The new radio democracy

How the world could change as technology serves underserved communities


With a new age of modern media at our fingertips, the prospects for education, entertainment and thought-sharing have never been this promising. While access to certain technologies was limited at first, governments and organisations have joined forces to provide far greater digital resources to underserved and thriving communities alike. In fact, organisations such as Mobile Media Access are working with various stakeholders to make the Internet more available to children for the purpose of learning, according to Global Citizen Media, and it certainly isn’t the only organisation doing so. There has been a phenomenal growth in access with a rise from approximately 16 million users in 1995 to 3,079 million in 2014 — meaning far greater exposure to new information and media.

At the same time, we can look at the rise of the inexpensive smartphone as being another factor in providing greater connectivity where it wasn’t available before — particularly to people in lower income brackets or those without much expendable income. According to The Economist, there is a growing demand for inexpensive smartphones with an increase in shipments around the world, particularly from areas like China where they can be cheaply produced. People are gaining access at an incredible rate.

With some exceptions, the Internet is now available to most of the world — even if users are required to access it from communal networks in their schools, workplaces or at Internet “cafés”. In fact, to many people, Web access is seen as somewhat of a necessity, particularly where it’s a tool for day-to-day work and career-building. New industries are constantly being grown online, meaning that professionals, such as digital copywriters, designers, developers and paid/social media managers rely on their access to make a living. With this intensive growth and a global movement towards connectivity — the Web is certainly the most democratised medium for media and thought sharing.

So what does this mean in the greater scheme of things?

The world is changing, and with this change comes new opportunities for people with very limited resources to gain access to a wealth of information and media that they didn’t have before. Not only is this a positive step forward for improving education, empathy and critical thinking at a global level, it’s also an opportunity for emerging nations to tell their story and for individuals to feel a sense of inclusion where they previously couldn’t. Of course, this movement will also give a voice to the countless users who have never really had their own easy-to-use and inexpensive broadcasting platforms, opening up the chance to create an entirely new and almost-entirely inclusive global community online.

Media channels, such as YouTube, allow almost anybody access to their video sharing platform but this can still be a costly endeavour for some — given the amount of data needed to upload, stream and download video content. However, the principle of access and democracy remains in examples like this, as well as other popular networks like Tumblr and Vimeo. At crowdCaster, we’re driven by the notion of giving people a voice through audio sharing, which is still inexpensive enough to serve as a platform for the majority of Internet users. Ultimately, the basic premise is the same — there’s a world of information out there and an inordinate amount of opportunities for people from all walks of life, to share and engage. Finally.

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