Every year, the international community celebrates World Radio Day on 13 February.
As someone whose life has been shaped and weaved around radio, I am delighted to take a seat at the table for the common meal of this day.
I wave to all radio stations around the world; all active radio staff ; who include those on stage, whose voices still boom from the microphone through the airwaves, into the ears of thousands and sometimes millions. I wave to those behind the stage, without whom there can be no radio, or at best, a limping radio.
I wave to those who made radio tick yesterday but who are off stage today, either in oblivion, or called to other duties where their light may still continue to shine. To you who fall in this latter category, I say you played your role in your own time and have a right to sit back, relax and watch others take their turn to perform the drama on stage.
In recognition of the amazing contributions of radio on our planet, World Radio Day was instituted to celebrate this important medium of communication and highlight its unique power to connect and bring people together across the globe.
World Radio Day was proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2012 as an international day. Every 13 February thus, this day is celebrated.
Radio has been described as “a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse.”
The theme for World Radio Day 2020 is “Radio and diversity” a theme which “highlights the special value of radio in the era of rapid media revolution.”
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guternes holds that “Radio has a special value in every community as an easy to access source of media.”
With radio stations around the world participating in celebrations of World Radio Day, UNESCO has called on Radio broadcasters to consistently maintain “diversity in the newsroom and on the airwaves.”
It is expected that World Radio Day will make “the public and the media (more) aware of the importance of radio.
It is hoped it will achieve some degree of success to “encourage decision makers to establish better access to information through this medium, improve networking and work towards building international cooperation among various broadcasters.”
When I think of radio, it is a feeling of gratitude that surges in me. Although the blood of a teacher still runs through my veins, it is radio more than anything else, that has moulded me and continues do so unabated.
My gratitude to God can be nothing short of profuse because in his inscrutable and unfathomable ways he opted me in before I knew what was happening.
I thank all those who , along the way facilitated things for me or challenged me to bring out the talent that my Master had crafted in me and so dropped me in the uncertain and stormy seas of radio to spend a lifetime exploring the mysteries deep below.
In a special way, I thank my Archbishop, now Emeritus, His Grace, Cornelius Fontem Esua who in total confidence that the state media had accomplished its mission in forging me gave me the historic opportunity of being the pioneer Manager of the Archdiocesan Radio, better known as Radio Good News, Radio Evangelium; a task which I accomplished with total dedication.
As I look back at nearly 40 years of radio broadcasting, I am amazed by what radio has done for my people, the world and for me.
Radio broadcasting has done amazing contributions to civilization. It remains the most accessible media in the world, playing an important role in everyone’s life. Even people who cannot read and write are able to listen to radio. Radio reaches where other media cannot reach.
Today, at this sunset, I belong to a forum of public radio icons of yester years and we are not short of dreams. As we meet virtually to share and reminisce our younger days as broadcasters, the journey to the end becomes less tedious.
Many radio personalities, especially in repressive regimes hardly seem fully aware of the formidable opportunity put in their hands by radio, as they boom in the ears of people millions of times over the years.
Radio broadcasting is not near home. It still has a long time to journey. It will remain a leading, beautiful one-on-on medium, to bring intimacy and influence lives and shape the world.
One challenge stands shoulders high above all others to men and women of the radio: every listener yearns for the truth, needs to hear nothing but the truth. But the temptation to depart from the truth, the norms and ethics of the profession is often overwhelming.
Lies and hate language will not make the world what God created it to be. It is truth and nothing but the truth, told with charity.
Radio must not be confiscated by the powerful to use as an oppression weapon, to suppress, exploit and bring misery on the poor , defenceless population.
Radio should not be a propaganda tool for the government to cover the eyes of the common people and loot the land and perpetuate themselves in power.
Let radio be an instrument of tolerance; the voice of the voiceless.
Let Radio heal not wound the world.
Let radio build not destroy the world.
Let radio unite, not divide the world.
Let Radio bring peace not war.
Let Radio bring religions together not set them at loggerheads.
Let Radio help make the world not a hell but a heaven on earth.