World Radio Day
13 February is World Radio Day — a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves.
As radio continues to evolve in the digital age, it remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide. This multi-purpose medium can help people, including youth, to engage in discussions on topics that affect them. It can save lives during natural or human-made disasters; and it provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories.
UNESCO encourages all countries to celebrate World Radio Day by planning activities in partnership with regional, national and international broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, the media and the public.
It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO's 36th General Conference. It was originally proposed by Spain.
Following a request from the Spanish Radio Academy, on 20 September 2010 Spain proposed that the UNESCO Executive Board include an agenda item on the proclamation of a World Radio Day. UNESCO's Executive Board approved the agenda item in its provisional agenda, for the proclamation of a 'World Radio Day' on 29 September 2011. The Board recommended to the UNESCO 36th session of the General Conference that it proclaim a World Radio Day at its 36th session, and that this day be celebrated by UNESCO on 13 February, the anniversary of the day the United Nations established United Nations Radio in 1946. It also invited all United Nations Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, professional associations and broadcasting unions, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to duly celebrate World Radio Day, in the way that each considers most adequate. The Board further requested that UNESCO's Director-General brought the resolution to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations so that World Radio Day could be endorsed by the General Assembly and celebrated by the whole system. World Radio Day was thus unanimously proclaimed by UNESCO in November 2011. In December 2012, The General Assembly of the UN endorsed the proclamation of World Radio Day, thereby becoming a Day to be celebrated by all UN agencies, funds and programmes and their partners. All regional and international broadcasting organizations supported the proclamation. Various radio industry bodies around the world are supporting the initiative by encouraging stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world.
The first World Radio Day
In honour of the first edition of World Radio Day in 2012, Lifeline Energy, FrontlineSMS, SOAS Radio and Empowerhouse hosted a seminar in London. A variety of practitioners, academics and tools providers joined at the School of Oriental and African Studies to explore ways in which radio reaches even the most remote and vulnerable communities. Speakers included Guy Berger (Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO), Dr Chege Githiora (Chairman of the Centre of African Studies at SOAS), Birgitte Jallov (Empowerhouse/ Panos London), Amy O’Donnell (FrontlineSMS:Radio), Carlos Chirinos (SOAS Radio), and Linje Manyozo (LSE). The panel was moderated by Lucy Duran (SOAS, BBC Radio 3, Human Planet). At the University of Pisa in Italy, a public event was held on 13 February 2012 to commemorate World Radio Day. The event was organized by Italradio and the Faculty of Engineering and Telecommunication. The seminar focused on radio broadcasting being an easy and cheap access to information. Pisa was chosen as the first Italian city to host an intercontinental radio station built by Marconi in the early years of 20th century.
In 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, a public event organised by College of Telecommunications Engineers of Catalunya (COETTC) was held on 21 February 2012 to commemorate World Radio Day. The event was organized with the help of the Government of Catalonia. There were panellists from radio stations and personalities from the world of radio broadcasting in attendance. The main event was a panel discussion entitled: 'For a more global and competitive radio'. In Switzerland, the European Broadcasting Union organised a Digital Radio Week. This was a series of technical events starting on 13 February 2012, with the participation of the main radio standardisation organisations: DRM Consortium, WorldDMB, RadioDNS. There was also a local digital radio transmission in DAB+ demonstrating the democratization of transmission for smaller structures, using CRC mmbTools open software defined radio tools.