Listening to the radio in the 21st century


OPINION






Villagers in Bangladesh believe that the radio is for listening to news and entertainment interludes—songs in particular. Radio broadcasts include a 20th century feature called news. The concept has been elucidated by media pundits since the term was first coined some seventy years ago. Today’s World Radio Day theme revolves around the news message. The year 2022 was no exception. The day is celebrated in Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the world, through the organization of elaborate programs. This year, the day fell on February 13. Officially, the purpose of World Radio Day is to raise awareness of the importance of commercial radio, which has been in use since 1900. Its portable version, the transistor radio, was invented in 1947. transmission and reception using electromagnetic waves facilitates access to information. In his task, he uses radio frequency. To interpret the long saga of broadcasting, this year’s theme has been set as “Radio and Trust”.

This is the slogan where much of radio’s influential role remains latent. In the days when television was not yet fully functional, radio would play the role of mouthpiece for oppressive governments. In Pakistani days of old, government-run radio presented itself as a trustworthy medium, especially for Bengali-dominated East Pakistan. In reality, the news and opinions broadcast by Central Radio were highly doctored and biased against the interests and aspirations of the Bengalees. The activities of pro-autonomy and pro-independence leaders have been labeled as anti-state. Ironically, this year’s theme, “Radio and Trust”, turned out to be purely pro-popular 50 years ago, when Bengalis in occupied Bangladesh listened en masse to Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra to learn about the real progress of the liberation war of 1971.

Like the 24-year episode of Pakistan’s neo-colonial period, exploitative regimes everywhere continue to suppress and misinform people through their spokespersons in the name of radio. According to media experts, apart from public radios, those run by the private sector can make a big difference. The Bangladeshi public currently enjoys programs broadcast by more than a dozen private sector FM radio stations. This could be called a great development. Moreover, small-radius community radios in rural areas were once anathema. These radio stations inform the populations of the latest development imperatives in the socio-economic sector. Entertainment and life-oriented programs also find wide spaces in community radios. Coastal radios emphasize weather reports during cyclone seasons. These are no small accomplishments.

Middle-class status symbols in Bangladesh continued to change from the 1950s. Radio and transistor radio dominated the era from the 1950s to the early 1960s, with the “living rooms” of middle-class urban residences having a large stationary radio and a gramophone in a visible corner. In the late 1970s, the radios were replaced by black-and-white televisions, turntable sets, and later color televisions with AV cassette players on the level just below. Those days are also gone soon to herald light to lighter TVs. At the beginning of this century, televisions with a remote control system became the norm. For the relatively affluent classes, television coverage of the entire world has become a matter of pressing buttons on the “remote control”.

Compared to the rapid changes in news or entertainment styles on television, radio remains almost unchanged. Its functions are always centered on the dissemination of information, with the interspersing of entertainment between current affairs and other serious programs. Apparently, listening to the radio is considered a pastime for older people in developing countries. It is a distortion of the truth. Many serious people listen to their radios daily on time.

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