February 13 – World Radio Day

Posted on February 13, 2015

The subtitle of the day, according to the official website, is “Celebrating radio...by youth, for youth...in safety and security." 

The website offers 10 fun ways to celebrate the day, an infographic about youth and radio, links, and graphics such as banners, logos, and posters.

Whether you listen to the World Radio Day broadcast, create your own radio show, or hold a radio party, there are several interesting things to consider on this website...like the intersection of “radio” and “internet.” 

As we have seen with TV and movies, radio is becoming more and more of a “streaming” thing in addition to a “broadcast” thing. 

We can enjoy niche stations that only interest a small minority of people. 

We can create our own content and upload it to Soundcloud.

How does radio work?

It would seem to make sense that radio waves would be a kind of sound wave, but no. Actually, radio waves are more like visible light!

Visible light and radio waves, along with things like infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, and X-rays, are all forms of electromagnetic radiation. They all travel through a vacuum (essentially empty space, without air) at what we call the speed of light. Radio waves are much, much bigger than light waves (in terms of their wavelength).

Sound waves, on the other hand, are a vibration of something – often, a vibration of air or water molecules, or a vibration of a piece of metal or diaphragm. Sound waves cannot travel in a vacuum. And they travel much slower than light and radio waves...which is why you see far-away lightning before you hear its thunder.

Of course, our radios are designed to snatch radio waves and turn them into sound!

It isn't just AM/FM radios and ham radios that use radio waves; cordless phones, garage door openers, cell phones, TV remotes, remote-controlled toys, GPS devices, satellite transmissions, WiFi, and airplane controls all use radio waves.
  • Read about how radios work here.
  • Here is an old (1943) movie about how radio works,  and here is a recent video about how a crystal radio works. 

Also on this date:

Artist Grant Wood's birthday 

Plan ahead:

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