By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Radio has for years fostered national conversations and has been a trusted companion to many defying race, culture and location.

In Lesotho, radio remains a powerful medium of communication.

The world celebrates annual World Radio Day on February 13.

For this year, it is celebrated under the theme, “Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining, and Educating”.

This year’s theme touches on the history’s rich tapestry and recognises the contribution radio has had to society.

World Radio Day was proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and in 2012 as the UN International Day, and observed as World Radio Day on February 13.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azohlay said radio in the year 2024 marks a milestone in the history of this medium, adding that it is a year where the world reflects back to 100 years of the first live radio broadcast of the Olympic Games.

“On this World Radio Day, we celebrate not only the history of radio, but also its central role in our societies, now and in the years to come.

“This milestone reminds us that, since its creation at the end of the nineteenth century, radio has always been with us, bringing us together around powerful moments and shared emotions. And so, for over a century, it has been informing us, entertaining us and also educating us…,” reads Azoulay’s statement.

UNESCO reports that according to estimations, over 4 billion people listen to the radio worldwide.

She said radio is a platform that provides voice to the voiceless and gives an opportunity to freely have a say and find  expression while also bringing diversity of cultures to life.

UNESCO Director-General further showed that after girls and women were deprived of learning and teaching in Afghanistan,  they devised means to have education provided across the radio platform. This radio, she said, is run by Afghan women and provides literacy courses while also giving them the voice.

Radio remains the most powerful communication tool and source of entertainment, education and information to many people across the globe.

She said UNESCO supports and encourages community radios all over the world.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho , an advocacy and lobby group that strives for media freedom, independence, plurality and  free speech also issued a statement yesterday celebrating the World Radio Day, saying over 100 years, it remains a trusted medium of communication.

MISA showed that Lesotho’s radio industry has grown over the last two decades applauding the government for having issued a private radio licence in 1997 and on December 8, 1998 the People’s Choice (PC) FM began broadcasting. It was followed by  Moafrika Fm which began broadcasting in the following year, 1999 . And to date, the country boasts 27 radio stations registered under the regulator, Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA).

Before the private radio stations, there was a national radio- Radio Lesotho which was established in 1964.

“Of all the media, radio has stood the test of time around the world as a reliable, accessible, affordable as well as spontaneous medium of information exchange.

“Radio outperforms other media in informing society with current affairs. This fact is buttressed by the huge numbers that radio garners in listener-ship, reaching even the remotest areas, which other media are not able to reach,” reads the MISA’s statement.

It has however pointed out that proper broadcasting skills remains a challenge in the country more especially for anchors of major current affairs programmes. To address this issue, LCA has partnered with the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to equip radio presenters who do not have formal training from recognised institutions of higher learning. This MISA Lesotho has commended LCA for.

Radio has its roots back to the 1800s.