We’re happy to be sharing this guest post by our friends at UNESCO.
Today, the world will be coming together to mark World Radio Day 2015. It’s an occasion to celebrate everything we love about radio, as well as encourage free, independent, and pluralistic radio. It’s also a time to take stock of the changes facing the radio sector and discuss what we want it to look like in the future.
This year young women and men will receive special attention – the theme for 2015 is ‘Youth and Radio’, with the goal of promoting greater radio production for young people made by young people themselves. More than half of the world’s population is under 30, and young people already make a huge contribution to what we hear on the radio, though it often goes unnoticed.
They’ve also been the driving force behind a tectonic shift in the media industry as a whole. The global revenue from online radio has grown exponentially from just US$28m in 2003 to well over $800m in 2013. Studies show young people now listen to the radio online just as often as on traditional radios. And, even in developing countries, more and more people access the radio through mobile phones. It’s fair to say we need to look to young people as the shapers of what radio will be in the decades to come.
In a world where youth unemployment is still almost three times the overall rate, many young people are struggling to find work in their chosen fields. In the radio sector, they often have no other choice than to take casual or freelance work, or even head off to prove themselves in high-risk conflict and disaster zones. These journalists, along with the local fixers who assist them, often have very little protection from the media organizations that rely on them for information.
First celebrated in 2012 following its proclamation by UNESCO, World Radio Day has since grown to become a major international celebration, endorsed by the UN General Assembly and bringing together people from every corner of the globe.
Radio is a fantastic medium with an incredible ability to touch lives in some of the most remote places in the world – more than 95% of the world has access to it. This World Radio Day, let us join the call to bring young people into the fold, to ensure radio lives up to its massive potential to bridge generations.