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Five fun facts about radio as World Radio Day is celebrated

By Mercy May | February 13th 2020

As a kid, I always thought that the people who talked on the radio were actually inside the radio set. It got crazier when I once saw a cockroach crawl out of my grandfather’s double-speaker Sonitec radio. Now I believed that those were the “people” that blasted through those speakers. 

Later, I learnt that there was a studio somewhere that the people spoke through, and then the signal transmitted to the remote areas of Kenya. Even then, I still believed that the musicians/bands/artists would have to avail themselves as the studios to perform physically. 

It was until I got much older, understood the concept of pre-recording and banning music on CDs and copying them on flash discs that I finally comprehended why music on the radio would be so diverse without much effort.

Journalism school made me appreciate radio more, not only because it is a powerful tool for infotainment but also because of the nitty gritties that go into such impeccable productions. 

So today as we celebrate World Radio Day, here are five fun facts about radio:

  1. Most people listening to the radio are doing something else. You could be in the shower, riding in the matatu to work, doing laundry, having a chat with a friend, or on your morning run.
  2. Radio creates word pictures that would otherwise cost an arm and a leg in another medium. “Take Mount Kenya, drill a hole into it, fill the hole with milk and dip a giant cookie in it” – that is a word picture. When Listening to your favourite radio presenter, you are able to form mental pictures of what they are talking about. You would even imagine what they looked like, well thanks to social media, you can now put a face to the voice.
  3. Radio is a form of media that is personal and emotional. The audience likes to relate to topics and presenters that mirror their lives. Radio also has a unique ability to tap into emotions, calm raging moods, psyche one up, and inspire audiences to reach for their dreams. The flipside, radio, if not carefully used, can ruin people’s lives like in the case of the 2007/2008 post-election skirmishes where tension ran high because of the media messages that were propagated through radio.
  4. Need a “Call to Action” message? Radio is your go-to media. It is useful in the sense that at any given time, an estimated 20% of people are on their phones browsing and are likely to look up your brand when it is mentioned on the radio. Also, the presenters are nowadays used as influencers or brand ambassadors.
  5. Radio is also the only media that gives you a variety of news items in a relatively short amount of time. Listening to Radio Maisha, for instance, you will receive local and international news, sports news, business news, a talk show, music, grapevine, and a weather update all in an hour. Absolute value for your time.

What does radio mean to you? Happy #WorldRadioDay

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