This week, the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved a proclamation (PDF) for the establishment of a World Radio Day on February 13 (in honor of the day in 1946 that the United Nations established the concept of United Nations Radio). The objectives of this annual event would be:
1. to raise the understanding among the public and the media of the value of radio, including in the context of new media, and the value of actively supporting radio
2. to encourage decision-makers to support, establish and provide access to radio
3. to provide a networking focus for radio proponents and practitioners worldwide, to exchange ideas, experiences and resources
4. to highlight selected issues each year to radio practitioners and the public, galvanizing otherwise dispersed support
In their proclamation, UNESCO makes their recommendation to the General Conference, asking it to “proclaim a World Radio Day and that this Day be celebrated on 13 February, the day the United Nations established the whole concept of United Nations Radio.” Additionally, UNESCO “invites all 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 the World Radio Day, in the way that each considers most adequate.”
The proclamation goes into detail about the important role that radio plays around the world, stating that radio is a “low-cost technology, both to broadcast and to receive, that is equally suited to reach global, national or local audiences” and that it is “ideal in areas of low literacy or for serving small specialized audiences” and “an essential component of emergency communication systems and ideal for supporting disaster relief efforts.” The proclamation goes on to state that despite the popularity of radio, “the benefits of radio are far from fully realized,” with “up to a billion people” still without access to radio. It also argues that, “While for billions of people radio is the most accessible and affordable mass medium and in many cases the only one, it is in danger of being overshadowed by digital technologies on the public agenda. A World Radio Day would highlight radio’s importance and support innovation in both policy and practice.”
It’s unclear when this proclamation will be approved and endorsed by the General Assembly, but for radio fans all over the world, it’s a worthy endeavor.