Barren stores, missing toilet paper, missing hand soap, maintaining six feet distance, closures, stay-at-home orders, headlines, chatter, silence, waiting. If one thing is certain during this era of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the greater need for accurate and reliable news.
“Thanks for clicking on the BYU-Idaho Radio Instagram Stories’ Feed. We wanted to do something a little bit different with everybody social distancing and so many people away from campus because of the COVID-19 — coronavirus, we thought we would give you some of your local stories over instagram. I’m Brandon Isle. I am the news director on BYU-Idaho Radio radio. Let’s get started!” – Brandon Isle
Beginning March 30, BYU-Idaho Radio began sharing short snippets of news through Instagram’s story sharing and TV features. By doing so, BYU-I Radio is growing their audience base and reach.
Luis Vasquez Sebastian, a sophomore studying communication, followed the radio after taking a class with Isle, the news director on BYU-I Radio and communication professor.
“(The radio) is something that we, as students, need to take more advantage of,” Sebastian said. “You can get a quick update without leaving one of the most common platforms. We tend to spend a lot of time on Instagram, well, we can spend a few minutes watching something that will bring some benefit to our lives.”
Sebastian said he is impressed with the great job the reporters do in sharing informative and concise news.
BYU-I Radio has two radio stations KBYR-FM 91.5 and KBYI-FM 94.3, and also has an online stream.
Isle said that college students are not your typical radio listeners due to the different lifestyles they have with busy schedules, social and educational demands and their preferred use of music listening apps. He discussed the range and variation of content the two radio stations provide: From classical and inspirational music to devotional and conference talks, but most importantly, news which helps one remain informed.
“The news is where you learn about the world around you,” Isle said. “It’s national and international news mixed with local news. You are getting important news that’s happening, from coronavirus, to whatever is happening around the world, to the local stuff, and the local news includes BYU-Idaho news.”
It’s content-centered to BYU-Idaho news and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints news sets it apart from most Radio stations.
The station works to clear up misconceptions about the pandemic through serving the community with current events going on locally and at a global level.
Maritza Rodriguez, a freshman studying special education, shares how BYU-I Radio has done just that for her. Rodriguez began to follow BYU-I Radio before coming out to school last summer. She keeps up with most of the content produced on the page because she says it helps provide her easy access to core news.
Initially, Rodriguez said she followed the stories on Instagram to stay up to date with everything going on with COVID-19 and its impact on classes. While watching the updates, other news stories intrigued her.
One story in particular grabbed her attention: the two missing siblings, Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan. When new stories by BYU-I Radio appeared, she listened intently to hear updates with the case.
Even though Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order in March changed dramatically how the BYU-I Radio office works, it hasn’t stopped them from going on air. Isle said many of the employees are working at home, but because radio falls into the category of essential services, they continue going live. Isle explained they just take the needed precautions, like wearing face masks and wiping down their work area for the next employee.
Changes in the way the team communicates, though different has also shed light on ways to continue new technology use after things settle down.
“Because most of the producers are working from home, Zoom interviews do much better than phone call interviews,” Isle said. “We have increased our use of Microsoft team to send scripts and to communicate with one another.”
From statewide announcements and devotional summaries to news on scammers from the Better Business Bureau, Instanews by BYU-I Radio strives to provide a variety of news for their followers. Whether it’s students like Rodriguez use BYU-I Radio to listen to devotionals when they can’t attend, or students like Sebastian who simply wish to be more aware of what is going on in the community, BYU-I Radio offers these and other services to all members of the BYU-I community.