World Radio Day 2017: Bringing in Youth Audiences
Receiver on… noise… chopped up speech… antenna adjusted… noise… tuner adjusted… “Welcome, listeners, to our show…”
There is a certain charm to tuning in to a radio station and listening to one’s favorite show, to the news bulletin or to music. The static, the voice of the anchor, the assurance that there is another human on the other end of the line… everything about the radio makes it a medium that is still present in people’s lives today, as strongly as can be, despite the advent of smartphones and new devices. Perhaps what keeps the radio alive is its wide reach of the general public, its “portability” (and accessibility online today), its engagement with listeners and its power to bring communities together.
The February 13th celebration of World Radio Day this year comes as an emphasis to the important role that radio plays to further the Sustainable Development Goals by offering a platform for dialogue, education, exchange and information-sharing. The theme “Radio is You” puts the spotlight on audience engagement.
This is how the young members of NET-MED Youth have celebrated World Radio Day 2017 across the region…
In Palestine, NET-MED Youth partnered with Radio 24FM and carried out a series of youth-targeted activities, tweaking the theme to “Radio is Youth”. The focus was on audience (and youth) engagement, on public participation and on ensuring that all voices are heard.
Starting February 1st and for 13 days, an online survey was launched to examine the extent to which youth issues are covered in Palestinian radios. Over 500 respondents, mostly aged 20 to 35, participated. The results reveal that over 60% listen to the radio daily or a few times a week, yet the majority believe that radio shows reflect moderately or to a small extent the issues that matter to them the most.
The results of the survey encourage us even more to take action and ensure that radio programs tackle youth issues and involve decision-makers in the dialogue. You can find the survey findings report here, or you can scroll down to the document.
In parallel to the survey, a vox pop was broadcast for one week and included testimonials from youth in Gaza and the West Bank on how much they feel included in the different radio programs. On February 13th, a one-hour live radio show was broadcast on 24FM with the participation of 4 members of NET-MED Youth in Palestine, a representative of the journalists’ union and the Deputy Minister of Information as guests. The discussion revolved around the ways youth can better use the radio as a medium to advocate for and promote their own issues. The results of the survey were presented during the show.
“Some local radios do broadcast youth shows but these remain very scarce,” says one respondent in the vox pop. “On the one hand, we need national radio stations to produce shows that tackle youth priorities, interests and opinions in a deeper and less superficial way. And on the other hand, youth have to put pressure and advocate for the broadcast of more shows that represent them.”
The week-long campaign in Palestine has succeeded in highlighting the role of the radio and the value of public participation, with special focus on the role of national media in advocating youth priorities and supporting radio programs that reflect youth issues and concerns.
“Local radio shows have to make more efforts to attract youth to them by creating appropriate shows. This way, youth don’t have to resort to social media in order to express their views or find news,” says another respondent.
The NET-MED Youth team in Morocco collaborated with e-Joussour (a member of NET-MED Youth - Morocco) and Forum des Alternatives Maroc on a 2-day regional conference themed “Associative Radios in the Maghreb and the Mashreq: Diagnosis and Perspectives”, on February 11, 2017.
The conference was a melting pot of expertise and experience. It gathered young members of civil society organizations, representatives of associative/community radios, journalists, academicians and researchers, media institutions, international media NGOs, national authorities in charge of communication and information and UNESCO and EU representatives. It was a full house!
The event was a major opportunity to shed light on the value of associative/community radios, where engagement and content are a two-way street between the radio station and the audience. This builds on UNESCO’s continued support to associative/community radios in Morocco and the region, including through NET-MED Youth. We recall here the project’s contribution to the establishment of Climate Radio during the COP22 last November 2016 in Marrakesh, which was the first community-run radio that obtained a temporary FM frequency in Morocco and also operated as a press agency serving community radios around the world. UNESCO’s role is essential in setting up a favorable platform for such developments, so that new forms of citizen and community media could see the day.
You will find more information on who came to our conference and what they talked about, here, or scroll to the bottom of the page for the agenda document.
To celebrate World Radio Day in Lebanon, UNESCO collaborated with four radio stations, whose broadcasts featured the experience of NET-MED Youth. Two members of the Lebanese NET-MED Youth Working Group were presenters during one of the programs produced for the occasion in partnership with Radio Voice of Lebanon, which focused on youth and the Sustainable Development Goals.
And to complement all our events, on February 13, 2017, our National Project Officer in Algeria, Nacim Filali, went on air with Jil FM radio and talked about the importance of World Radio Day, its history and the future of the radio in engaging communities.
The 8-minute show followed the EU information event #EU4Youth in Algiers a few days earlier, where NET-MED Youth participants from Algeria engaged in networking with youth from other EU-funded projects as well as national EU Delegation representatives, stressing the importance of youth engagement, particularly through the different media channels available to them.
Radio has the power to educate, inform, empower and establish dialogue and exchange; and it is only natural that young women and men will find in it a platform to express themselves. NET-MED Youth continues to collaborate with youth organizations and media professionals to ensure youth have a say, not only in the content of programs but also in their design. Exciting activities are upcoming in different countries of our project. So, all you need to do is… tune in to our website for more news and stories!
Related to World Radio Day 2017
Listen to the recordings of all our radio shows.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.