“Radio and trust”: theme of this year’s #WorldRadioDay

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UNESCO calls on all radios to celebrate the eleventh edition of world radio dayunder the theme “Radio and Truston February 13.

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

Drawing on more than a century of history, radio remains one of the most trusted and widely used media.

Over the years, radio has provided fast, affordable access to real-time information and professional coverage on issues of public concern, as well as guaranteed distance education and entertainment.

Bridging traditional and cutting-edge technology, radio now offers a variety of content through different devices and formats, such as podcasts and multimedia websites.

Yet not all citizens of the world believe they are getting the information they need. Recent world events and the Covid-19 pandemic have eroded trust in the media in general, fueled by the circulation of fake content that spreads rapidly on social media.

The resulting financial constraints, which forced downsizing and loss of publicity for Internet companies, accelerated the decline in news media revenues, including for radio, and increased the costs of verified information. , especially for local radio stations.

This year’s sub-themes for World Radio Day

Trust radio journalism: Produce independent and quality content

Upholding the basic standards of ethical journalism has become a challenge in today’s digital age. However, in order to retain or increase listener confidence, journalism must continue to be based on verifiable information that is shared in the public interest, holds the powerful to account, and helps society build a better future. for everyone.

In this context, editorial independence is essential, as it can show the ability of radio stations to broadcast information without influence. In addition, understanding digital technologies and social platforms is essential to avoid the circulation of unverified information. Investing in fact-checking, investigative journalism, and rigorous verification of sources and content are some of the practices that broadcasters could strengthen to maintain public trust.

An informed audience with media and information literacy skills is also necessary, so that listeners discover, consume and react critically to the content, and thus appreciate the quality journalism that the radio station brings to them. More and more radio stations are therefore including media and information literacy programs in their programming schedule.

Trust and accessibility: Take care of your audience

Winning the trust of listeners involves conveying diversity in all its forms: origins of employees, sources of information, formats, distribution channels, programming, editorial content, etc. People who feel represented and can access information relevant to them can become loyal listeners.

However, reaching a selected audience group involves meeting the information needs of all listeners and being a catalyst for integration and social participation – including people with disabilities. Digital radio platforms offer grounds for innovation in content accessibility for them, such as the use of sign languages ​​or automated captions for hearing-impaired audiences when streaming, or content announcements for blind listeners.

Furthermore, since the voice is the main communication resource in radio, stations with the ability to recruit staff with disabilities, for example blind presenters, could make this known. Their experience could be a source of inspiration for listeners.

In terms of diversity, participatory radio such as community radio is also important to ensure that communities of interest, particularly hard-to-reach, under-represented or diaspora groups, do not feel left out. the production of information and can credit the radio with their confidence.

Confidence and viability of radio stations: Ensuring competitiveness

How can radio survive when the financial crisis hits the media market? How do you turn loyal audience engagement into financial sustainability?

This sub-theme relates the economic survival of radio stations to their ability to attract and retain a loyal listener base large enough to be sustainable or to incorporate listener interaction into their business models.

Most radio stations are small or medium-sized enterprises, when they are not totally non-profit, and find themselves in a dire situation. Even public service broadcasting faces license fee reduction plans and the reluctance of citizens to pay audiovisual taxes in the age of streaming services and web radio when they can access content otherwise.

New funding models need to be researched and discussed, eg subscriptions, membership models, pay-per-view content, very local advertising and others.

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