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As we head towards the medium’s

second century, some may question

whether radio has a future. At the

AIB we say that radio is innovative,

resilient and relevant. It will play a

central part in the lives of billions of

people across the planet for many

years. This World Radio Day we

salute everyone involved in the

radio industry: presenters,

producers, DJs, editors, engineers,

executives, technologists,

advertisers, and every other

stakeholder in this senior service –

the world’s oldest electronic mass

medium. Like the rest of the media

industry radio faces the constant

challenge to evolve. I am confident

that the medium of radio is in safe



Funded by the Korea

International Co-operation Agency

and Munwha Broadcasting

Corporation, Mustang is one of the

most extraordinary community

stations that we have come across.

It operates in the town of Jonsom,

more than 8,000 feet above sea level

and close to the Himalayas. The

unusual thing about Mustang is

that its building complex is

architect designed by a renowned

South Korean architect and is

perhaps one of the world’s most

beautiful radio stations. Mustang’s

key purposes do not differ from

those of stations that operate from

less remarkable buildings –

delivering information to the local

community about health and

weather, and empowering the

audience through coverage of local

news and local culture.


Radio remains a significant player

on the global stage with radio

stations across all continents

offering international services in

many languages. From 24 hour-a-

day worldwide English-language

stations to one hour-a-day local

language services, international

broadcasters deliver news,

information, entertainment and

sometimes education to audiences

eager to have a fresh perspective on

the world.

Over the past decade or so,

international radio broadcasters

have mostly moved away from the

short wave transmissions to FM

transmitters in their target

countries, as well as delivering their

programmes via online platforms

and through partnerships with

local stations – community,

commercial and publicly-funded.

Hundreds of millions of people

around the world continue to rely

on the programmes of international

broadcasters – many of them

Members of the Association for

International Broadcasting – to tell

them what’s going on in the world,

and even down the road.

International broadcasters have

immense expertise in telling stories

for their disparate audiences in

different markets and the need for

their work has not diminished,

despite the migration of audiences

from short wave radio to other


Like community radio stations,

international broadcasters play an

invaluable role in times of crisis –

think of the Ebola epidemic when

international radio stations were

among the first media outlets to

break the story, and played an

important role in giving listeners

vital health information.

In areas of the world that can be

described as ‘un-free’, international

stations help to spread news and

information that is otherwise not

available, or is severely censored,

particularly when the Internet is

not widely accessible.

International stations are not just

there for times of crisis. Day after

day they provide a constantly

available window on the world and

help to build understanding of the

issues of the day from Argentina to

Armenia, Uganda to Uruguay.

There is no question over the

continuing need for international

radio stations. They are vital

components of the world’s media



Far left



location of



Community in



inside a

studio in the











Simon Spanswick

is the chief

executive of the Association for

International Broadcasting. He

started his broadcasting career

freelancing for the BBC in 1982,

and went on to develop and

present the weekly media

programme on BBC World

Service. He continues to keep his

hand in radio and TV production

while leading the AIB’s work

around the world