Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Radio's Bright Future

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Radio's Bright Future

Article excerpt

Radio, which recently celebrated its centenary, is widely undervalued. People tend to forget how far it helped to shape ways of thinking in the twentieth century and to minimize the rote it is earmarked to play in the twenty-first.

The radio age ushered in a perception of the world in global terms, something that now seems self-evident but which drastically changed parish-pump mentalities and linked the destinies of villages and city districts alike to the unfolding events of our turbulent century. It was over the airwaves that news of revolutions, coups d'etat and wars came to the illiterate populations of the Nile and Ganges deltas, and that Indian, African and Caribbean music was widely heard in Paris and London for the first time. Ubiquitous, quick to purvey news based on a diversity of sources, radio brought a new area of experience to all countries and every social class. It would be hard to over-emphasize the important part the new medium played in the spread of democratic pluralism.

All well and good, one might say. Let's bury radio under a mass of valedictory flowers and leave it at that. Radio brazed the trail for television and tomorrow's information superhighways. It has a glorious past but no future.

This is not true. …

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