This past December marked 100 years of radio broadcasting in South Africa. Depending on the era you grew up in or the region, you most likely listened to your parents' preferred radio station, probably in your home language. We have seen many industries succumb to the digital era, but this has not been the case with traditional radio. In recognition of World Radio Day, we want to take this opportunity to pay homage to this medium that has withstood the test of time.

What started off as an experimental broadcast of a music concert 100 years ago has now evolved into a formidable industry. In today's era, where everyone has a cellphone, people essentially have access to the world. There's social media, streaming platforms, and the World Wide Web in our pocket, but according to statistics, South Africans still find time to tune into their radio station of choice. Whether this is due to nostalgia from our childhoods, the sense of connectedness to the community of listeners, or the ability of radio stations to stay relevant, it can't be argued that it has proven to be here to stay. If anything, radio is only growing stronger, with commercial and community radio stations gaining more listenership. According to The Media Online (2023), more than 26 million people in South Africa tune into their favourite radio station several times a week.

Radio stations, however, are taking note of the digital era and the impact it has had on our society. With people now spending more time on social media platforms and a growing interest in podcasts, radio stations are adapting to this trend. While still offering the traditional way of listening to radio, major stations have also gone online, making it possible to stream a radio broadcast from your phone or laptop while at work. If you aren't already doing so, visit the website of your favourite radio station to take advantage of the option to stream online.

We don't know about you, but we are certainly glad that radio continues to be relevant in South Africa. It is a diverse space where you can get news and hear about current affairs in real time. And let's not forget that they continue to serve us with great music. Let's also not forget the radio personalities who keep us coming back for more with their lively personalities. If you have more to contribute to this conversation, please feel free to comment here or on our social media pages.


Article by
Modiegi N

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