World Radio Day is celebrated globally on February 13 every year to increase public and media awareness about the significance of radio. The day also promotes the provision of access to information by radio stations and encourages networking and cooperation among broadcasters.
This year's theme is "Radio: A century informing, entertaining and educating". According to the United Nations, the 2024 observance highlights the history of radio and its powerful impact on news, drama, music, and sports. It recognizes the ongoing practical value of radio as a portable public safety net during emergencies and power outages caused by natural and human-made disasters. In addition, it acknowledges the continuing democratic value of radio in serving as a grassroots catalyst for connectedness among underserved groups, including immigrant, religious, minority, and poverty-stricken populations.
Radio has been around for over a century, and UNESCO considers it a significant occasion to commemorate the medium's extensive virtues and continuing potency. Despite challenges to its audience and revenue numbers from digital platforms, social media, digital and generational divides, censorship, consolidations, and economic hardships, radio has remained an essential source of information and entertainment.
It is generally believed that the first radio transmission was made by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895, and commercial radio broadcasting of music and talk aimed towards a wider audience began experimentally around 1905-1906. The radio came into existence commercially in the early 1920s, and radio stations were established almost three decades later. By the 1950s, the radio and broadcasting system had become a common commodity worldwide.
In 2011, Member States of UNESCO proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day. The United Nations General Assembly adopted it in 2013 as an international event.