World Radio Day

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

picture of an old transistor radio

Sr. Clementina reflects on the world day of Radio celebration and its importance in her country of Nigeria.

Today February 13th is the world day of Radio celebration.

The day was proclaimed on the 3rd November 2011 during the 36th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It was originally proposed by the Spanish Kingdom; the first procedure was in January 2008 by the President of the Spanish Radio Academy, Mr. Jorge Alvarez. The day, 13th February was chosen in recognition of the day the United Nations Radio was established in the year 1946.

Various radio industry bodies around the world have been supporting the initiative by encouraging radio stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world.

Presently, the radio set seems to be the easiest and most affordable means of telecommunication. Until the invention of the social media, it (the radio) was widely regarded as the only handy medium for information dissemination. It is the easiest, in the sense that most current electronic devices such as GSM among others have access to radio signals; most affordable, in the sense that anyone regardless of his/her status can boast of an access to radio communication.

National Radio Day is a time for communities across the country to celebrate radio. The goal is to strengthen the radio ecosystem, highlighting all kinds of radio, but especially stations that focus on local service. We want to ensure that amazing noncommercial stations are included in the national conversation.

From events and parties to special programming and more, there are so many ways for listeners, producers and stations to get involved.

Radio is more than the warm sound from a Neumann U87, NPR’s virtual house microphone. Radio is the lives we touch.

It’s the first time you heard B.B. King, the time you had to look up a word someone used or a meme that came up, and the people we listen to and with whom we become acquainted.

The world used to be a much bigger place, at least when you consider the difficulty involved with transmitting information from place to place. In the beginning we simply had to walk and talk to one another, and then we were able to write and exchange letters. Ideas and music travelled the world at a snail’s pace as compared to today. But then the radio was invented, and suddenly transmitting ideas hundreds of miles became a relatively trivial matter! The world became connected, and it would never be the same again.

World Radio Day in Nigeria

In Nigeria, you could find any ordinary man have to carry their Radio around in the farms and in the rural places where electricity does not exit, the same as any other developing countries.  It is cheap and affordable. For instance, a portable radio set can be obtained at the rate of two thousand naira (N2000) in any local market in Nigeria, and the Direct Current (DC) battery, which could be used to power the said device, can be purchased at most hundred naira (N100). But a GSM, which could guarantee an access to a certain social media such as Facebook, can never be obtained at less than five thousand naira (N5000); in most cases, it takes only Symbian phones such as Android, Phantom, iPod, and Blackberry for one to gain access to most recent social media like BBM, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, and what have you, and such phones cannot be obtained at less than twenty thousand naira or thereabout.

The television communication system is not left out in this analysis or comparison. In an average electronics market in Nigeria, a 14-inches television set is sold at about sixteen thousand naira or above. And after purchasing the TV Set, the consumer still needs to obtain an outdoor antenna to enable him boast of absolute clarity while using the device. Even, sometimes he may still need to buy a Power Generating Set to aid power supply since there is no assurance for steady power supply anywhere in Nigeria.

This implies that another remarkable phenomenon to be considered while comparing a radio communication system with other means of telecommunication is that due to instability of power supply in most developing nations like Nigeria; acquiring information through the communication system in question has remained the only reliable means of telecommunication in existence.

On the other hand; considering other means of communications such as the print media, how many Nigerians can afford a two hundred naira (N2000) or hundred and fifty naira (N150) newspaper, as the case may be, on a daily basis, or even a four hundred naira (N400) newsmagazine weekly? Needless to say; the print media is not just expensive to an average Nigerian but no doubt an exorbitant means of communication, compare to radio broadcasting service.

As the global society celebrates the sixth edition of the annual World Radio Day, there is need for the totality of the Nigerian Radio Broadcasting industry to be overhauled. In this regard, the concerned bodies should as a matter of urgency, be mandated to switch over from the ongoing analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting.

World Radio day is worth celebrating because it caught across the rich and the poor, this is the only hope for those who are not educated and cannot read or write.  There is a need to give this day a very great attention.

Yes, radio broadcasting service remains the most reliable and affordable means of communication in the world, but it is worthy to note that its reliability or affordability is liable to become a thing of the past if abused or if adequate attention is not given to the sector. “Comrade “Nwaozor from Owerri,Imo state”

How to Celebrate Radio Day

Radio Day is a great opportunity to remember all those years we spent traveling with Walkman, and enjoying the best and newest music broadcast from your local radio station. Set aside your CD’s and MP3 players, and remember when you discovered new music by what they played on the radio. Dig out that old boom box and drag it down to your local beach or park to reconnect to your local radio community, and remember what the world was like before whatever music we wanted was at our fingertips.

Maybe you’ll find we’re better for it, or maybe you’ll realize that the news broadcasts kept you in touch with your community, the voice of local celebrities accompanying you and bringing a hometown feel to your morning commute, your lunchtime break, or even your road trip.

History of Radio Day

According to Sabrina Roach and Ernesto Aguilar: August 15, 2016
Radio waves was originally discovered by one Heinrich Hertz, following on the heels of his discovery of electromagnetic radiation. While experiments were performed in using this energy to transmit information, it wasn’t until 1890 that the word radio was first applied, when the radio-conducteur was invented by French Physicist Édouard Branly. Previous to this all forms of communication using this discovery was known as wireless communication, but eventually radio spread across the world and became the go-to term.

Radio quickly spread to find applications in every conceivable venue, from transmitting information, to broadcasting music, and even serving as a way of transmitting stories. Long before there was TV, there was Radio Theater, (incidentally, this also brought along the creation of Foley artists, but that’s another story entirely).

Radio had been recognized as having such a profound impact on the world today that the Spanish Radio Academy put in a formal request to have Feb 13 be established as ‘World Radio Day’ on September 20th 2010. On September 29 2011 the UNESCO officially proclaimed that it be established the following February. So it was that the first World Radio Day was celebrated on February 13 2012.

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Sr. Clementina Obembe, OSF

Sr. Clementina Obembe, OSF
HESA Alumna and former ASEC Regional Director for West Africa - Nigeria  

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