Today (13th February) is World Radio Day. Now in its 8th year, World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It is an annual celebration of radio as a medium and it raises awareness about the importance of radio and strengthens networking among broadcasters. Today we celebrate radio and, in particular, how it shapes and impacts our lives.

Every day, radio fulfils a multitude of roles for listeners around the world. It educates, informs, advises and entertains and it is the last remaining real-time mass medium. Radio is always on and is a highly flexible medium that has adapted to-  adopted, and continues to adopt- new technologies that enhance the relationship that stations have with their listeners.

As a mass medium, radio reaches the widest audience in the world and it is an immensely powerful communication tool. It is exceptionally well-suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people, giving them a platform to intervene in public debate and discourse. And when disasters and emergencies arise, radio is the “go-to” medium of choice.

Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and consistently offering new ways for audiences to engage, interact and participate. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges faced by society.

Each year, UNESCO has a theme for World Radio Day and this year, the theme is Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace. This theme looks at the role that radio plays in providing a platform for democratic debate over issues. It also looks at how radio programming can build tolerance and surpass the differences separating groups by uniting them under common goals and causes.

Radio is an industry that we all love; one within which we should feel honoured and privileged to work. It provides us with an opportunity to impact and influence people’s lives.

In all my radio talks, I define radio as a Real-time; Audio; Decision – Influencing; Opportunity. From the second the listener switches the radio on, we are affecting their lives and influencing their decisions and we need to ensure that we understand the responsibility that imposes on us. It is our duty to provide content that is compelling, content that will make listeners want to stay with us. We need to constantly strive for excellence; constantly aim to exceed the expectations of our listeners to the point that their relationship with our station- and indeed with us- is unbreakable.

A few years ago, Commercial Radio Australia ran a campaign with the tagline: “When you advertise on radio, they hear it from a friend”.