The 5th Edition of The Radio Festival (TRF), a first-of-its-kind platform to celebrate sound, once again brought together all three tiers of radio in India – public, private, and community radio – along with podcasters and others invested in the audio space on July 25th, 2022, at the India International Centre.

The Radio Fair 2022 banner. Image credit: https://theradiofestival.com/

 

Titled ‘The Radio Fair: SDGs on the Air’, the 5th edition was organised by SMART in partnership with UNESCO and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GoI, Prasar Bharti, and was supported by UNICEF, UNHCR, ONGC, and FNF. This edition also saw the launch of ‘The Active Citizenship Festival’ – a unique experiential event for the youth. Along with opportunities for invigorating conversations with multi-stakeholders, the 5th edition offered a range of games and simulations that aimed to increase civic participation, strengthen ownership of SDGs and build sustainable partnerships. Significantly, this year, TRF coincided with The National Broadcasting Day festivities.

 

The inaugural session saw Mr. Mayank Agrawal, CEO, Prasar Bharati, Ms. Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, Mr. Hezekiel Dlamini, Advisor for Communications, UNESCO, Mr. Siddhartha Shrestha, Chief, Social Behavior Change, Mr. Kiri Atri, External Relations Officer, UNHCR and Ms. Archana Kapoor, Founder of TRF and SMART on the dais. Each of the dignitaries spoke about the potential of radio to influence behaviour and help the country achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Inaugural Session of The Radio Fair 2022. Image credit: https://theradiofestival.com/

 

Setting the context for the SDGs and the role of radio and aligning the panel to Goal 17, Building Sustainable Partnerships, Ms. Kapoor said that the Radio had been a true symbol of democracy – reaching every corner of the country as an accessible medium for a healthier and better society. Re-emphasising the role of radio, Mr. Dlamini said that radio is a very potent tool to convey the message about SDGs and that TRF was helping in promoting this medium for reaching the most underserved communities in the country. Mr. Shrestha furthered the idea by saying that UNICEF strongly believes in the power of community radio for social change, for engaging communities, and for delivering credible information about SDGs to the remotest parts of India. Talking about the role of radio in creating awareness of the refugee crisis, Mr. Atri said that Radio has the power to foster peaceful coexistence as well as mobilise the communities to make SDGs a reality by 2030.

A panel discussion on Engaging Communities for Nutrition at The Radio Fair 2022. Image Credit: https://theradiofestival.com/

 

In her keynote address, Ms. Sekhar praised The Radio Festival as the only platform that was furthering the process of mutual sharing and learning between the three tiers of radio. She also spoke about the role of All India Radio as a public broadcaster in enhancing civic participation and creating grassroots impact. The inaugural address was delivered by Mr. Agrawal, CEO Prasar Bharati, who said that TRF was a true celebration of radio. He said it is a celebration of the power of the medium, its talent, and its ability to adjust to emerging and new technologies. He said that in its new avatar, radio has been able to engage with the youth and the young RJs, and their innovative programming has helped expand the reach of audio even in places where Television and the internet have not reached.

 

The speeches were followed by the felicitation of the Sustainable Development Goal Fellows, a fellowship supported by TRF and UNESCO. After this, the winners of the POSHAN Ghar Community Engagement Award, which was supported by UNICEF, were announced. Six awards were given in the category of Exclusive Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding and Tackling Anemia.

 

The festival, which extended over three days, provided a unique opportunity for radio stations from all three sectors to rub shoulders with each other and present their experiences and perspectives across a diverse range of issues pertinent to the SDGs. The themes for discussion and interaction ranged from the role of radio and the future of cities, engaging communities for nutrition, reservation of air time for women, good health and well-being and the role of RJs. Workshops and music performances further enlivened the proceedings.

 

SMART NGO, New Delhi

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