Wednesday (2/13) is World Radio Day. The United Nations describes it as a day to celebrate the medium and encourage major networks and community radio to promote freedom of expression.
UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization says radio continues to evolve during the digital age. But it says radio is still the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide. It can save lives during disasters and allow journalists to report the facts.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that following the Korean War, it was radio that served as a lifeline to the outside world.
“We had radio. And radio helped open my eyes and ears to the world. Since its invention more than a hundred years ago, radio has sparked the imagination, opened the doors for change and served as a channel for life-saving information. Radio entertains, educates and informs. It promotes democratic expression and influences ideas,” he said.
Radio is a big part of U.N. operations.
“From shortwave to FM to satellite transmission, radio connects people wherever they are. In conflict situations and times of crisis, radio is a lifeline for vulnerable communities. Radio is both valuable and cost effective. From day one, the United Nations has been using radio to reach the peoples of the world,” he said.
Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that radio can give a voice to the world’s youth.
“On World Radio Day, I encourage radio stations across the world to open up new opportunities for youth to get involved to be a part of the conversation and for communities to start listening to what youth have to say. Give them the space they deserve and help them to grow so they can in turn help themselves,” he said.
Lori Taylor is founder and CEO of Native Public Media, which serves the Native American. She said that she first heard radio when she was 10 years old on the Hopi Indian reservation in northeast Arizona. A tourist had given her grandfather a battery operated radio.
“My village is a place where there is no electricity, running water or broadband to this day. This is not uncommon across Indian country. Over 90 percent of Native Americans are not connected to broadband. Only one in three families on some tribal homelands have access to analog telephone. Against this stark reality radio is the medium that is able to reach some of the most rural and isolated native communities in the United States,” she said.
The idea of World Radio Day was first proposed by Spain.