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Reclaiming Halloween Radio

Earlier this week I got to join the folk from Reclaim Hosting for a spooky radio extravaganza! Across a couple of different timezones and radio stations, Reclaim Radio and DS106Radio, we ROCKED the airwaves.

I love radio as a medium to have fun for virtual teams. It’s super engaging, not screen based, it’s synchronous and at the same time gives everyone space to do other stuff whilst listening. It’s also, when you have a team as capable as this, a pretty easy thing to do 🙂

When we started planning for this, we offered different ways to get involved:

  • Share your favourite halloween tunes and we’ll play your tunes
  • Get on the radio with other Reclaim folk, chat about what you are working on, share scary stories.. And have fun!
  • Get on the radio as a host, spin up the tunes and invite special guests to chat with on air. 

Not everyone wants to hear their own voice on air after all, and the whole point of doing something like this is that everyone can join in and have a bit of fun without feeling that they need to commit to a whole hour.

Here is the programme we ended up with as a result:

  • 8:00am ET – Halloween Tunes with Meredith
  • 9:00am ET – Scary Special: Jim & Maren
  • 10:00am ET – Pumpkin Hour with Maren & Meredith
  • 11:00am ET – Halloween Tunes from the team
  • 12:00pm ET – Old Time Radio Hour: the Scary Stories of Suspense
  • 1:00pm ET – Radio Roundup with Amanda & Pilot
  • 2:00pm ET – Halloween Tunes with Jason
  • 3:00pm ET – Scary Tech (and Non-Tech) Stories with Amanda & Jason
  • 4:00pm ET – Halloween Tunes with Taylor
  • 5:00pm ET – Fright Night: Tunes from the Infrastructure Team

The weird and the wonderful

What I loved about the radio day was the variety of things that happened: from Italian horror movie soundtracks and The Cure to low-fi listening tunes, and from vintage story telling to news about what’s happening across the community, it was simply awesome!

Folk joined in as they started to listen to the programme, saying hi on Mastodon and Discord, and sharing pics and stories along the way.

I loved the radio shows on DS106 radio during the dark days of 2020 and 2021. Obviously my personal favourite was the Sunday Special that I was part of with Anne-Marie Scott and Tannis Morgan, but although a lot of fun was had, and at the time fun was a very scarce ingredient in life, it was very much radio of its time. Pandemic times.

I remember hearing Jim and his family broadcasting from Italy, and us listening here in Wales, feeling like we were able to connect despite the long periods of lockdown.

Our spooky Halloween radio show this week helped me reflect that whilst we still need to connect, and share and be present with each other, it is a huge relief to be doing so in context less dominated by the pandemic. We’ve learnt to value opportunities to have fun and be together more, I think, than we did before 2020.

Just like the excellent GIF game that makes the Reclaim Roundup a must read each month, the radio brought together all the weird and wonderful scary tech (and non-tech) stories and tunes for a day to remember.

What you didn’t see

Part of my work with Reclaim as I see it, is about finding pockets of space and time in which this team of people who work so hard and who practice such heartfelt care about all they do, from answering support tickets to developing new products, get to have a moment to take a breath and revel in their achievements.

Reflecting on success, feeling proud…, those things can be a lot harder to do than moving on to the next task, or pick up the next ticket. Just like in every other organisation I have ever worked with, here, too, is a never ending list of things to do. There is always pressure, always more that could be done, and new, exciting ideas on the horizon. I love seeing those glinting in the distance.

What I have also learnt, however, is that there is ALWAYS something glinting on that horizon, and ALWAYS a long list of tasks and that it’s up to us to make the time and hold the space to say “YAY! WE ROCK!” every once in a while.

I missed some of the Halloween fun (because timezones), but the next day I spent some time looking at the chat behind the scenes, the chat you didn’t see, and I was thrilled to see folk sharing photos of their front doors, ready for trick or treating, the chat, the banter and the GIFs. Those moments are what makes a team thrive, and they are what makes the memories that we will still recall long after the routine of weekly meetings is forgotten.

It was a privilege and an awful lot of fun to be part of our Halloween Radio programme, so you won’t be surprised to hear that there might just be some more in store come the end of the year. Maybe there will be an opportunity to make a song request, or send in edtech holiday greetings… whatever we decide to do – I hope to see you on the airwaves.

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