

 

Welcome to the Arctic: 40k at a Time

It was April 2nd, just another night of social distancing with the company of Nogueira’s live. On that day, Nuno Markl, a Portuguese comedian/writer/radio host, while talking to Nogueira, decided to share a discovery he made through Radio garden: Arctic Outpost radio.

At the time, all he knew was that it was a small radio station created by a so-called Cal Lockwood. Despite the quality jazz tracks it played, it had few listeners, and only 3 Instagram followers- two of which were Markl himself and his ex-wife. Unknowing the impact they could have, the Portuguese comedians remarked that it would be fun if the viewers – about 40 thousand at that point – could give the station a listen, and follow its Instagram page.

5 minutes later, Cal Lockwood had 20k instagram followers, and a day later, over 40k. Lockwood’s Instagram was flooded with messages of support from Portugal. The influx of supporters, even surpassed the radio’s server capacity, causing temporary connection issues.

The highlight of his long-lasting career.

To promptly show his gratitude for the new surge of support, as requested by his new listeners, around 3 am, Cal Lockwood played a tune by one of the most famous Portuguese jazz musicians, Mário Laginha. In Nogueira’s live the next day, Laginha joked it to be the highlight of his long-lasting career.

 

A Passion Project

Arctic Outpost radio started as a personal project by Cal Lockwood a few years ago. Through his AM-MW station, he plays early 20th-century jazz, blues, big band, and vintage country. At first, this was mostly for himself, as he believed no one listened to AM radio anymore. A year ago, a friend convinced him to put his radio broadcast online and the rest, as they say, is history.

Where the word ‘corona’ doesn’t even exist.

Cal Lockwood’s success, though started by Markl, has certainly continued by his charming music choice. Arctic Outpost radio opens the door to a period in music history that leaves one feeling nostalgic, in the lightest and most heart-warming way possible. It envelops listeners into a simpler world, where the word ‘corona’ doesn’t even exist.

 

A Little Less Lonely

The world is somewhat unsettling at the moment. With the fear of the virus itself, the struggle to adapt to new routines, and the unknown time for which many won’t see their loved ones, it’s easy to struggle to see the glass as half full. But as I write this piece, listening to Cal Lockwood’s wonderfully chosen tracks, together with 519 others -432 of which are from Portugal- I can say I’m starting to feel a little less lonely, and a bit more hopeful.

Thank you Cal.

Cover: Rayan Almuslem

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