Fall in love with radio . . . again

Saturday is World Radio Day. The aim, according to the official website, is to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation amongst broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community stations alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression, and gender equality over the airwaves. Lofty goals. This Sunday is Valentine’s Day. And we all know what this is about.

At ReelWorld our mantra has always been to make great radio and with our jingles and radio imaging we remain proud to play a small part in the industry’s continued evolution. I’m sure, without too much thought, we can all reel off the unique benefits of the medium that have set it apart for over 100 years.

Last year we were thrilled to be part of the Radio Everyone initiative and it was no coincidence that radio was chosen as the platform to engage the world about the UN’s Global Goals. Radio has the biggest reach of any medium on the planet and in the quickest possible time. When the weather turns, unrest breaks out, or an emergency unfolds, it’s radio that steps up to the plate.

In the developed world we take a lot of this for granted as shiny new digital media has muscled in on the action. A worry is that people who were once shaping the future of our industry have turned their creative attention elsewhere. It should concern us when we hear about great talent, both on the programming and presentation side, leaving the industry to do other things. I’m also concerned when I hear of fantastic job opportunities around the world that radio stations can’t find the right talent to fill. And what about the next generation that never choose the radio path in the first place?

We all need to do more to encourage the new school of talent to get hold of and shape the future of our medium. At ReelWorld we have supported initiatives like the ReelWorld Rising Stars in the US, the ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 in the UK, and Next Gen from Radiodays Europe. Maybe you have similar initiatives where you are. In the UK hats off to both Global Radio and Bauer Media with their respective Academy initiatives. This is the kind of action we need.

So on World Radio Day, let’s not sit too smugly in our comfy, established media seats but look to places around the world where the essence of radio is truly valued – from Ecuador to Cameroon and the Philippines to Chile – and the case studies that show how powerfully it has been used to save and enhance lives. You never know, it might help us realize the value of what we have and think about what more we can do to champion our medium.

And with Sunday being Valentine’s Day maybe there’s a case to combine the two and show some love for radio all weekend long.


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