Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Celebrating World Radio Day with pilots of airwaves [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Today marks yet another milestone in the long and colourful history of radio. The inaugural World Radio Day, proclaimed by Unesco and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, celebrates radio as a medium DID video kill the radio star as immortalised by the Buggles' hit song in 1979 Unlike other media, radio is a personal medium that requires listeners to fill in the blanks. It is theatre of the mind. The listeners are completely in charge of what they "see".

Picture this: On a starry night in 1938, Martians landed on earth and wrecked havoc on a small town in America. Panic broke out as millions of Americans tuned in to their radio sets for a blow-by- blow account of the invasion, while struggling to cope with the impending doom. Was this the end of the world This particular event marked the beginning of a whole new world of broadcasting. The truth was soon revealed - and Americans sighed with relief. The legendary actor-director-writer Orson Welles' realistic adaptation and dramatisation of H.G. Wells' "The War Of The Worlds" opened up the floodgates to the amazing possibilities through the medium of radio.

There is no denying the fact that technology has completely transformed the art and science of communications. However, even with the high-tech tools and applications, radio still provides the immediacy and pervades our lives with its omnipresence - whether at work or at play.

"People turn to radio for companionship," says Datuk Borhanuddin Osman, currently serving as the ninth term president of Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM), the association representing 19 commercial radio stations in the country. "Radio is truly the theatre of the mind - boundless and limited only by one's imagination." Although often erroneously considered the less attractive model of television, radio thrives on the listener's imagination. Radio works viscerally on its listeners - evoking emotions and invoking images in their minds. Where television assaults the senses, radio works on listeners' consciousness.

Radio has been around for just under 100 years. Derived from the same principles used in wireless telegraphy and signals, it has evolved immensely since the formative years - not just in terms of technology, but also in form, reach, content and platforms.

Up to the 1990s, Rediffusion was a popular alternative to RTM as a music and dialect service. At that time, listeners were acclimatised to RTM's block programming format. The launch of Time Highway Radio, Malaysia's first private and commercial radio station, was the provocateur for a change in the radio industry.

The radio landscape changed dramatically with the entry of Astro Radio (formerly known as Airtime Management and Programming) in 1996 with five format-radio stations -, Mix FM, Light & Easy, Talk Radio, and Classic Rock - catering to a broad cross-section of listeners. It was only a matter of time before other commercial radio stations sprouted up.

Astro Radio, Star Radio Group, Media Prima, Best 104, Cats FM, BFM, and IKIM lead the radio industry in Malaysia today - and the playing field is fiercely competitive. The challenge for radio stations is to find the magic formula that keeps listeners coming back for more.

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(Source: New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge via SIP TRUNKING)

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