On Monday 13th February, the 6th World Radio Day took place. World Radio Day is an annual and global celebration of the mass media that reaches the widest audience in the world.
Radio is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Globally we need to remember that radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in urgent communication and disaster relief. Even at home in Canada, we realize how important radio can be in times of crisis and in emergencies.
We also need to remember that the radio is a source of entertainment, a beacon for news and traffic and travel updates, weather updates, and a link to the local community in which we live.
Times of listening to radio are changing as we enter a stage where people listen to the radio on their computers, tablets, phones and not just on their radio. Radio as a medium is evolving as we embrace technology and in new ways to listen. However, that said, it is believed across the world that up to a billion people still do not have access to the radio.
The date of 13 February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO as the date for World Radio Day. The objectives of the World Radio Day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.
Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.
Radio informs us and transforms us, through entertainment, information and audience participation. Having a radio means you are never alone – you always have a friend in radio.