By Madanmohan Rao
Each medium has reinvented itself with the advent of successive new media waves – with perhaps a few exceptions, such as the near-extinct cassette tape! Radio transmission and broadcasting have come a long way since developments such as the founding of the Marconi Corporation 120 years ago, in 1897.
Radio transformed print media, news, sports, politics, music, home entertainment, education and even the driving experience, and would in turn have to reinvent itself with the advent of TV, satellite, internet and mobile phones. I have had the good fortune of being an RJ in India and in the US, on FM radio (WMUA), satellite radio (Worldspace) and internet (Radiowalla), each with differing strengths in immediacy of user feedback, national reach, breadth of customisable choices, and monetisation.
UNESCO has designated February 13 as World Radio Day, to celebrate its strengths in fields like socio-economic development; recent annual themes have been women empowerment and youth mobilisation. “Broadcasters, regulators and audiences alike should nurture and make the most of its power,” according to Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
Asia has added its own flavour to the world of radio, with Kotmale radio-internet surfing (Sri Lanka), CGNet Swara (community radio via mobiles among tribal communities in India) and even the award-winning ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ (on-demand entertainment via mobile radio in Bihar). See also YourStory’s coverage of community radio and startups in India such as Anchor, Audiomatic, Radio Raja, One Beep, and SamaritanPhone.
“Perhaps no invention of modern times has delivered so much while initially promising so little,” observes Guy Gugliotta. In this compilation of over 100 quotes, we capture the promise, potential and pitfalls of radio over the decades, as it continues to morph and evolve. Happy reading – or, happy listening!