A youth broadcaster prepares to present a programme on Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Each December, UNICEF's International Children’s Day of Broadcasting involves young people worldwide in media programming and production, giving them a chance to express their opinions on major issues and develop new skills. Here is one in a series of stories about youth media.
NEW YORK, USA, 27 November 2006 – Colombia’s children and young people have actively participated in the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) since 1997 and have twice received the special honour presented at the International Emmy Awards for television programming produced to celebrate ICDB.
For the last three years, preparations for ICDB have become a major production at Caracol Radio – one of the most important radio networks in Latin America – with the support of UNICEF.
Programming on child rights
Children from public and private schools are selected by Caracol and trained with the necessary media skills to perform various radio-related functions. During workshops in preparation for the Day of Broadcasting, children discover the richness and potential of radio as a vehicle to transmit their concerns and ideas about child rights.
Programming is developed according to each year’s ICDB theme (for 2006 the theme is UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS). Jingles and publicity spots are created, and the children’s creativity is paired with reports and stories from radio professionals who share the microphones with them throughout the day.
The selected children go through the entire experience of doing a radio show and have their voices heard by approximately 40 million Colombians – even in the most remote parts of the country.
“We've learned the difference between what is live on air and recorded. And I also learned how to control nervousness,” said one of the young participants.
On the second Sunday in December, the ICDB celebration begins at 8 a.m. Caracol Radio links its 170 local stations to hear the voices of children in every corner of the country with news, interviews, commentary and sports updates. Laughter and wit fill the airwaves.
The presence of the participating children stands out in the different programmes of Colombia’s foremost radio network all day long.
“It's great to be able to talk live and be listened to in different places at the same time,” said one of the young broadcasters. “Very few kids have this kind of opportunity.”
Caracol Radio has become increasingly committed to the task of offering participation and self-expression to children, in an effort unprecedented in the country’s commercial communication media. As a result of this work, Caracol Junior will be launched in 2007.
“In Colombia, radio has a high penetration, almost similar to television. Almost 60 per cent of our population is under 21 years old,” says Caracol Radio News Director Dario Arizmendi. “The philosophy of our organization is to link many young people in all the programmes. All of this has given us marvelous results.”
Born out of the ICDB experience, Caracol Junior is a new initiative supported by Plan International. The main objective is to promote the rights of the child all year round in three regions of the country by supporting and encouraging the participation of young people in radio programme production.
ICDB on Caracol Radio has become a permanent tool to help ensure that the rights of Colombia’s children become a reality.