The BBC's local radio stations have teamed up with manufacturers, retailers and a loneliness charity to offer free DAB radios to the most vulnerable people aged over 70.

The move from the broadcaster comes as millions of people are forced to stay in their homes and isolate from their friends and families because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Why are the BBC doing this?

Radio is a vital source of news, information and companionship in these unprecedented times and the BBC's local radio stations want to ensure as many people as possible have access to it.

So it will be giving away DAB digital radios to people nominated by local radio listeners - all part of the BBC’s Make A Difference campaign, which was launched in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Which BBC local radio stations are involved?

It is running across all 39 BBC local radio stations in England and is aimed at connecting communities.

They include:

  • BBC Radio Berkshire
  • BBC Radio Bristol
  • BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
  • BBC Radio Cornwall
  • BBC CWR (Coventry & Warwickshire)
  • BBC Radio Cumbria
  • BBC Radio Derby
  • BBC Radio Devon
  • BBC Essex
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire
  • BBC Radio Guernsey
  • BBC Hereford & Worcester
  • BBC Radio Humberside
  • BBC Radio Jersey
  • BBC Radio Kent
  • BBC Radio Lancashire
  • BBC Radio Leeds
  • BBC Radio Leicester
  • BBC Radio Lincolnshire
  • BBC Radio London
  • BBC Radio Manchester
  • BBC Radio Merseyside
  • BBC Radio Newcastle
  • BBC Radio Norfolk
  • BBC Radio Northampton
  • BBC Radio Nottingham
  • BBC Radio Oxford
  • BBC Radio Sheffield
  • BBC Radio Shropshire
  • BBC Radio Solent
  • BBC Radio Somerset
  • BBC Radio Stoke
  • BBC Radio Suffolk
  • BBC Surrey
  • BBC Sussex
  • BBC Radio Tees
  • BBC Three Counties Radio
  • BBC Radio Wiltshire
  • BBC WM 95.6
  • BBC Radio York

How many DAB radios will be given away?

The BBC’s partners in the initiative have set a set aside thousands of DAB radios to be given away for free to vulnerable people aged over 70.

From Monday, March 30, anyone can nominate someone for a free radio by completing an online application form at

Who has donated the DAB radios?

The radios have been donated by Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis & Partners, Pure and Roberts Radio and will be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength - who provide technology to those in need. Manufacturer Duracell UK will provide batteries.

What have the BBC said?

Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC, said: “Local radio is a lifeline at this time and has never been more important as a source of trusted local news and information, and also as a companion for people who are isolating.

"Make A Difference is already having a huge impact right across the country with 28,000 thousand calls in just five days. 

"It is offering support and practical solutions to people who have nowhere else to turn.

“We want everyone who needs access to the radio to have it, that’s why we’re giving away DAB radios.

"I’m proud we’ve been able to coordinate this initiative with our partners who have been so generous in offering their resources.”

'We're helping to fight loneliness during the coronavirus crisis'

Tim Leech, chief executive of WaveLength, said: “WaveLength has been fighting loneliness for the last 80 years. We are delighted to come together with all partners to help provide radios to those over 70s most in need. This is what Wavelength was born to do!”

Kesah Trowell, head of corporate social responsibility for Currys PC World, added: “We’re pleased to be a part of this partnership. Older members of our communities are already particularly vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and isolation, but with the added fear of the Coronavirus and no visits from friends or family, we hope these radios will not only keep them up to date with local and national news, but also help to keep them entertained and provide a source of comfort during this difficult time.”

Hubert Eiter, head of marketing at Pure Ltd, said: “Make a Difference is a great initiative by the BBC and we are honored to be part of this.”

Diane Fuller, sales and marketing director at Roberts Radio, added: “Roberts has been supplying radios to the UK for nearly 90 years and will continue to do so in supporting our elderly and vulnerable during these challenging times. We believe radio connects communities and provides much-needed companionship and information, and we are proud to be supporting this initiative.”

For more about the free DAB radio scheme - visit