Howard University expert says ‘Radio is here to stay’
By Sanna Camara
The director of Urban Progress, Howard University, Sandra Rattley, was in The Gambia courtesy of a US-based media organization, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). Her mission was to conduct training of community radio journalists in partnership with the Gambia Press Union and a civil society organization, FLARE.
The training brought together twenty radio station managers and journalists from across the country to undergo a four-day training exercise at the GPU secretariat.
Ms. Rattley, with over thirty-years of working experience in all forms of media, argued that radio is still the easiest, most accessible, and the most economical form of communication. “Actually, the digital age has inspired more radio use. So what people are doing is, they are using new technologies as a way to access radio on a 24-hour cycle….,” she said.
She explained that new media technologies such as internet, digital television and mobile phones are functioning as delivery systems for people’s ability to listen to radio on demand. “A significant percentage of young people under the age of 15, are listening to radio on mobile phones,” she said, at a public lecture held at the American Corner on the sidelines of the training, courtesy of the US embassy in Banjul.
“Over the past decades, there have been many, many technologies that have been introduced but the thing that is the most interesting is that despite the introduction of these technologies, what we are seeing around the world is a resurgence, actually a boom or a renaissance in radio,” she said.
She added: “Radio has been prominent now, and the use of it is expanding not only in metropolitan markets (in what you call metropolitan centers) but also, radio also allows for emerging markets to establish national communications very quickly.”
“Sandy”, as is affectionately called by her trainees and colleagues, said “radio obviously is very important to people’s lives and despite the new media that is available, the thing that is unique about radio is that people established a close and intimate relationship with it”, so that radio presenters and journalists can touch a large number of people with their voices without seeing them; with the sound of their voices and what they say. “So, radio is intensely personal,” she added.
“So despite the presence of internet, mobile hand-held devices, satellite and whatever, I want t re-assure that radio is fulfilling a distinct need and a desire that we have as humans for connection and intimacy… so radio is experiencing a renaissance and radio is here to stay,” she said.