Happy World Radio Day 2020!
World Radio Day is an annual UNESCO initiative to highlight the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe. It provides an opportunity to increase awareness of the value of high quality, distinctive broadcasting from both public and commercial radio, as well as its economic and cultural contribution.
In the UK, Radiocentre is celebrating World Radio Day by focussing on how the medium makes a meaningful difference to people’s lives. Since writing about radio, and what it means to me back in 2019, as ever, I love it even more than I did then (almost ridiculously so) with a love affair that began by tuning around the dial to hear far-off FM-stations.
Over the years, it’s impossible to express all the moments when the mediums serendipity, ubiquity and stunning ability to impart peoples stories in the most immediate and accessible way has made a difference to my life - there has been so many memories made through radio….
Back in the early nineties it was Bruno Brookes presenting the ‘ONE FM Top 40' - with ghetto-blaster locked to 97.9 on sunny Sunday evenings. Nowadays you’ll find me listening to Nemone’s ‘Electric Ladyland’ via the BBC Sounds app, or a Spotfiy playlist on my daily commute.
Saturday afternoons at our Grandparents house in Hinckley where my cousin David and I always tried to tune into London’s 95.8 Capital FM. Saturday afternoons nowadays are all about Gilles Peterson on 6Music over a craft beer (or two).
In the mid-nineties, we would fax radio stations across the UK requesting ‘stickers and information’. Nowadays still delighted by an on-air mention - my favourite of all being “Ian and Iain are on a road trip to Poland right now” on 6Music when Ian and I were on the Autobahn en-route to Poznan.
Radio is local - hearing your friends on BBC Radio Leicester discussing film, culture and creativity in your home city. Radio is truly international - in 2014 after saying farewell to New Zealand’s magnificent capital city, our hire car radio found a superb program about the city’s theatre scene on 738am Wellington Access Radio - the perfect wave goodbye.
So I guess you could say that radio has - and continues - to make a meaningful difference to my life.
Of radio I love the history, I love the stunning number of listening possibilities, I love how the technology is constantly progressing. I love so many of the characters who’ve graced our airwaves over the years. I love how radio links so seamlessly to so many aspect of modern life be it music, politics, science, cities and geography. I love the architecture, the infrastructure, even the boring technical stuff. I love its ubiquity - its in my car, on my desktop, in every room of the house, I especially love how its anywhere and everywhere - thanks to my smartphone! I even love the bureaucracy of it all, the licensing and regulation.
Most of all I love the serendipity you find after tuning in or logging on and still finding myself - on an absolutely daily basis - surprised, enlightened or entertained by this truly wonderful medium.
Happy World Radio Day 2020!