History of World Radio Day

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

UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the 36th General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day based on a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.

Radio is one the most trusted media in the world providing for more than one century a unique way to access trustworthy journalism. Throughout its history, radio never stopped adapting and developing its capacities, including by harnessing technological innovations, to continue to serve its listeners.

The wide consultation process towards the establishment of World Radio Day carried out by UNESCO started in June 2011. It included all stakeholders, namely broadcasting associations, public, private, community and international broadcasters, UN agencies, funds and programmes, topic-related NGOs, academia, foundations and development agencies as well as UNESCO Permanent Delegations and National Commissions.

Proclamation of World Radio Day

Spanish radio academy delegation in UNESCO, 2011. From left to right : María Ibeas, Victoria Morillo, Jorge Álvarez, Ion de la Riva, Alba González, Manolo González.

The vast majority (91%) of stakeholders consulted believed that a World Radio Day could contribute to the promotion of the UN Charter and to human development. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received over 46 letters of support from diverse stakeholders, including the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Organización de Telecomunicaciones Ibeoramericanas (OTI), BBC, URTI, Vatican Radio, and more.

The date of 13th of February, the day of the United Nations radio establishment in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO for the World Radio Day. The objectives of the Day are on the one hand to raise greater awareness among the public and the media regarding the importance of radio, and on the other hand to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of said celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programme exchanges, a festival involving key partners etc.

From left to right : María Ibeas, Victoria Morillo, Jorge Álvarez, Ion de la Riva, Alba González, Manolo González.

World Radio Day Committee meeting, UNESCO, 2017. From left to right: Giacomo Mazzone, Christophe Pasquier Jorge Álvarez, Fatima Estramiana, Lise Cosimi, Margaret Sipora KOMOL, Mirta Lourenço, Tim Francis, Guillaume Ortiou-Campion, Mario Maniewicz, Francesco Diasio, Aditi Tyagi.

On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day.

World Radio Day Committee meeting, UNESCO, 2017. From left to right: Giacomo Mazzone, Christophe Pasquier Jorge Álvarez, Fatima Estramiana, Lise Cosimi, Margaret Sipora KOMOL, Mirta Lourenço, Tim Francis, Guillaume Ortiou-Campion, Mario Maniewicz, Francesco Diasio, Aditi Tyagi.