Once more the radio has been crackling from dawn to dusk and strains of thoughts drifting into minds for the last few years. Thanks to the Mann Ki Baat programme rendered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, rise in the sale of radio was also witnessed during Mahalaya. Chandi slokas and radio are the only combination that whips up a spiritual fervour among Bengalis.

So even in the days of multi-CD changers when radios have become anachronisms in urban homes, generally a week before the Durga Puja there is a scramble for the dated appendage. The radio is dusted, repaired and serviced for greater sound clarity. The alarm clock is placed right next to the pillow so that the stroke of four is not missed.

For everyone it is on radio that does the magic. If Sony World, Gariahat, Kolkata, sales executive, Manash Pramanik is to be believed, Sony CD players with radios are sold like hot cakes during Pujas. The trend has been similar at Cam's corner on Camac Street, as is pointed out by Jiten Parikh. In this age of the CD and multi-media players, people are asking for models which have the radio, he added.

Radio is the mass medium reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services, which in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets.

Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.

2019 Theme: Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace

Broadcasts that provide a platform for dialogue and democratic debate over issues, such as migration or violence against women, can help to raise awareness among listeners and inspire understanding for new perspectives in paving the way for positive action.

Radio programming can also build tolerance and surpass the differences separating groups by uniting them under common goals and causes, like ensuring education for one’s children or addressing local health concerns.

In his message UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that Radio is a powerful tool. Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform.

It conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues. And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances. Radio can create a community, he added.

For the United Nations, especially our peacekeeping operations, radio is a vital way of informing, reuniting and empowering people affected by war. On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace, said Guterres.