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World Radio Day Puts Focus on “Radio and Sports!”

Aims to promote diversity, gender equality and peace and development through sports coverage

The seventh edition of World Radio Day is set for Feb. 13. With this year’s emphasis on “Radio and Sports!,” UNESCO is once again planning multiple celebrations worldwide. Radio World spoke to Belinda Gurd, coordinator for World Radio Day 2018, to learn about the organization’s objectives and plans for the 2018 event.

Belinda Gurd is coordinator at UNESCO for World Radio Day 2018

Radio World: Can you please provide a brief background on World Radio day?
Belinda Gurd:
Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day. The date was chosen to represent the day United Nations radio was launched in 1946, more than 71 years ago.

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. World Radio Day provides an annual opportunity to celebrate radio and how it contributes to democratic debate through information, entertainment and audience interaction.

Radio World: What is the theme for this year’s World Radio Day? Why?
The theme for this year’s World Radio Day is: “Radio and Sports!.” It has been chosen by members of the World Radio Day Committee (formed by the main radio broadcasting organizations and unions) to recognize and mark World Radio Day with global celebrations, which highlight the importance of radio as a medium and focus attention around the advocacy messages of this year’s WRD subthemes:

– Diversity in sports coverage
– Gender equality in sports coverage
– Peace and development through sports coverage

Radio World: What are UNESCO’s goals this year?
The Objective for the 2018 World Radio Day is to strengthen diversity in sports broadcasting and deepen the connection between current coverage and the positive values of sport, by working with radio stations and related organizations. Goals include the following:

– Improve the breadth and depth of sports covered, including raising awareness on opportunities to cover cultural/traditional sports and grassroots/community sports, especially within public service and community media.
– Encourage greater gender equality in sports radio in terms of equal opportunities for female sports broadcasters, equal representation of women’s sports, and the elimination of harmful gender stereotypes in sports coverage.
– Increase coverage of “sport for peace”-type initiatives that showcase the power of sport in bridging divides, promoting development and providing a wider range of role models for young people.

Radio World: How would you like radio broadcasters to participate this year and in the future?
Possible ways they can participate include:

– Celebrate on air: cover diverse sporting events linked to World Radio Day subthemes, or work with local sports associations to organize a special event.
– Content creation: Create WRD specific content; interviews, videos, images, jingles, stories – for promotion on the WRD Website and social feeds.
– Social Media Support: Join the conversation, follow #WorldRadioDay and spread the word about the day
– Engage their influencers: Engage their influencers to support World Radio Day.

Radio World: Can you provide some examples of how radio broadcasters are getting involved this year or have participated in the past?
Radio stations are encouraged to visit the World Radio Day website and use the rights-free content created especially for the event, to celebrate radio and sports. Here they will find over more than 15 interviews to use on the day, including a specially produced audio piece promoting fair coverage of female athletes in sports broadcasting.

“One sport; two stories” is a duel audio recording designed to highlight the difference in the way sportswomen and sportsmen are reported on. Using the power of stereo audio we were able to share the same story of a male, and a female athlete told from both perspectives but at the same time. The left channel will play the man’s voice, and the right channel will play the woman’s voice. The story will be the same but the detail will be very different.

Radio World: How do you see this event evolving over the next few years?
World Radio Day is an important day — as a global opportunity for the radio industry to highlight and celebrate the prominence of radio as a medium for connecting and informing communities, we would like to see the success of the day continue with even more radio stations taking part.