Every year, the United Nations celebrates World Radio Day on February 13. This day also marks the start of United Nations Radio in 1946. Now, while I don’t normally get excited about things the UN does, World Radio Day is interesting.
It reminds us that radio is still the world’s most massive mass media. It is cheap, powerful and everywhere. Especially for those in less developed countries outside of North America and Europe. It reaches people of all ages and walks of life, especially rural. Traditional radio still rules the day in many parts of Africa, Asia and South America.
The world turns on more than 2 billion radios every day. These radios tune in to more than 50 thousand radio stations. Listen to some of them. Radio is deeply embedded in most people’s lives and habits. For most of us, radio is the original social media.
Radio broadcasting content can be viewed as either community or music. Broadly defined, radio reaches as many people today as it did twenty years ago. But this is mainly for radio as community. Your link to news, weather, traffic reports and opinion. When it comes to radio as music, broadcasting’s share of audience has dropped to somewhere around 40-50%.
Audiences for traditional radio are in a long term decline. Radio is now consumed on-line, through satellite and downloads such as podcasts. Although AM and FM broadcasting is still a force to be reckoned with, young people are nearly as likely to be listening on computer speakers or smart phones.
World Radio Day in 2017 Marks A Transition
The slogan for this year’s event is “Radio Is You”. A skeptic might say “radio is through”. Consider this. By the end of 2017, humans will own more smart phones than radios. That’s 2 billion of each. We already use 6.8 billion mobile phones of all types.
On the other hand, we still seem to have a lot of trouble communicating.