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World Radio Day 2023: AUB's Advocacy for Peace in the world

Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD).

The theme for the 12th edition of the World Radio Day, to be celebrated on 13 February 2023, is "Radio and Peace".

In line with this year’s celebration, the AUB was conveyed to a High Panel Round Table organized by Sputnik Press Agency and International Radio.

Here is the AUB CEO’s Presentation, on the occasion.

Dear Panelists,

All protocol observed.....................

The onset of radio broadcasting on the African continent dates back to the 1920s, with South Africa being the first to make experimental casts.

The next was in 1927 in Kenya; the East African Broadcasting Corporation (EABC) one of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s first overseas establishments created, with the mission of diffusing to the entire British colonial spectrum through radio communication.

In the Francophone region, Madagascar was the pioneer of radio and the maiden broadcast shot to the country’s airwaves in 1931, followed by Congo Brazzaville in 1936, the Congo (now DRC) in 1937 in third position and Senegal in 1939.Henceforth, the experience gained momentum and spread like a wild fire to the entire continent .

Colonial Europe was the inspirer of the establishment and launch of radio broadcasting in Africa , aiming at consolidation of their administration, political influence and cultural promotion agendas.

Secondly, some establishments would be part of the sensitive institutions of the state and act as security tools, the model upon which public service radio stations on the continent were founded.

The liberalization of the audiovisual sector on the continent, paved way to the emergence of private radio stations and with the Internet Age. This is making the radio landscape undergo profound upheavals every other day that passes.

II.Radio a Powerful Medium for Social Networking

- Common interest casts: Cases in point: Luncheon Date magazine, or other programs that go as far as obituaries.

- Family reunification; solidarity and proximity.

- Providing a platform to discuss and devise solutions to societal problems and challenges. For instance CRTV radio treats me to a wonderful evening with its interesting programmes on issues such as HIV/AIDS and self-reliance

Radio also serves as an instrument for social progression. It must be said that most of the renowned and upcoming designing and performing artists have shot to fame through radio as one of the key channels championing their presentation to the public realm. Radio has played a vital role in peace building and promotion of talents on the continent.

III. Radio Now and in the Future.

Radio remains a part of the key effective continental communication authorities in 2023 and is here to stay. Why? Because it is omnipresent (both in the rustic and metropolitan territories) contrary to other channels as per our members media spectrum statistics. The countryside is where lots of folks live, radio being their linking agent. The only indispensables are a transmitter and chemical energy banks. Even without substantive electrical current, solar energy can be an alternative.

For the ‘No Internet Access’ tribe, radio is still paramount. In view of its multiple functions, radio has a bright future ahead of it, provided it switches to the prevailing circumstances.

IV. Amplification of Our Radiocasts Radius

To broaden their target audience stretch, AUB members have been obligated to adapt to the contemporary high tech trend. The rapidly fluctuating traditional broadcast media consumption patterns have let a significant proportion of citizens accredit pricking up radio casts via the internet. Technology facilitates direct access to programs now incorporated into I-phones, smart phones, tablets, etc. Better yet, Web Applications give our media the opportunity to tap into overseas reception. A portion of the African press have created omnipresent radiocasting applications available on the web to enable domestic and diaspora audience keep in the loop of every development in their nations.

The table below is an illustration of the efforts made by media outlets regarding the inspiration. And that’s just a tip of the iceberg!

To further spread their wings , radio channels must produce and pitch top notch content available to listeners cyclically hence the existence of a Radio Commission within the AUB which I assent will have an instant success .

I’ll convene an assembly in Algiers, Algeria in the coming weeks, a session whose key item on the agenda is collective deliberation on our content attributes and credibility. Broadening our audience reach also means targeting our audience through the creation of thematic channels. Anyhow, this is insufficient to cast to an increasingly analphabetic audience. We must therefore give more notability to our content and make it accessible for mass consumption and sharing.

V. Radio Strides In the ‘Era of Social Networks.

In the social networks’ age, the media have redefined radio broadcasting. A significant number of channels assemble "filmed radio" with a signal shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Daily Motion, etc.

But how is this fairing? In our stations, guests and presenters are often filmed on digital cameras or smartphones connected to the internet; all incorporated into a "Facebook Live". (Case of CRTV FM 94 that I often watch including Equinoxe Radio, Radio Balafon etc).

"Filmed radio" has advantages, one being; ability to bob up on platforms such as YouTube or Dailymotion. This makes it possible to tap into a wider audience thus monetizing its content. The realization of spots / teasers makes it possible to make prior announcement of upcoming casts to prepare your congregation for the cast.

RF now allows listeners to a show on social networks, encouraging online interactivity, and introducing the afore hidden faces to the open realm.

However much the public is attracted by this radiocasting trend, some outlets on the African continent are still reluctant to follow suit thus a hiccup to radio transmission in the era.

VI. Radio and the Multimedia Dispensation: Streaming and Podcasts, What's Next?

A decade ago, a handful of people in Africa knew about a podcast. But today, it’s the contrary. Podcasting is becoming one of the audiocasts sharing trends attracting billions looking for content tailored to their aspirations.

Its advantage is being able to be listened as a radio program already broadcast on the airwaves or content created exclusively for broadcast on the Internet. Refer to the so-called ‘Native Podcasts’.

The Global Audio findings of a study made a few years back, indicate Podcasts consumption being at the peak with a 50 percent monthly growth annually globally , albeit its audience plane is still humble compares to radio or music streaming.

Journalism schools on the continent have incorporated Podcasting into their course modules. An example is the Journalism School at Cheikh Anta University, Senegal. Others have gone a step further by signing up for a number of podcasts-sharing platforms. Africa Podfest, a community-driven platform, to bring African voices into the global podcast space is falls into this category.

Despite the consequential efforts made in content creation, there is still a lot to be desired at several radio channels. In that regard, they have to be filled with courage to embrace the drift which is part of our agenda in the upcoming AUB Radio Commission.

VII. Internet Broadcasting Versus Frequency Modulation (FM) Broadcasting

On the African continent, part of the citizenry accesses radio on the FM band. This is cultural because Africa’s family foundation is circular and in the golden days, discussions and chit chats used to be held under a tree listening to radio via a small radio set; (Upcountry chronicles) .

Burkina Faso, one of the leading radio listening countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, houses over 150 FM radio stations. With the higher illiteracy rates, many citizens in rural areas continue to listen to conventional radio. But traditional analogue (FM, AM) is gradually giving way to digital radio. Digital Terrestrial Radio (DTR), based on DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) technology, has also been gaining momentum in recent years.

Since 2020, radio sets in the markets are Digital Audio Broadcasting compatible and new motor vehicles are equipped with radios of that kind. Consequentially, transmitters continue to be deployed for proper and clear signal transmission. However, the advantages of DTR are numerous: better sound quality, haste search for stations by name, display of associated images and the possibility of pausing a cast.

For those who are yet to embrace the trend. Shape up!

Thank you for your attention!

Algiers, February 07 2023


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