A true story: when I used to have a day job, I’d listen to BBC Radio Scotland during my morning commute. I’d listen to the people on comedian Fred MacAulay’s programme and think “that must be a laugh to do. Imagine if that was your job.” These days, I’m one of the people going on Fred’s programme, and I’m thinking “this is a laugh to do. I can’t believe this is my job.”
Radio’s a magical thing. I have fond memories of listening to Irish radio under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep as a child, trying and failing to get into the bands on John Peel’s playlist as an adolescent, drunkenly calling late-night phone-in idiot-fests as a twentysomething, hearing my own band played on an indie rock show in my late twenties and damn near falling out of my car laughing at various programmes – some of them serious – today. It’s a fantastic medium and I feel very privileged to be even slightly involved in it.
It’s World Radio Day today. As UNESCO director general Irina Bokova says:
â€œIn a world changing quickly, we must make the most of radioâ€™s ability to connect people and societies, to share knowledge and information and to strengthen understanding. This World Radio Day is a moment to recognise the marvel of radio and to harness its power for the benefit of all.”
Since the first broadcast over 100 years ago, radio has proven to be a powerful information source for mobilizing social change and a central point for community life. It is the mass media that reaches the widest audience in the world. In an era of new technologies, it remains the worldâ€™s most accessible platform, a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium.