3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline 2020 January 8, 2021


At 3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline 2020, 3FM took action to relieve medical workers and prevent the spread of the Corona virus. In the week before Christmas (from 18 to 24 December) three DJ teams went into lockdown to raise money for the Red Cross.

Jacco van der Voort, Technical producer at Backbone, produced a 7 day show on behalf of NPO 3FM.

While NPO 3FM has its own producers for the programming, Backbone helps with everything else- from permit applications to stage setup to lighting and decor to even building a skate ramp. 

In a non-pandemic situation, 3FM DJ teams walk a mapped-out route of almost 500 km through the Netherlands- to collect donations with actions from the listeners. This year was different. The 3 DJ teams went into lockdown at the location Vliegveld Twenthe evenementenlocatie. Instead of miles on the street, miles were made on the treadmill. One of the biggest challenges of this project was the last minute switch of location. Normally, talks and requests for production material start in May. However, this time around, it was only in the last week of October that the go-ahead was given to organise 3FM Serious Request: The Lifeline.

Jacco: “Backbone plays the role of a facilitator for what 3FM comes up with in terms of (fundraising) activities. Backbone ensures that it is all done within regulation and that all the necessary tools are in place. Where we would normally cross the forest in golf carts, the playing field is now slightly smaller. We have to think and act creatively. For example, building a skate ramp inside the hangar, but also taking care of the band aids and apples for the DJs on the treadmill”. 

At the end of October, all teams had to start from scratch. The original ‘outdoor plan’ could not take place due to the RIVM measures and regulations. Of course, this meant putting our heads together and going back to the drawing board. On one hand, it was disappointing. On the other hand, it was great to see all teams find the energy to jointly and creatively come up with a new concept, in a short span of time. Everyone has a common goal in mind and goes to great lengths to make the best possible program, and to collect as much money as possible for the Red Cross. This exercise always creates high levels of team spirit.


In 2020, we had not 1 outdoor stage, but an outdoor AND indoor stage. Not a running track that people can join from outside, but treadmills in the hangar. Not a large crew with freedom and unlimited spontaneity, but a smaller team on location that must adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. Not a lighting plan to highlight the public, but rather the emptiness. This year saw lots of changes. But definitely not at the expense of the show, quite the contrary. 

Ultimately, 3FM Serious Request; The Lifeline delivered a great result with 7 days of live radio & TV. € 1,601,923 has been donated to the Red Cross, which will be used to relieve medical workers in The Netherlands and abroad as well as prevent the spread of the Corona virus.



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