The American Academy of Radio is celebrating this week’s World Radio Day (Feb. 13) by naming WTOP in Washington, as the first U.S. station to receive its World Radio Day Award.
The award was presented Tuesday to Senior Vice President and General Manager Joel Oxley at WTOP’s new studio facility by two members of the jury, Frank Montero, an attorney with Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, and Paul McLane, the editor in chief of trade publication Radio World.
Other jury members included Heather Cohen of the Weiss Agency, Michael Harrison of Talkers Magazine, longtime broadcaster Bob Kieve, consultant Mike McVay, Deborah Parenti of Radio Ink and Paul Rotella of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association.
The announcement was made by Jorge Álvarez, president of the Spanish Academy of Radio, whose advocacy for World Radio Day helped prompt U.N. recognition of the day. The date of Feb. 13 was settled on because it also marks the anniversary of the founding of United Nations Radio in 1946.
WTOP is Hubbard Radio’s all-news flagship station in Washington, which is Nielsen Radio Market #7. Five million people age 12+ live in the metropolitan area. The city is a globally important national capital and a vibrant local media market, with crowded suburbs and a city government and two state governments to cover; a severe traffic situation; variable weather; and a vibrant pro and college sports environment. WTOP is one of the most recognizable media brands in the city and is also the top-earning commercial station not only in Washington but in the country, according to BIA Kelsey.
World Radio Day was adopted in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, highlighting radio as “a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity [that] constitutes a platform for democratic discourse,” according to a UNESCO website.
In making the presentation, McLane said WTOP was chosen in part for its notable success at building and sustaining a media business around core concepts of localism and service to a specific and unique marketplace of listeners.
Last year’s recipient of the award was Gordon Smith, president/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, recognizing Smith’s help in establishing World Radio Day.
All radio stations can find assets to celebrate World Radio Day at its UNESCO website.
Watch a short video message about radio from the U.N. Secretary General António Guterres.
Among those noting World Radio Day is Jacobs Media. Fred Jacobs wrote in “How Will You Celebrate World Radio Day?” “Here in the U.S., World Radio Day isn’t that big a deal. But it should be. American radio has always been groundbreaking.”