Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Radio professionals gather for the SIGNIS Asia First International Radio Encounter 2022

“Engaging the Youth for a Dynamic Radio Uniting Asia and the World”

May 9-12, 2022 in Sri Lanka (hybrid system)

SIGNIS World Radio Desk identified the need to promote Radio and its different variants, such as mobile applications, as a tool for evangelization around the world, and as an essential media, for the poor and marginalized in particular. Covid-19 made the programme to be postponed for 2 years. Therefore to provide an international forum for radio experts and youth to exchange ideas, especially for professional development and improving best practices, SIGNIS ASIA and SIGNIS World Radio Desks agreed to hold the First International Radio Encounter under the theme: “Engaging the Youth for a Dynamic Radio Uniting Asia and the World” held on May 9-12, 2022 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The event will be followed by a campaign leading to the SIGNIS World Congress in Korea 2022 to promote the value of radio worldwide. “Voice of the young people from the world is most important”, as Ms. Dayana Ortiz from Ecuador, the 1st winner of the competition shared her experience during the First International Radio Encounter 2022. (Click to see the entries at this link)

SIGNIS ASIA participants representing Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand and Sri Lanka held face-to-face meetings and the participants who represented Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Pakistan, Timor Leste, Bangladesh and participants from other regions (Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Peru, Bolivia, Uganda, Cuba, Zambian, Burundi, Ecuador, Peru, Belize and Namibia) who joined this programme virtually via Zoom. Among the 100 participants included Catholic Radio broadcasters, Podcasters, producers from around the world, and practicing and potential young broadcasters and podcasters from 5 regions of SIGNIS Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, North America and the Pacific. 65% were youth (aged 15-35), and 74% have never participated in any SIGNIS programmes previously.

During the 4-days programme, they experienced how to learn and exchange ideas with the world’s youth towards the successful promotion of Radio as a media for networking and evangelization, both in local as well as international forums. They also learnt how to train young people across the world to produce podcasts and do radio broadcasting, and to build long-lasting partnerships between radio professionals and young radio producers that utilize and promote this media for evangelization. Finally, they learnt how to develop models for sustainable local networks that maintain high quality standards.

Among the presenters involved in the programme were:

  1. Fr. Paul Samasumo, Chair of SIGNIS Radio Desk, Vice President of SIGNIS World
  2. Ms. Isabel Gatti, President SIGNIS Argentina
  3. Rev. Andrew Kaufa, SIGNIS Africa
  4. Ms. Angela Morais, SIGNIS Brazil
  5. Ms. Pamela Aleman, Vice President of SIGNIS North America
  6. Ms. Bernadetta Widiandajani, Secretary of SIGNIS ASIA, Chair of SIGNIS ASIA Radio Desk
  7. Mr. Bernard F. Cañaberal, President of SIGNIS Philippines, Radio Professional
  8. Fr. Lal Pushpadewa, President of SIGNIS Sri Lanka, Country President-Radio Veritas
  9. Mr. Chanakya Jayadeva – Law in entertainment of Sri Lanka
  10. Ms. Dayana Ortiz from Ecuador, the 1st winner of the podcast competition 2021
  11. Ms. Ji-hyun Anne You, SIGNIS Korea

The presenters shared their experiences for 2 hours (20 minutes presentation or video, discussions or interactive Q & A and conclusions).

Day 1: May 9, 2022, Learning & Exchanging Ideas

Fr. Lal Pushpadewa, President of SIGNIS Sri Lanka highlighted that Radio is like a prayer. While we are listening to radio, we can do anything and listen to what is going on. Like a prayer, we can connect with God. Radio is a traditional media, but it is now available on social media, too. Fr. Lal welcomed everyone for this encounter to share and find more ideas for the radio programme.

