Join in the worldwide events for World Radio Day on February 13 and find out how radio is still changing lives across the globe. World Radio Day was first proposed by Spain in September 2010. With backing from broadcasting associations around the world, it was unanimously accepted by the UNESCO Member States in November 2011. The cool thing about radio is it’s still relevant and important in our daily lives. During those long drives for vacation or maybe to work, the radio is still with us, keeping us singing and keeping us informed. It’s like a great friend and neighbor, one who’s always there and never lets you down —except radio will never borrow your weed whacker and forget to return it.
History of World Radio Day
The radio is a medium that has sustained its usage over time. It is a platform for providing information, educating people, allowing expression across cultures, and of course, playing all our favorite music. No matter how advanced technology becomes, radio is an irreplaceable medium, especially during the occurrence of natural or man-made disasters.
Many people in history have contributed to perfecting radio waves and frequencies, but it was Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi who proved the feasibility of communication over the radio. He sent and received a telegram over the first radio signal in history from Italy in 1895. The first radio station in America was established in Pittsburgh in 1919, and the FM radio debuted in 1939. Broadcasting over radio went digital in 1994, when radio streaming started via the internet. This was accompanied by the first internet-only 24-hour radio station.
In 2011, at the 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, February 13 was proclaimed as World Radio Day. This date was chosen by UNESCO’s director general as it was the anniversary date of the United Nations international broadcasting service, which was created on February 13, 1946.
Without using any expensive content or videography, radio is the only broadcast medium today that delivers entertainment, local news, sports updates, discussions, great music, and is an effective way for marketing. Tune in to your favorite radio station today and enjoy!
World Radio Day timeline
James Clerk Maxwell proposed radio's possibility first, but Marconi invented the first practical radio device.
Spain follows through on a request by the Spanish Radio Academy to establish a World Radio Day.
World Radio Day is accepted by all Member States of UNESCO.
The University of Pisa in Italy hosts an event for the first World Radio Day.
World Radio Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate Radio Day?
World Radio Day is celebrated to preserve the timeless medium, and create awareness of the importance of radio. People and the media are encouraged to use radio for the dissemination of information, networking, and enhancing communication around the world.
What is the theme for World Radio Day 2020?
The theme for World Radio Day 2020 was “Radio and Diversity.”
Which country initiated World Radio Day?
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day.
World Radio Day Activities
Tune in to a World Radio event directly
There are events going on all over the world. Each year the theme is different, with states all over the U.S. hosting relevant occasions and gatherings to celebrate.
Host a Radio Only party
Yes! You can be the most imaginative person on the block by hosting a Radio Only party. Invite your friends over and turn off the TV. Confiscate everyone's cell phones (that should be entertaining). Then spend the afternoon listening only to the radio. Hey, everybody did this back in the day and they loved it. You will be amazed at the variety of entertainment, news, and information available on the radio alone.
Listen to the original "War of the Worlds" broadcast
In the past, radio was the only broadcast means for news and entertainment. Fictional dramas were even played on the radio. On October 30, 1938, CBS broadcasted the drama, "War of the Worlds." They only intended it to be a Halloween prank but, unfortunately, not everyone caught the part introducing it as a "fictional" drama. Many people believed Earth truly was being invaded by Martians. Chaos erupted in the streets of many cities. This was the power of radio. Celebrate by experiencing what radio was like at the peak of its influence by listening to the original "War of the Worlds" broadcast.
5 Amazing Facts About The Radio
The most powerful radio station
WLW (700KHz AM) was able to cover half the globe during nighttime.
Downloadable video games through radio
In the 1980s, sounds broadcast over the radio were recorded by listeners on cassette tapes, which were able to be played back on computers and provide downloadable video games.
A radio station polled 3,500 music lovers in 2005 to create 'Rock’s Ultimate Super Group' — the best musicians were selected based on their instrument and the winner ended up being Led Zeppelin.
On September 28, 2006, the City Council of Reykjavik agreed to switch off all the city lights for half an hour, while a famous astronomer talked about the constellations and stars on national radio.
A grand entrance
The first time the Japanese people heard their emperor’s voice on the radio was when he announced Japan’s surrender during World War II.
Why We Love World Radio Day
Radio reaches everyone
The radio has been with us longer than any other kind of broadcast media. That means more people have access to it than most other technologies. Each year on World Radio Day, experts in the field join together to figure out how to reach isolated communities. World Radio Day makes sure everybody, no matter how central or remote, has access to information.
Radio is free
There are lots of ways to get news, information, and entertainment. If you're getting it from cable television or the internet, you probably have to pay for that. Not so with radio. You get it free in your car, in a cafe, and even in elevators. World Radio Day ensures this coverage will continue with the best quality programming possible.
World Radio Day is socially conscious
Every year hundreds of events are held across the world. There are different annual themes but they always relate to something socially conscious. In 2015, the theme was 'Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster.' In 2014 the theme was 'Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Radio.' We aren't forgotten, folks. Radio still thinks we're important.
World Radio Day dates