Yes to Radio to Trust
Many of us grew up listening to radio broadcasts, be it news, music, or cricket commentary. Even today, getting recognised by All India Radio as graded artists enhance musicians’ CV. Radio Ceylon’s popularity and its reach on the weekly show “Binaka Geeth Mala” and the unforgettable voice of Ameen Sayani still lingers in the minds of many. Many of us grew up listening to cricket commentary on Radio. It all started with the recommendation of the Spanish radio academy in 2010 to UNESCO for initiating the World Radio Day observation. After several discussions and consultations, its 36th session of its General Conference adopted February 13th to be observed as World Radio Day. It is into the 11th year.
Its unique ability to reach out to the audience and accessible anywhere and anytime. Despite being more than 100 years old, the Radio remains one of the most popular ways to exchange information save lives during natural or human-made disasters. Radio reaches everyone and has been with us longer than any other broadcast media. More people have access to Radio than anything else, and more importantly, it is free. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Radio made it possible to ensure continuity of learning, fight against misinformation, and promote barrier gestures. Journalists find in it a platform to report facts and tell their stories.
It is reported that the idea of the existence of radio waves and the feasibility of radio transmission was by Scottish Scientist James Clark Maxwell in the 1860s. Marconi, the Italian inventor, is credited for radio invention, sent, and received the first radio signal in Italy in 1895. At one time, Radio was the only broadcast means for news and entertainment. The impact of Radio and the disruption it can cause can be inferred from a broadcast by CBS in 1938 titled “War of the Worlds”. What was intended to be a Halloween prank led many to believe Martian’s invasion of Earth. Chaos erupted in the streets of many cities. Such has been its influence. Some new initiatives like Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) Consortium, which aims to be a “one-to-many” platform, digital Radio, can deliver audio and text over vast areas and to all the schools and students in remote villages.
We turn to Radio more than to any other medium when we need to be informed.Audrey Azoulay
Director-General of UNESCO
Radio is everywhere, with ~75% of households in developing countries having access to a radio. There are more than 44,000 radio stations worldwide. AM/FM radio counts for 86% of the total time adults aged 25-54 spend listening. Over time, it has become more interactive, with more radio call‐in shows to encourage participation. With the spread of mobile phones, a convergence with radio listening has emerged.
In India, broadcasting began in June 1923 with the Bombay Presidency Radio Club programs. External service started on October 1st, 1939. In 1947 when India became independent, the AIR network had only six stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli). All India Radio (AIR), established in 1936, known since 1957 as Akashvani, is India’s national public radio broadcaster. All India Radio is the largest radio network globally and one of the largest broadcasting organisations in the world in terms of the number of languages broadcast and the spectrum of socio-economic and cultural diversity it serves. AIR’s service is delivered through 420 stations across the country, reaching nearly 92% of the country’s area and ~99% of the total population. AIR originates programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects. The use of the word ‘Akashvani’ in the context of Radio was credited to Prof M. V. Gopalaswami from Mysore, who in 1936 set up India’s first private radio station. It was later adopted as All India Radio’s on-air name in 1957. Given its literal meaning in Sanskrit (“Voice from the Sky”), it is more than an appropriate name for the broadcaster. The Vividh Bharati Service was launched in 1957. With the emergence of TV and when the popularity of Radio waning out, FM radio came and gave a rebirth to radio broadcasting. The first FM service began in 1977 in Chennai and has seen extensive expansion during the 1990s. Community Radios local radio stations gave a new dimension to radio broadcasting.
Due to MannKiBaat, I repeatedly see how the Radio can be a great medium to share positivity as well as recognise those who are at the forefront of bringing a qualitative change in the lives of others. I would also like to thank all those who contribute to this programme.Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Reaching out to people is of paramount importance, and Radio plays an important role. The emergence of the internet provides a new impetus to Radio with many options for the communicators and listeners. With mobile on almost everyone’s hand and the internet invasion, it gives new dimensions to the Radio broadcast. It is relatively easy to set up your own “Internet Radio”, which goes beyond the commercial connotation.
The trust in radio journalism can be sustained by producing independent and high-quality content based on verifiable information. Public interest should be paramount. Radio stations’ economic survival and ability to attract and retain the listeners base is a challenge to be addressed. Ensuring the viability and competitiveness of the radio stations are the challenges to be addressed. Humans always aspired to find avenues to communicate, and Radio is doing yeomen service to humankind. As the world changes, so do Radio. It evolved, adapted, innovated, and continue to connect. Let us celebrate the power of Radio to reflect and promote diversity in all its forms.
The ToonLogs posted on the theme earlier can be accessed at: