The author is a consultant specialist for the Media Development & Society, Communication & Information Sector at UNESCO
PARIS — There are many challenges the world is facing at the moment, including the media sphere. False news websites, echo chambers on social media and lack of media and information literacy can promote misunderstandings between different groups of people.
Radio is a terrific antidote for many reasons. Its ability to broadcast marginalized voices to wide audiences allows it to be a medium for education and information, as much as it is a medium for music and entertainment.
PROVIDING A VOICE
By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio can provide the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face. World Radio Day 2017 is a chance for all of us who are involved in radio to celebrate it as a dynamic, real-time medium and how this helps shape our lives.
For radio stations, the theme for 2017 is all about audience participation and engagement — providing your listeners with a voice, not simply on-air, but in the policy and planning of your station. Where social media and audience segmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and promote positive dialogue for change.
“The theme for 2017 will be ‘Radio is You!’ giving you as broadcasters a wide scope to use the day to promote dialogue among your audience,” said Alton Grizzle, acting chief of Section for Media and Society at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “The theme was chosen to encompass the importance of radio in how we interact with each other, crossing cultural boundaries through the sharing of music, education, stories and news and information”.
UNESCO is inviting all radio stations and supporting organizations to sign up to World Radio Day 2017 by visiting its website now. Registered users will also be able to register their events and access exclusive content and resources to help you serve your community from late December when the new-look website becomes fully available.
During the lead up to World Radio Day 2017, UNESCO is encouraging radio stations to not only register their events, but to participate in the “Radio Health Checkup.” There are many different activities to choose from, including:
1. Reviewing or creating audience engagement policies,
2. Hosting a self-review program,
3. Holding a listener forum or creating a sustainable listeners’ club,
4. Nominating an audience engagement officer or
5. Creating or strengthening an industry association or advocacy body.
For more information, please be in touch with Alison Meston: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.worldradioday.org to register.
Radio World welcomes other points of view. Please send comments to email@example.com.