Freddie Mercury proclaimed his love for radio at Live Aid for all to hear, and today, you should too! World Radio Day is an international holiday whose goal is to promote the importance of radio, encourage decision-makers to provide easier access to information through radio, and to enhance cooperation and connection among broadcasters around the world. So turn up the dial and tune in, listeners, because it’s time to go a little radio ga ga!
History of World Radio Day
Spain initially put forth the proposal to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the establishment of World Radio Day. February 13, the founding day of the United Nations Radio in 1946, was a natural choice for the holiday date. In 2011, UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed Feb. 13 World Radio Day. After a wide consultation process carried out by UNESCO in June 2011 and with the support of broadcasting unions and association the world over, the United Nations General Assembly on Jan. 14, 2013, formally endorsed Feb. 13 as World Radio Day. World Radio Day now stands as a day to raise awareness about this powerful communication medium and its ability to influence public opinion, discourse, and education.
More on World Radio Day
On World Radio Day (WRD), the UNESCO urges decision-makers to provide information through the radio format. Each year, UNESCO offers radio broadcasters and listeners alike free resources to help them celebrate and promote WRD. These celebration kits, available on the UNESCO’s World Radio Day webpage, offers audio messages, short videos, and banners for advertisement, as well as print sheets with ideas for WRD participation. The UNESCO holds WRD as a celebration of radio, with the hope of promoting diversity, pluralism, and representation within the radio space. Through diversity, they want to include a variety of voices and opinions on the airwaves, a mix of public, private, and community broadcasters. Advances in technology, such as Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), increases the number of stations listeners can go to. Greater representation in the newsroom widens a station's perspective on issues, opinions, and stories, raising credibility, creativity, and relevance. And the more diverse one’s content is, the farther out your reach can go, at once growing your audience and creating a tolerant, inclusive space.
How To Observe World Radio Day
World Radio Day 2020 (WRD 2020) focused on radio station diversity. You can check out their list of ideas for celebration here. The list is geared toward radio station broadcasters, so how is the average joe to celebrate WRD? Here are a few suggestions:
Break out the old boombox. If you have an old radio sitting in the dark corner of your attic, basement, or garage, bring that sucker out of retirement, dust it off, and see if it still has some life in its circuit board. It can be fun to turn back the clock and revisit those old cassette tapes!
If you’re a radio listener, hop on social media and shoutout some of your favorite stations! Explain a little bit about what World Radio Day is, and post with the #WorldRadioDay
If you’re a radio broadcaster, create a few programs revolving around the themes of World Radio Day. The UNESCO offer up a new theme/topic every year, so stay tuned to their website to stay current and up to date.
“On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the enduring power of radio to promote diversity and help build a more peaceful and inclusive world.”
-UN Secretary-General António Guterres