February 13 is World Radio Day which raises awareness about the importance of radio where everyone can feel home at ‘voice land’ as Walter Benjamin called the radio in his writings for the radio.
This is the ninth year celebrating World Radio and this year’s focus turns to diversity and pluringualism. The day started as a movement from UNESCO, and was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference.
Radio is a powerful means to celebrate humanity in all its diversity and provides a platform for democratic discussions. Even though this may surprise you, radio still remains the most widely consumed medium. Whether you have the radio on in your car, or whilst cooking or if you’ve evolved to the modern cousin the podcast, everyone at some point or another listens to the radio.
It’s unique ability to reach out to a wide audience means that radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity as well we stand as a platform where people of all ages are ready to speak out and to be heard.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, addressed the day in a message “through the freedom it offers, radio is thus a unique means of promoting cultural diversity. This is particularly the case for indigenous peoples, from whom radio can be an accessible medium for sharing their experiences, promoting their cultures and expressing their ideas in their own languages”.
She went on to describe how community radio stations also act as a voice for the concerns of many social groups whose voices would have much less impact in public debate without radio.
Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations.
This edition of World Radio Day will focus on Pluralism, Representation and Diversity paying particular attention to promoting greater participation by women in the radio industry.
“Whenever we turn on the radio, the phenomena that ensue have a certain expression. The radio ‘talks to us’, even though we listen to no-one”. With these words, Theodor Adorno celebrated the magic of radio, the magic that we continue to sustain on World Radio Day.