Al Jazeera: In the internet age, radio still rules the world

ETOW-Uganda-Radio

Teacher and student with Ears To Our World radio in rural Uganda (2010)

(Souerce: Al Jazeera)

The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has marked World Radio Day by calling for more freedom of expression and wider access to information in times of emergencies and disasters.

While digital technology dominates the modern means of transmitting information, UNESCO said on Saturday that radio remains the primary source of information for most people in the world.

“Radio still remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, in the quickest possible time,” the UNESCO statement said.

According to the UN, an estimated 44,000 radio stations broadcast to at least five billion people, representing 70 percent of the population worldwide.

“Radio is a platform that allows people to interact, despite different educational levels, so somebody may be illiterate but still be able to call in a show to give a testimony and participate in radio, Mirta Lourenco, a UNESCO spokesman, told Al Jazeera.

“This is not the same if the person wants to read a newspaper.”

[…]In developing countries, an estimated 75 percent of households have access to a radio, making it an essential and reliable part of disaster and emergency response, UNESCO said.

In India, the biggest advantage of radio is that it is cheap, making it accessible to 99 percent of the population, Dilip Cherian, radio commentator at Radio One India, told Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton.

The arrival of mobile phones has changed the consumption habits of millions, but many come with built-in radio chips and this has helped keep the radio industry effective, more than 120 years after the first radio broadcast.

[…]”It’s very local, very community-driven, so people feel that they can really relate to presenters and the conversations on the radio,” Amy O’Donnell, a spokesman for the aid organisation Oxfam, told Al Jazeera.

“It’s actually a very participatory mechanism in local communities for people to have their say and have their voices heard.”

World Radio Day 2016

fb banner greenFebruary 13th is World Radio Day, a day “to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe,” as UNESCO reminds us. At the SWLing Post, we get it: shortwave radio listeners understand the unique power of information unhindered by borders, censors, or subscription fees, as supplied by radio.

This year, the UNESCO theme for World Radio Day is a worthy one: “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster.”

And here are just a few ways you can celebrate World Radio Day 2016…

Ears To Our World (ETOW)

GSM Bohnso School, Cameroon (Photo courtesy of ETOW partner, EduCare Africa)

GSM Bohnso School, Cameroon (Photo courtesy of ETOW partner, EduCare Africa)

Of course, at my non-profit Ears To Our World, we celebrate the unique power of radio everyday. While we use a variety of technologies in rural and remote communities, radio still plays a central role since it’s such an accessible technology.

In 2014 and 2015, for example, we distributed Sony AM/FM radios that gave children in Sierra Leone the opportunity to listen to over-the-air classes while their school system was shut down due to Ebola.

Powered by this success, we’re now in the process of putting together radio projects for rural, off-the-grid communities in Haiti, Cameroon, and Kenya, where children and their families need the education and information radio can provide.

If you would like to help, please consider a donation of any amount.  This is unquestionably a meaningful way to give the gift of radio, as well as education.

Amateur Radio

The Phoenix Amateur Radio Club will celebrate World Radio Day on the 13th and 14th of February with on-air shortwave activities, as a key part of the club’s ongoing British Scientists Commemorations.  This sounds like an enjoyable way to honor the day as well as the contributions of British scientists.

Click here for more info.

Radio Romania InternationalRRI-RadioRomaniaInternational

Radio Romania issues the following fun invitation:

On World Radio Day 2016, we invite you, dear friends, to send us short recorded messages on this [year’s] topic, by e-mail, as audio-attachments, at engl@rri.ro. You can also send us short written messages on the importance of radio in times of disaster by e-mail or…post them on RRI’s Facebook page, on Google+, LinkedIn and Tumblr.

The most interesting texts and audio messages will be included in a special program on RRI, around February 13th, 2016.

