Dubai Eye Radio 103.8 Hosts Dr. Viola, Assistant Professor of Communication in ADU’s CAS
19 March 2019
World Radio Day, first celebrated in 2012 after being proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO’S 36th General Conference, celebrates radio and how it shapes our lives.
On the 8th edition of World Radio Day, Dr Viola Gjylbegaj, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Abu Dhabi University, sat down with Helen Farmer on the ‘Afternoons with Helen Farmer’ show on Dubai Eye 103.8 to discuss the importance of radio and its relevance in today’s technologically advanced world.
Dr Viola emphasized that, out of all media, radio reaches the widest audience in the world. It is not considered a luxury item, but rather a means of communication for people from all walks of life. It can penetrate remote areas and provide entertainment as well as information to poor and illiterate people, and plays a crucial role in alerting people during times of emergencies or catastrophes. In terms of the UAE, she cited statistics from Nielson that showed radio to be one of the most important media platforms in the UAE today, with over 50% of the total population aged 10 and above spending more than nine hours per week listening to the radio. Residents in the UAE typically listen to the radio in the morning to get traffic and weather updates.
The discussion also looked at how radio is much more transparent than other media platforms, such as social media, where people can comment with anonymity; on the radio people tend to be more thoughtful about the information they are presenting because they are openly sharing their identity. In addition, important topics are discussed through open debates and phone-ins, allowing a diversity of opinions. During the interview, listeners sent in messages expressing their love for radio and how they consider it to be one of the small joys in life.
As the theme for World Radio Day 2019 was ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace’, the conversation turned to the UAE’s Year of Tolerance. Pope Francis was welcomed to the UAE with messages of love through all media platforms, including radio, clearly demonstrating the high level of tolerance in UAE society. Radio has the power to bring together people and communities from all backgrounds, fostering tolerance through positive dialogue for change. Radio presenters in the UAE represent a variety of different cultures, enabling them to communicate with their communities in an authentic way.
So will traditional mass communication media such as radio be able to survive in today’s fast paced world? Dr Viola firmly believes that, even though technology has advanced exponentially since radio was invented in 1896, the future of radio is strong due to its ability to transmit diverse content to all corners of the globe at a very low cost.