Music station

Ukrainian music station switches to hard news as war approaches in Lviv

An iconic Lviv radio station has gone from light entertainment to hard news since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From the first day of the Russian offensive, Lvivska Khvylya, one of the first Ukrainian radio stations created after the fall of the USSR, replaced its entertainment programs with a permanent special edition to inform its listeners about the ongoing conflict.

The station’s audience is mainly in the west of the country, an area that remained relatively safe during the war. The workshop of Lviv is 80 kilometers from the Polish border.

“We are a music and entertainment radio, but we also do a lot of news, because citizens need information, especially at this time,” says 28-year-old DJ and presenter Volodymyr Melnyk.

Between Ukrainian rock playlist and patriotic hits, Volodymyr Melnyk and his colleague and fellow DJ Andryi Antoniuk bring lightness with their humorous comments on the dark news of the day.

“We can laugh at Putin, at the Russian troops who cannot take our cities, but we cannot have fun like before the war”, underlines Melnyk.

Putting the radio on a war footing

On February 24, for the second time in its history, the 40-person team from Lvivska Khvylya went to war.

In 2014, after the annexation of Crimea and the start of the conflict with pro-Russian insurgents in the Donbass, the station had already shaken up its programs.

Since then, the team has become an important link between the authorities and the population. Lvivska Khvylya informs between 300,000 and 400,000 listeners every day; a figure that has doubled since the beginning of hostilities.

Closing of schools in Lviv, situation in the south and east of Ukraine, international statements are on the menu of the 5 p.m. bulletin.

“The war affected our work a lot, because there is also a psychological factor which, at the beginning, prevented us from working,” says Marta Oliyarnyk, a 27-year-old journalist.

Military or civilian losses are only made public in dribs and drabs.

“These numbers terrify us, we experience them personally, but we also try to give a lot of positive information like the enemy’s human and material losses,” says Oliyarnyk.

According to the journalist, the true human toll will only be known after the end of the war.

War is coming to Lviv

The role of the station has become even more important with the start of shelling in Lviv in recent days.

On the day the missiles hit the airport area of ​​Lviv (without causing any deaths), Vassil Pakouch monitored the state of dozens of telecommunications towers that relay broadcasts from Lvivska Khvylya throughout western Ukraine and as far east as Kyiv.

“These pylons are critical infrastructure. When they are attacked, it is dangerous for the population because the connection is lost”, explains Pakouch.

The engineer, who regularly climbs the pylons to carry out repairs, says he is ready to do anything to restore the connection, in the event of a bombardment.

“Even though we pray it doesn’t happen, if they destroy it, we’ll mount an antenna on a tree if needed.”

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