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Mobile App Tunes in to Riches of Community Radio

Community radios often operate in isolation; part of the fabric of the lives of those who rely on them for essential information unavailable elsewhere, their work is rarely heard beyond their home bases.

In an increasingly interconnected world, however, that can and should change – the work they do to give space to local cultures deserves wider appreciation and to be bolstered through a network of individuals driven by a similar passion to serve their communities.

RadCom Radios, a mobile phone application launched recently in Brazil, aims to do just that. While other commercially oriented radio apps are out there, RadCom is the first to be solely dedicated to streaming community radio station broadcasts from around the world.

Developer Arthur William, a journalist and the Brazil representative of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), spoke to UNESCO Bangkok about how an app developed to serve the needs of broadcasters in an impoverished part of Brazil has the potential to have an impact around the world.

Q: Could you discuss the genesis of the idea behind RadCom Radios?

I developed the application RadCom Radios to facilitate access to community radios. While I'm doing community radio in Brazil, I might think that I am alone in the world, but it's not true. With this application, you as a radio operator can discover many stations just like yours. This discovery provides community radios with the encouragement and some motivation to continue their daily struggles.

Now for the actual development of the app. How did it come together?

RadCom Radios was developed in a poor city in Rio de Janeiro state. I think innovations always come from these places because poor people need to be creative just to survive. They need technological knowledge to get their message out and it’s the same with community radio. They have creative, innovate programs, but only a few people know about it. Their innovations are limited by the power of their transmitters or to the number of people who access their websites. There are other apps that you can use to listen to community radios with smartphones, but it is difficult to specifically choose community broadcasters.

What about the language issue? Community radios often service a very specific linguistic niche. Would these broadcasts still be relevant outside of these areas? 


Want to join? Easy!

Form available here:
rebaixada.org/radcom/app/radios/

Enter your Radio's Name, Email Address, Web Site URL and the specific URL for your stream under the appropriate headings, click "OK" and await validation from Mr William.

The RadCom app is available on iOS, Android and the web.

 

Another [goal of the app] is establishing a worldwide network of information and culture. I don't need to understand Tétum (local language of East Timor) for example, to appreciate the music, voices and accents of this region that the app can broadcast. This helps bring cultures together.

What role do you envision for international development groups and bodies in the future of this app?

It's very important for international institutions such as UNESCO to help to promote initiatives like this. The participation of community radio stations around the world in this app will help the fight for freedom of expression and communication rights.

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More on the importance of community radio in Asia-Pacific and initiatives UNESCO has undertaken in the region to support and promote it: www.unescobkk.org/news/article/unesco-turns-up-the-volume-up-on-world-radio-day-13-february-2014/

Director-General Irina Bokova’s message of gender equality and empowerment through community radio in advance of World Radio Day:www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-radio-day-2014/messages/message-from-unesco-director-general/



03.02.2014