The author is World Radio Day coordinator
PARIS — UNESCO is inviting all radio stations and supporting organizations to register their events for
World Radio Day 2017, a chance to celebrate radio and how it helps shape our lives.
Now in its sixth edition, World Radio Day will once again be held on Feb. 13, with all radio stations, regulatory bodies and related organizations invited to plan special events or broadcasts to celebrate radio as a medium for dialogue.
The theme for the 2017 edition of World Radio Day is “Radio is You!,” a call for greater participation of audiences and communities in the policy and planning of radio broadcasting. More than simple on-air interaction, public participation should include mechanisms such as audience engagement policies, public editors and ombudspeople, listener forums and complaints resolution procedures.
“At a time when many are pointing to a breakdown in civil, constructive discussion, and when the very idea of truth is increasingly being called into question, radio is uniquely-positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialog for change,” said Tim Francis, associate programme specialist for Media Development and Society at UNESCO. “It has the power to take us out of our ‘media bubbles’ of like-minded people, and remind us of the importance of listening to each other once again.”
The official World Radio Day website is now online, with all organizations encouraged to sign up to register their events and special broadcasts on the world map, as well as access exclusive content and resources for how they can help to bring listeners to the heart of radio. Radio stations are encouraged to register for World Radio Day here and promote World Radio Day events or special broadcasts on the UNESCO map of activities.
One of our exciting discussions for World Radio Day this year will be how listener groups can enhance the experience for audiences. We are sharing case studies from Farm Radio International and Lifeline Energy that explore how listener groups in sub-Saharan Africa work together with local radio stations to share content ideas that have a positive impact on their lives.
We are encouraging radio stations to take the Radio Health Check-Up Challenge to see if listener groups or forums could become an integral part of programming to ensure audience engagement forms a strong connection to radio content.
To give the day a truly global feel, a signature event will also be held in Shanghai, China with the support of the Shanghai Media Group and European Broadcasting Union. A full day of radio-related discussion involving some of the leading figures in Chinese and global media will be followed by a special Chinese New Year concert dedicated to the Day.
World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. Previous annual themes have included gender equality, youth participation, and radio in humanitarian and disaster situations. In 2016, more than 380 World Radio Day events were held in more than 80 different countries. UNESCO is keen to see this number grow, and is encouraging radio stations to register their events.
For more ideas on how to participate, contact Alison Meston at [email protected].
Radio World welcomes other points of view. Please send comments to [email protected].