The Media Institute of Southern Africa joins the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the world in marking the fifth annual World Radio on February 13, 2016. This year’s theme for World Radio Day – “The Role of the Radio in Humanitarian Emergency and Disaster Situations” emphasises the essential role this medium plays during a critical period.
“Communication and communication technology are the most critically needed services in the first few hours and days following a disaster. The chaos that follows an emergency situation needs to be handled as efficiently and effectively as possible and this is where radio is a particularly effective communication tool, “ elaborated Ms Zoe Titus, MISA’s regional director.
“The latest and most helpful information can be disseminated immediately and this information has the potential to reach a high number of people rapidly. It is especially important for people to know what is happening, where it is happening, what services are available and where these services can be accessed, “ she added.
Mark Ramsey a veteran media strategist, researcher explains that “because radio is one-to-many, it’s great for communicating sweeping messages of critical importance to an entire community. It’s also great for creating the communal sense that “we’ll all get through this together. The calming sound of a familiar voice can keep you steady when the world seems out of whack.”
In Africa, radio continues being the most accessible communication medium because of its low cost, the ability to target marginalised and vulnerable communities – women, youth, the poor, the illiterate and disabled people. It can be available at the touch of a button anywhere – while travelling, at home, while travelling from one place to another or even at work. Radio also offers the opportunity for interaction through phone in radio programmes or through interaction with the radio presenter via other social media platforms.
“The fear that new developments would end up reducing the presence and popularity of radio is unfounded and instead the rapidly changing technological advances are enhancing the value and benefit, rather than replacing radio,” said Titus.