By Sue Tiffin
After he turns on the light to head down to his basement Moose FMmorning host Rick Lowes jokes to listeners at home tuning in to hisBasement Broadcasts this week that he’s been receiving some productionnotes –- from his wife especially – on the videos he’s sharing on theradio’s social media pages.
“Hold the camera down people don’t wantto see the ceiling they want to see the basement” he says as he walksthrough his house repeating her advice.
Lowes has beenself-isolating for more than a week running the station’s morning showfrom his basement because of becoming sick after the World HealthOrganization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
“Whathappened was I was in contact with some people who had just returnedfrom abroad and had come down with a little bit of a cold” said Lowes. “At that same time my employer had sent out an email suggestingexactly that if you come in contact with people abroad and you’re notfeeling well please stay home kind of thing. So I contacted my bossand he checked with [human resources] and they said yeah stay home.”
The station already uses technology when on-air hosts are doing liveremotes (broadcasting from outside of the studio at events) in whichrecordings can be sent digitally to the radio station and placed in theroll on the computer.
“As much as I love being at home the thoughtof being able to work from home it just didn’t seem feasible to dothat” said Lowes. He suggested instead that because he has to get tothe station at 4:30 a.m. when others aren’t there that it might be safefor him to do so leaving before others arrived. His boss noted thoughthat other staff come in to the station as do other people and soLowes being there in the morning wasn’t safe for others.
“Then once I thought about it I thought hey I’m going to be at home I can sleepin a little later in the morning. My wife she’s off for the next threeweeks too so I thought OK.”
Sleeping in for Lowes still means waking up earlier than most but usually he starts his day at 3 a.m.
“Now I wake up at 20 after five roll out of bed head down to the basementand start broadcasting pretty much” he said. “I have a cup of coffeeI’m here in the luxury of my own home that part of it is nice. I don’tknow if I’ll be feeling that in a week. Right now I’m kind of enjoyingit I guess.”
He admits that as nice as it is to stay home it also feels limited.
“In theory you always think oh it’d be great if I could just stay homefor the next couple of weeks I could do this I could do that catch up on my reading watch some TV see some movies that kind of thing” hesaid. “But it’ll be day seven tomorrow that I’ve been at home stayinginside and yeah I’m finding it a little bit it’s getting tedious. Ithink because I know I can’t go out or I’m not supposed to go out itmakes it more confining. Probably if I could go out I’d be fine withstaying here at home.”
Having the freedom of some space in a rural area has been helpful.
“I live on a lake so it’s not like some folks where you might be in anapartment in Toronto or something like that where you’re reallyconfined and basically I don’t really have any neighbours so I can gofor a walk outside with the dog without seeing anybody so it’s not soso bad but still it is getting a little… the walls are closing in alittle bit.”
His wife Nancy is self-isolating too and his daughter in Toronto has been checking in making sure her parents stay inrather than out and about. Lowes said he’s been watching the news withwhat he called “surreal” images of rush hour moving at a normal speedwith no gridlock on Toronto’s Hwy 401 and of canals in Venice that areclear of pollution after pandemic quarantines have kept visitors home.
Thankfully for Lowes his cold is almost gone and he said he feels nearly 100 per cent.
“It’s not easy but it could be way way worse” he said.