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World Radio Day in Finland - a love letter to radio

The celebration of a day dedicated to radio might not be big in the UK, but in Finland...

Despite it being a UNESCO sanctioned event, we hear relatively little about World Radio Day - yesterday - in the UK. There was a small event in London yesterday, but not allied with any particular headline broadcaster.

I, however, was in Helsinki in Finland, where they had an altogether bigger party planned. RadioMedia, the Finnish equivalent of the RAB and RadioCentre, was properly celebrating the day, with a number of attention-grabbing activities.

For the industry, the Finnish equivalent of RAJAR released its figures - mostly good, I gather. There was a conference with speakers including Nik Goodman and Dan McGrath from Bounce; Sam Crowther, the Head of Creative from Bauer in London; and the excellent Valerie Geller, who did a significantly good job of attracting the audience to her speech instead of mine, with the result that a small but select group heard me talking about the future of radio and what we need to do to keep radio relevant.

In the evening was the Finnish equivalent of the Sony Radio Academy Awards: an event that is, incidentally, televised on the Finnish Channel 4. A nice trick to ensure it is on World Radio Day.

A letter was also sent to every politician, reminding them how important radio is. "The letter will remind of their responsibilities when making political and media policy descisions to protect radio, to guarantee that radio has acess to spectrum, and that radio has to be available on several platforms in the future too." The letter was signed by both RadioMedia and the public service broadcaster.

And then, there's the work RadioMedia did for the public. Pick up a copy of Finland's biggest national newspaper, and you'd have seen a coverwrap promoting "All You Need Is Radio" (above), and a message to listen to the radio at 9.10. Any radio station. Because, at peak audience time, every radio station in Finland broadcast exactly the same thing - a simulcast which would have made it into the history books.

The audio got to the radio stations by switching on the emergency broadcast system. The Finnish public service broadcaster, YLE, can override every radio station in times of emergency; or, it seemed, to promote radio. If anything, it was a nice test to see whether it worked.

And what was the audio? A clip of The Beatles, naturally, followed by the rather touching love poem below (translated from the original Finnish). 

Stefan Möller, the genius behind all this, should be congratulated; and perhaps next year we won't simply forget World Radio Day in the UK. Great things happen when we work together, after all.

Here's what people heard:
Good morning. I have something to say to you. Please turn up the volume a little. I want to be sure that you can hear me.

Do you know how important you are to me? And how much you mean to me?

We have had so many great moments together. And you keep coming back to me, again and again. And now we are spending more time together.

Why? I'll tell you why. It is a true friendship. It is true love.

It is love we both want - our own free will. It is uncomplicated. We don't demand anything from each other.

I'm proud to say that I have an urge to spoil you. To serve you. Sometimes to guide you and tell you things. I want to make you laugh. To take part. To join the conversation.

In my soul, I feel that we are alike. We are the same age. But inside I have a forever-burning young heart that can see our future together. I feel good at this moment; but I am very enthusiastic about tomorrow.

The world is changing. And we will change it together, you and I.

My name is... Radio. And I love you.

James Cridland is the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business.
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Recommendations: 0
Dave Mason

Interesting Article James, and I also found the poem touching.

Thanks for posting.

There really is something “special” about radio, about the way it makes a connection with an individual in a way that TV, or Film, or any other media dont

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