UNESCO-supported Radio Asia 2011 focused on recent advances in radio broadcasting
UNESCO supported the Radio Asia 2011 Conference, which was held in New Delhi, India, from 21 to 23 February under the theme 'Radio on Air Everywhere - Adopting Multiplatform Strategies'. The event particularly focused on how to keep abreast of the changes brought about by globalisation, convergence and technological advances.
International experts, journalists, media professionals and academics from the Asia-Pacific region shared their views on how advances of the ongoing developments in radio broadcasting would become instrumental in shaping radio as a global medium of choice. Programming, marketing, regulatory policies, radio management and audience strategies were discussed throughout 11 working sessions. Possible strategies to address the global audience in a moving context, where media consumers access multiple platforms for content consumption, were explored during the opening day.
Building on the new multi-platform radio for global audiences, the conference brought together different ideas and experiences on the following issues:
<li>future role of radio as a global medium;
<li>paradigm shift in content programming, keeping in view interactivity as well;
<li>the need for a healthy mix of public and commercial radio for serving the needs of the traditional and new audiences;
<li>laying the foundation of a sustainable and viable future for radio globally;
<li>the impact of technical advancements on content and services in the age of convergence.
Participants also discussed the community radio, radio's positive role in conflict reporting, attracting younger listeners, and radio programming and management. Speaking about radio's role in conflict reporting, Executive Director of the Antenna Foundation of Nepal, Rajendra Sharma, said that radio assisted in humanizing rebel groups and provided a common platform for informal dialogue which helped in bringing stability to the country. Other speakers also stressed that conflicts could be solved through dialogue and radio could provide that platform.
Dr Kanchan K. Malik, from the University of Hyderabad, argued that radio's reach expanded into places where television could not reach due to its economical and portability factors. She added that the involvement of the youth was necessary in the survival and revival of radio, and urged channels to hire younger people for the right mix.
With a strong emphasis on new media and new technologies, the Conference highlighted the public dimension of radio. Partnership was identified as a key requirement to tap into the opportunities of public service broadcasting and community radio in reaching areas not targeted by traditional media.
UNESCO gives high priority to providing and strengthening communication and information facilities at the level of local communities. Such facilities offer basic tools for introducing and managing community-centred development and change. To this end, the Organization supported the participation in Radio Asia 2011 of representatives of developing countries in the region.
Radio Asia is an annual event, organized by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) to contribute to the growth of the community radio movement in South Asia by facilitating sharing and incorporating the best practices of other countries.