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Muscat: The Sultanate will mark the World Radio Day, which falls on February 13 every year. The day was declared as World Radio Day after United Nations Radio was established on February 13, 1946. World Radio Day raises awareness about the importance of radio and strengthens networking among broadcasters and listeners. Now in its ninth year, the celebration is bigger than ever. This year the theme is on diversity and plurilingualism.
Hosted by Unesco, World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. Previous themes have included gender equality, youth participation, radio in humanitarian and disaster situations. In past years, World Radio Day has seen wide success, with more than 500 events taking place around the globe.
Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programmes, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organisations and operations.
On World Radio Day 2020, Unesco calls on radio stations to uphold diversity, both in their newsroom and on the airwaves. This edition of WRD is divided into three main sub-themes: Advocating for pluralism in radio, including a mix of public, private and community broadcasters; encouraging representation in the newsroom, with teams comprised of diverse society groups; and promoting a diversity of editorial content and programme types reflecting the variety of the audiences.
Data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information indicate that the number of hours of the Sultanate’s official radio stations, including the general radio station, Al Shabab radio station and the general radio station in English in 2019 reached 26,280 hours, an average of 8,760 hours for general radio station, the Al Shabab radio station and the general radio station in English.
The cultural programmes accounted for the largest number of radio broadcasting hours in the general radio station at 3,485 with a rate of 39.8 per cent, followed by development programmes with 2,391 hours with a rate of 27.3 per cent, then entertainment and art programmes with 1,400 hours a rate of 16 per cent and news programmes with 1,082 hours and a rate of 12.4 per cent.
The percentage of children’s programmes reached 3.6 per cent, sports and youth programmes, about 0.7 per cent, with 324 hours for children and 62 hours for sports and youth. The number of anchoring hours and programme presentation reached 12 hours.
On the other hand, entertainment and artistic programmes accounted for 42.2 per cent of radio broadcasting hours in Al Shabab radio station with 3,694 hours, followed by development programmes with 2,230 hours, with a rate of 25.5 per cent, then cultural programmes with 1,323 hours, with a rate of 15.1 per cent, and youth and sports programmes with a 1,129 hours, with a rate of 12.9 per cent.
The percentage of news programmes reached about 0.6 per cent with 49 hours, while the number of hours for anchoring and programme presentation reached 331 hours. — ONA

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