Also, if you have royalty-free personal photos illustrative of the role played by radio in your life, or… the role of radio in times of emergency and disaster, please send them to us in electronic format, accompanied by the necessary explanations, in order to create a photo gallery on RRI’s website and to post them on our social network profiles.
Click here for the full article.

VOARadioGramVOA Radiogram

VOA Radiogram will honor World Radio Day with text and images sent via shortwave radio; you may enjoy receiving this fun “coded” message:

Old shortwave, medium wave, and longwave transmitters can be used to transmit text and images. This can be useful when the Internet is not available for any reason.

VOA Radiogram, an experimental Voice of America radio gram, transmits text and images via a 50-year-old shortwave transmitter located in North Carolina. VOA Radiogram during the weekend on 13-14 February will include a mention of World Radio Day. Receive VOA Radiogram on any shortwave radio, patch the audio into a PC or Android device using software such as Fldigi from w1hkj.com.

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):

  • Sat 0930-1000 5865 kHz
  • Sat 1600-1630 17580 kHz
  • Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
  • Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz

All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

Want the full WRD events list?

There are dozens of World Radio Day events happening around the world.  For a full list of registered events, check out the World Radio Day website.

Here’s to WRD 2016!  Enjoy!

How will you celebrate World Radio Day 2016?

World Radio Day

WRDThis was posted on the European broadcasting Union page:

To mark World Radio Day (13 February), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is organizing a ‘Musical Caravan’ from east to west in partnership with other broadcasting unions across the globe.

Listeners will be taken around the world in a little over two hours.

This special compilation submitted by EBU Members, Associates and its sister unions (ABU, ASBU and CBU*) and coordinated by the EBU Music Unit in Geneva consists of songs representing the musical heritage of 34 countries.

The broad list of contributions include a Richard Strauss lied recorded by Bavarian Radio, an Indonesian song for peace and friendship, a folk tune from India and carnival music from the Caribbean.

The EBU will also share key facts about radio listening compiled by the organization’s Media Intelligence Unit in the week leading up to World Radio Day 2016 on its Facebook page and Twitter account.

Another highlight of the EBU’s contribution to World Radio Day 2016 will be a special performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo and the Kunitachi College of Music Chorus. An interview with conductor Paavo Järvi can be found here.

EBU Head of Radio Graham Dixon said: “Radio plays a very significant part in all our lives. On average, we will listen to nine years of radio in a lifetime – more than any activity except breathing and sleeping!  Radio provides a convenient way to encounter new ideas, new music and new ways of thinking, and also provides valuable company to counter isolation and loss.  Nine years of an average lifetime is indeed an impressive figure, but the real personal impact of radio cannot be quantified. World Radio Day provides a great opportunity to reflect on the power of radio.“

– See more at: http://www3.ebu.ch/news/2016/02/ebu-takes-listeners-on-a-global

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Happy World Radio Day 2015: several ways you can celebrate

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Today is World Radio Day, a time “to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe,” UNESCO reminds us. As shortwave radio listeners, we understand this power of information without borders.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate World Radio Day 2015…

Ears To Our World (ETOW)

In Belieze, ETOW works with visually impaired children through our partner and friends at the Belieze Council for the Visually Impaired. Photo by ETOW volunteer/supporter, David Korchin K2WNW

In Belize, ETOW works with visually impaired children through our partner and friends at the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired. Photo by ETOW volunteer/supporter, David Korchin (K2WNW). Click to enlarge.

Of course, at my non-profit, Ears To Our World, we celebrate the unique power of radio everyday as well.

Indeed, we’re in the process of preparing at least another 100 radios for Sierra Leone, where children are receiving education over the airwaves as schools have been closed in an effort to stop the spread of Ebola.

If you would like to help us, please consider a donation of any amount.  Certainly a meaningful way to give the gift of radio and education.

On air events

If you can get on the air today, there are a few events happening around the world you might be able to catch:

Alexanderson Alternator Station SAQ

Alexanderson alternator in the SAQ Grimeton VLF transmitter.

