Tune in and turn it up: Online radio station connects senior communities

Published: May. 3, 2020 at 5:33 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Meet Virginia Hawsey; she’s about to embark on a new career. This profession doesn’t involve knitting blankets or baking cakes, she’s going to be a music DJ.

Hawsey will soon make her debut on the online program Radio Recliner.

"It's a fun and interactive program for all of our residents."

Bridge Senior Living has communities all over the country, including Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen in Birmingham.

Director of Sales and Marketing Karen Ingram says the program is an excellent escape for residents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are hoping this gives them an opportunity to connect with friends and family,” said Ingram.

Residents can DJ from their rooms by phone, sharing songs and stories on-air every weekday from noon until 3:00 p.m.

Listeners from within or outside of the communities can make requests or dedications.

Mrs. Hawsey moved into Somerby at St.Vincent's One Nineteen four years ago. She says living at the senior community has been a great experience, but lately, due to social distancing, things have been hard.

“It gets very lonely when you’re in a place like this, and you can’t connect with the other people in there,” said Hawsey.

Station creator Mitch Bennett, who works with Luckie & Co., says it been an excellent way to keep seniors connected while in their rooms.

“One thing that’s really nice about it, we ask each DJ to share some advice with other seniors on how to cope with this, and the things they have said are really inspiring,” said Bennett.

Mrs. Hawkins has fond memories from many years ago in front of the radio.

“I love to jitterbug, but I’m past those days, I can hardly walk now much less dance,” Hawkins said.

So, for now, the perfect place for her is to give others new memories from her recliner.

“It’s just a lot of fun to be able to be with your peers and know that they’re enjoying it,” Hawkins said.

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