Clara Amfo: ‘I’ve Never Felt More Connected To My Listeners’

The Radio 1 host speaks to Grazia as part of our series of accounts from the women broadcasting through the coronavirus lockdown.

Clara Amfo

by Jessica Barrett |
Updated on

Arriving in the studio through empty streets has felt surreal to say the least, the most common description I've seen is that it's like the film 28 Days Later{ =nofollow}. I am so used to weaving in between people to get to work, when I'm getting lunch or queuing at the train station – now it's the opposite.

Live broadcasts are more important now than ever. I think it's important because we all still want to feel connected to each other, it's the human condition. Knowing that you can turn on the radio at a particular time to hear the same voice and some of your favourite mood changing songs is a comfort to people, especially those who are on their own. That consistency is really helpful.

For radio, I usually do this feature on my show called 'Smug Thursday' where people share their good news but I decided to rebrand it as 'Smug Life' where people share their good news with me daily: birthdays, new hobbies, acts of self care - whatever - we will celebrate it and shout it out.

At home, I've really been getting in to hula-hooping and I've learned Andre 3000's rap on Kelis's Millionaire; other people have done the same and that's been really fun to do with strangers.

I got a really lovely message from a listener in isolation who said that she felt like we at Radio 1 were her friends when she's been alone. Some student nurses messaged the show the other day to say they had us on in the ward, which was really special. I also shouted out someone's grandad for their 100th birthday, the listener showed me a pic of him in a Zoom chat that got me emotional. To be honest, I've never felt more connected to the listeners.

I am missing my mum's touch. If I think about her too much, I get a bit anxious and sad but we're all checking in with her, she's loving video messaging! This situation is no joke, I have close friends who have sadly lost people, the news is overwhelming. I am so blessed to be able to work through this, I don't take that privilege lightly. It's allowed me keep a sense of focus; my boss Lorna says 'never underestimate the power of a song changing your day' and I feel that deeply as a broadcaster and as a listener to other people's shows.

Clara broadcasts on Radio 1 Monday-Thursday 11am-1pm


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