Alexanderson alternator in the SAQ Grimeton VLF transmitter.

SWLing Post reader, Greg (VA7BC), passes along this announcement from the ARRL:

“The World Heritage Grimeton Radio SAQ in Sweden plans to fire up its Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz on the occasion of UNESCO World Radio Day, Friday, February 13. The station will begin tuning at 1430 UTC, and a message will be transmitted at 1500 UTC.

A message with a theme of “peace” has been put together by more than 200 citizens of Varberg, Sweden, via the “Varberg Calling for Peace” project.

SAQ will not be issuing QSL cards nor post a list of reports, but it will accept brief listener reports. The Grimeton site’s Amateur Radio station SK6SAQ will be active, using a special event World Radio Day call sign — 7S6WRD. Frequencies: 7035 kHz or 14,035 khz, CW, and 3755 kHz SSB. QSL to 7S6WRD via SM bureau.

Read the full article at the ARRL website. I will certainly attempt to hear this broadcast on 14,035 kHz CW.

If any SWLing Post readers are able to record the SSB transmission on 3,755 kHz, I would love to add the audio to our audio archive.

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union relay

ABU-logoThe Southgate ARC reports that ABU members will particiapte in a round-the-world broadcast relay:

“On Friday 13 February 2015, participating broadcasters around the globe will devote at least half-an-hour of their programming to the WRD 2015 themes “Innovation and youth in radio”.

The main organisers, the European Broadcasting Union, in partnership with the ABU and other broadcasting unions, will also offer three short optional pre-recorded radio features devoted to Radio and Youth, Radio and Innovation and the History of Humanitarian Use of Radio: UN Radio.

The segments can be used whole or in part in a time slot of each station’s choice. Most of the features will also be available with scripts in French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, thanks to the UN.

Speeches by UN personalities will also be available ready to use on air, plus a one-hour rights-free concert live from Geneva by the UN Jazz Orchestra will be made available.

Organisers say that, as this will be a relay following the world’s time  zones, there will be a succession of radio stations each handing over to the next participant throughout the day.

To give listeners around the world the chance to follow this special WRD program, the broadcasts will be put on an Internet stream, coordinated via the EBU in Geneva.

http://www.abu.org.my/Latest_News-@-World_Radio_Day_relays_round_the_world.aspx

4U0ITU on-air for World Radio Day

ITU-Club-LOGOAgain, the Southgate ARC reports via the ARRL:

“The ITU International Amateur Radio Club station in Geneva will use the special call 4U0ITO to mark World Radio Day on Friday, February 13

The ARRL report this event also marks the kickoff for the International Telecommunication Union 150th anniversary.

International Amateur Radio Union President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, will inaugurate special call sign 4U0ITU at 0900 UT. He will be accompanied by ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao, other elected officials and VIPs.

The IARC will use the 4U0ITU call sign until the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015, November 2-27.

World Radio Day commemorates the first broadcasts of UN Radio in 1946.”

Send listener reports to your favorite shortwave broadcasters

DW Kigali QSL CardMany of your favorite shortwave broadcasters will dedicate a portion of their programming to World Radio Day.

This is the perfect day, as a listener, to let your favorite broadcasters know you’re listening! Send in a proper QSL report–mention the time, frequency and type of programming you heard. Give the broadcaster a proper signal report as well (click here to read about the universally accepted SINPO code). Broadcasters love to hear about any insight you pulled from their news items or reports–the more detail, the better. And thank them for broadcasting over shortwave.

You can typically find contact information on the broadcaster’s website.  If you have any difficulty, please comment and I, or another reader/contributor, will try to help.

Happy World Radio Day!

It’s been fun to see how World Radio Day has grown over the years. I believe it’s a wonderful reason to celebrate all that we love about radio.

To celebrate  World Radio Day 2013, UNESCO asked me to record why I believe radio is relevant today. Here was my response:

Click here to read more about World Radio Day.

