Article: Fundamental topics such as gender rights and natural resources engage young people on the radio

This article is copyright free. Ismael Moreno Coto and UNESCO authorise broadcast, print and online media, as well as the general public, to use part or all of the article for the celebration of World Radio Day 2015.

Father Ismael Moreno Coto, Director of Radio Progreso

Young people continue to challenge the radio. It is often said that a radio programme is a youth programme because it plays a lot of popular music for teenagers and young people, has no political or social content and has a wide-ranging and erratic programme structure. Among the radio stations in our area there are many “youth” radio stations, in terms of the aforementioned characteristics. There are many people, including those at Radio Progreso, who, with their attitude rather than with pressure, are encouraging the radio to compete with these stations.

However, a youth radio station or one directed at young people cannot be at odds with clear social and political content. Neither should well-defined political content and orientation conflict with music and entertainment. Herein lies one of radio’s most interesting, troublesome and original challenges.

One of the factors that undoubtedly contributes to social and political issues sparking young people’s interest is the grounding that a radio can have. Experience has shown that a radio set up in a community or research centre increases important levels of insertion in the target audience, and means that society and the radio have a much closer connection.

Fundamental topics such as gender rights, particularly the fight to counter violence against women, the defence of natural resources and community land, the promotion of culture and art and the defence of education, have been and continue to be mobilizers for young people. So how can young people be encouraged to be directly involved in radio broadcasting? With youth training programmes in the community, which make radio programmes more relevant to young people’s lives and surroundings, and by organizing youth movements concerning art and culture.

Young people are directly involved in our social project on communication, research and social outreach. Most of our area coordinators and team leaders are young people. The general area coordinator for communication is a young woman aged 29; the head of multimedia is a young woman aged 24; the leader of the political and citizenship training schools in the north-west region is a young man who is 22; and the young man in charge of written and radio press is 33.

Young people also make up the main listeners of Radio Progreso; in the programming there is a daily review aimed exclusively at young people and there are programmes on culture and the arts which encourage the participation of young people from communities and residential areas as a youth network for the promotion of culture. ■

About the author
Ismael Moreno Coto, 52 years old, better known as “Father Melo”, is a Jesuit priest from Honduras, and director of Radio Progreso and the Reflection, Research and Communication Team (ERIC). Founded in 1961 and based in the northern city of El Progreso, the radio station was bought by the Honduran Society of Jesus in 1970. On account of its strong commitment to the defence of human rights, the station is the target of attacks and closures and its journalists are subjected to numerous threats even today. On 11 April 2014 the station’s head of marketing, Carlos Mejía Orellana, 35 years old, was murdered, three years after the young correspondent, Nery Jeremías Orellana, 26 years old. So far these crimes have yet to be resolved.


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Image: © Radio Progreso