Since Russia began its brutal attack in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, most of us have watched in horror as this war wages on and on. For some on-the-ground perspective, we wanted to offer a brief snapshot into how radio in Ukraine is responding to life in wartime.We are grateful to levgen Boginia, Program Director at Lounge FM in Kyiv (https://loungefm.com.ua/), for giving us his local insight as to what is happening in his hometown.
GM: What has been the role of radio during this time of war? How has your job changed since Russia’s invasion on 24 February?
IB: Our main task as a media now is to tell what is happening here to as many people as possible. Therefore, these days I communicate with my Western colleagues a lot. Before the war, we had a fairly large foreign online audience. Now, so many people from different countries write to us and ask how they can help. We talk in detail about all the available funds that are now helping Ukraine and our people.
As for radio as a business, the business stopped immediately, as all advertisers stopped their activities in the country as soon as the war began. After that, we turned off all our entertainment broadcasts and switched to a public all-Ukrainian news marathon so that people in the city could be in the know, even if they do not have a connection to the Internet.
We are also dealing with the fact that our production studios have become a target for the enemy. In Kyiv, an air strike on a telecommunications tower has already taken place the other day. Five people died, including our colleague, a cameraman. Therefore, we organized the work process technically in such a way as to remotely maintain the operability of the stations. As far as possible, of course.
GM: You mentioned that you are getting emails from people who want to help the people of Ukraine. What are you telling them? What is most helpful to you at the moment and can you direct our readers to any specific charities or organizations that can provide the best assistance?
IB: First of all, donations can help a lot right now. Our army is now in need of active funding, the best way to support it is to make a donation:
We also offer to help ordinary people who find themselves in a difficult situation. Organizations such as:
We advise mainly Ukrainian funds, because this way support reaches those who need it now more quickly. We see that in this situation, Western funds do not always have the opportunities that local organizations have. We also recommend addressing people directly. If you have friends or acquaintances who are here now - write to them, find out if everything is fine with them and if they need help. One of the unusual options for targeted assistance that I saw was the massive booking of housing in Kyiv from Western users on Airbnb: people transferred almost $ 2 million in this way to people who are now in the conflict zone. We feel very massive support from different countries these days, and this is very important for us, we feel that we are not left alone with this situation and now any help will be extremely important to us.
GM: What you are going through is unfathomable to most of us in the west. Can you give us a brief snapshot of daily life in Kyiv at the moment? What are some of the biggest changes and obstacles you and the Ukrainian people are facing?
IB: Until a few days ago, the fact that this could happen to us was as incomprehensible to us as it is to people in the west. No one could believe that something like this could start here. We lived in a beautiful, modern, safe and comfortable place with a long history. But everything changed literally overnight. Constant air raid sirens have become the norm. People massively began to travel outside the city to safer regions. There were problems with the availability of food in stores and gasoline. But, Kyiv quickly copes with challenges and is already solving these problems. The situation is much more complicated in the suburbs of the city, in such cities as Irpin, Hostomel, where people are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The fighting there is very brutal and almost non-stop. Residents of Kharkov and Mariupol also suffer greatly. It is impossible to get used to it, we still cannot realize it. But, any obstacles for us now is a challenge, people are determined to fight for their country, they are outraged by what is happening and the country is now united like never before.
GM: We are again deeply indebted to Ievgen for taking the time to give us this truly incredible local perspective. If you would like to reach out to him, we are sure he’d love to feel the support of the worldwide radio community. He can be reached c/o: https://www.facebook.com/e.boginya.