A century informing, entertaining and educating - World Radio Day 2024

World Radio Day (WRD) celebrated annually on 13 February aims to raise awareness among the public and the media regarding the importance of radio, as well as to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio, as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

This day was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011, which was later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 January 2013 as an international day.


The theme for 2024 -  "Radio: A century informing, entertaining and educating", which shines a broad floodlight on Radio’s remarkable past, relevant present and promise of a dynamic future.

Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, says despite the growing influence of the Internet and social networks, radio continues to be a prime source of information and entertainment – it is estimated that over 4 billion people listen to it.

‘’On this World Radio Day, we celebrate not only the history of radio, but also its central role in our societies, now and in the years to come. The year 2024 marks a milestone in the history of this medium: it is the year we celebrate the centenary of the first live radio broadcast of the Olympic Games, on the eve of the next Games in Paris.’’

‘’This milestone reminds us that, since its creation at the end of the nineteenth century, radio has always been with us, bringing us together around powerful moments and shared emotions. And so, for over a century, it has been informing us, entertaining us, and also educating us, as this year's theme underlines,’’ added Azoulay.

South Africa’s GCIS Acting Director-General, Nomonde Mnukwa, says radio remains a reliable source of information and a catalyst for positive change.

‘’In South Africa, radio has historically been a cornerstone of democracy, serving as a platform for dialogue, debate, and the exchange of ideas. It has played a crucial role in promoting social cohesion, advancing human rights, and amplifying the voices of marginalised groups.’’

‘’Together, let us continue to support and nurture this timeless medium as we strive to build a more inclusive, informed, and enlightened society for all South Africans,’’ added Mnukwa.


Bush Radio, Africa’s oldest community radio station, held simulcast broadcasts with various community radio stations across South Africa.

Station manager, Thabang Pusoyabone, from Radio Riverside - based in Upington, Northern Cape - reflected on how Bush Radio helped him with his journey in this space.

‘’Bush Radio is also one of the radio stations that provided us with training. Why it is called ‘the Mother’, is because radio production management training was provided when a time I also attended. It was a well-resourced community radio station that developed numerous industry players today who are shining when it comes to community broadcasting. They are the Mother [of Community radio] as it is the type of nurturing they have done in community sector, in general.’’

We also had a simulcast show with Vukani Community Radio based in the Eastern Cape. Presenter Thandisa Mahe, explains why community radio is still relevant.

‘’Information from the people to specific organisations, I think it’s humbling and grounding and remembering why we are doing radio, and it’s a call to keep going, coming up with new ideas, how better to contribute to the community.’’

Bush Radio’s Everyday People team spoke to Jozi FM. Presenter Refilwe Motsei, urged those wanting to get into the medium to always be authentic.

‘’Be real. Stop wanting to be a ‘’Jay-Z’’. Be real to someone who is listening to you. That is why they call it theatre of the mind.’’

Bush Radio News asked people’s opinion on why they still listen to radio. One contributor said ‘’Music is good for the soul. Any type of music and some laughter.’’ Another said ‘’Radio sets the mood for the day.’’ A university student said: ‘’Radio informs us about load shedding and other current affairs issues. An elderly man reminisced and said ‘’Through the ages, where there was nothing [where tv did not exist], you could always listen to radio, and it would cheer people up. Sometimes listening is also better than viewing.’’

With Bush Radio approaching three decades of broadcasting, let us continue to entertain, inform and educate.


Done by: Mitchum George


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