Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Radio still relevant

A friend of mine in the communications business sent me a note about radio. For anyone who has ears, this information about radio is worth sharing.

“February 13 was the second annual World Radio Day (sponsored by UNESCO. It was created to promote worldwide access to information and freedom of expression over airwaves.

An article on Mashable ( on the occasion of World Radio Day says the following about this medium.”

From Mashable…
Despite the evolution of high-speed Internet and television’s prevalence in today’s culture, radio is still a very important and relevant medium — especially in developing nations. World Radio Day reminds us not only that digital hasn’t “killed the radio star,” so to speak, but also that radio can help drive change around the world.

Below, we’ve compiled five intriguing facts about global radio use that may surprise you.

1. 95% of the World’s Population Uses Radio
According to UNESCO, more than 95% of the world’s population uses radio. That high figure probably says it all, but to put it in even more perspective, this is compared to roughly one-third of the global population having access to Internet at all (let alone reliable or high-speed connections).

2. Most Households in Developing Nations Have Radio
As of 2010, at least 75% of households in developing countries have access to a radio, while only 20.5% of households in developing nations have access to the Internet.

As a result, radio can reach the most isolated communities (which includes many Native American populations in the U.S.), in addition to the poorest, where Internet cannot.

3. Radio Is the Only News Medium on the Rise in Russia Since 2008
Besides radio, all traditional forms of news media in Russia are in decline — even in Moscow, where there is an advanced print media market. The average monthly adult readership for daily newspapers decreased by 3.1% between 2006 and 2010.

Daily radio audiences, on the other hand, have risen 4% since 2008.

4. Radio Signals Are More Reliable

Certain geographical features affect the way countries receive information. For example, in rural areas of the Philippines, mountains get in the way of TV signals, but not radio communications. Radio reaches 85% of the entire country, while TV reaches just under 60%. As a result, radio is considered the most reliable medium for distributing news in the Philippines’ rural interior.

5. AM/FM Still More Popular Than Online Streaming
American adults listen to eight times more AM/FM radio than satellite radio, and 17 times more than Internet audio streaming. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change as innovation in the space increases.