Today is UNESCO World Radio Day 2014

unesco_wrd_logoToday is UNESCO World Radio Day–a day to celebrate the continued relevance of radio in the twenty-first century.

You can make a difference with radio.  Here’s how:

  1. Send a shortwave radio, care of Ears To Our World. You can send one self-powered shortwave radio to a classroom or community in the third world for as little as $40.  In impoverished regions still without internet access or electric power, your tax-deductible donation of one radio can inform and empower an entire community of listeners.
  2. If you’ve heard my 2013 recording for UNESCO regarding the relevance of radio, you may also like to visit World Radio Day’s webpage and listen to what others have to say about the relevance of shortwave radio. Share this page with your friends.
  3. If you do nothing else, please contact your representative(s) and remind them of the continued importance of shortwave radio in today’s world. Click on the following links to search for your government representative(s) in the USACanadaUnited Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  4. Need more ideas to celebrate World Radio Day?  Check out UNESCO’s list.

Oh, and here’s one more thing you can do:  Simply turn on your radio, and listen.  I’m pleased to note that World Radio Day, although still a fairly new international holiday, is receiving increased media attention each year.  After all, radio listening can be a wonderful, meaningful experience–as well as a worthy cause.  So, enjoy!

Happy listening,
Thomas

“Why The Humanitarian Community Should Shape The Future Of Shortwave”

300px-Hurricane_Isabel_from_ISSAs World Radio Day approaches, writer Mehmet Burk (founder of ReliefAnalysis.com) considers the importance of shortwave radio, especially in terms of disaster relief.

Burke posted the article, Why The Humanitarian Community Should Shape The Future Of Shortwave on Interaction.org. Here’s a quote:

“In the 1980s and 1990s, shortwave radio was an audio version of today’s internet. Almost every nation on earth broadcast a shortwave signal and vital humanitarian news and local depictions of current events could literally be heard half a world away. The Internet did to shortwave broadcasting market much like what it did to print newspapers.[…]

But radio remains the most wide-reaching media platform in the world today. In areas like Africa and the Pacific, it is the dominant form of communication. Like no other form of media, radio can bridge the digital divide and literacy divide in regions across the globe. Radio receivers can be made to be inexpensive, ruggedized, and indispensable in a disaster or humanitarian situation. In the future, shortwave receivers may even simply be stand-alone microchips we can activate using our smartphones and tablets.”

I’m honored that Burk reached out and even quoted me in this article.

Click here to read: Why The Humanitarian Community Should Shape The Future Of Shortwave.

Many thanks to Mehmet Burk for considering radio’s importance in the wake of disaster and honoring World Radio Day 2014!

Three things you can do to honor World Radio Day 2013

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Children in South Sudan listen to their favorite shortwave program, VOA Special English. (Photo: ETOW partner, Project Education Sudan)

From my previous posts today you’ll already know it’s UNESCO World Radio Day–a day to celebrate the relevance of radio in the 21st century. Here are some ideas of how you can celebrate and make a difference with radio:

  1. Send a shortwave radio, care of Ears To Our World. You can send one self-powered shortwave radio to a classroom or community in the third world for as little as a $40.
  2. Sign the petition to keep RCI Sackville from being dismantled–Senator Hugh Segal is in the process of holding the CBC accountable for slashing RCI’s budget. Add your voice to support this cause.
  3. If you’ve heard my recording for UNESCO regarding the relevance of radio, you may also like to visit World Radio Day’s webpage and listen to what others have to say about the relevance of shortwave radio. Share this page with your friends.

…Oh, and one more thing:  you can turn on your radio, and listen.  World Radio Day is a young international holiday, but I’m most encouraged to see how it is receiving increased media attention each year.  This is a wonderful, meaningful hobby–and a worthy cause–so, enjoy!

Happy World Radio Day!

Cheers,
Thomas