Fr. Paul Samasumo, Chair of SIGNIS Radio Desk, Vice President of SIGNIS World in his video cited one of the famous African stories “Brave Hunters” which nurtures the spirit of bravery and courage, things that should be upheld by Catholic communicators. Evangelization must be done in creative ways, otherwise, the world will only pay attention to YouTube influencers or Tiktok creators. The church communicates life, peace, unity, reconciliation and salvation. We need to synergize Vatican media and the media in countries. Catholic Radio should work more closely with the unfortunate people in many countries.

The results of podcast competition was announced by Bernadetta Widi, Secretary of SIGNIS ASIA, and Chair of SIGNIS ASIA Radio Desk who also explained about the programme.

SIGNIS Radio Desk Youth Podcast Competition

The SIGNIS Radio Desk was happy to announce the winners of the International Youth Podcast Competition! The competition was launched in
January 2021. Young people from all regions of the world were invited to participate by sending a 1 to 3-minute podcast on Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship” as a way to encourage the youth to read the document. A total of 41 podcasts were received. All podcasts were submitted with a synopsis in English. (Click to see the entries at this link)

The juries decided the winners as follows:

1st Place: Ecuador – Dayanara Ortiz; 2,000 USD. Title: ‘The Message of Pope Francis FRATELLI TUTTI’. The content of the encyclical is presented with great creativity, in a school class format. The production displays a highly technical quality. She had an opportunity to present the work virtually at the International Radio Encounter in Sri Lanka in May 2022.

2nd Place: Peru – Kate Salcedo; 1,500 USD. Title: ‘Iglesia Viva’. This podcast shows a superb use of radio language given the variety of resources and quality. The content of the encyclical is clearly explained and participation is encouraged based on the values it proposes.

3rd Place: Cuba – Rachel Diez; 1,000 USD. Title: ‘El Camino Posible de la Fraternidad: 3 Minutos con Fratelli Tutti’. It is a very good journalistic dialogue on the value of knowing the encyclical and the values proposed by it. It presents very clear language and good technical performance.

4th Place: Costa Rica – Jean Paul Campos; 750 USD. Title: ‘Together We Can Do Big Things’. This podcast is characterized by great creativity, bringing the world of superheroes closer to the problems proposed by Pope Francis. This is an important value for working with young people, very empathetic to that reality.

5th Place: Nigeria – Richard Oyeleke, the Catholic Lab; 500 USD. Title: ‘Fratelli Tutti’. This podcast clearly enunciates the message that the encyclical offers. The technical realization is neat.

All participants received a certificate. We thank all participants and congratulate the winners.

Address by His Eminence Rt Rev Dr Winston Fernando, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops conference, Sri Lanka Bishop

His Eminence Rt Rev Dr. Winston Fernando stressed that to Realize Jesus’ Dream, which is the Kingdom of God is love, justice, truth, peace, joy, and happiness, we need to have the intention and share the GOOD NEWS coming from Jesus. We need a resource of people of goodwill to be formed and to be well informed to reach the country.

Regarding the First International Radio Encounter with the theme: “Engaging the Youth for a Dynamic Radio Uniting Asia and the World”, youth can unite Asia into the world, youth have the wisdom to go into the world. We can use radio to promote Kingdom values. He added that there was so much violence and anger in people today especially in Sri Lanka. Among young people, they have no barriers between them. We can use radio to bring people together to proclaim peace, and promote justice and truth. So media people must have faith in their own profession.

He stated that Church media, especially radio, must do and have: Confidence in their own area of communications; Be a Christian for everyone, Christian values; Update society and bring a better world; Update people to a better world, bring their holiness into their profession “do your profession as holiness”, and be a better Christian.

Experiences, comments from the participants about what people or young people need nowadays:

Young people need opportunity, motivation, creative thinking, and a space for sharing ideas. They also need an open forum to share what they need and a forum to share in family. Evangelization is also needed.

Learning experience of the participants:

Bishop told us to uphold holiness in our profession. We should communicate in different ways from other people so that we can show our identity as a Catholic. We mustn’t forget our own identity, and we need to enjoy and share what we have done all the time. Relying on our faith is the best solution for any problems, while looking towards a beautiful and peaceful future.

Ms. Dayana Ortiz from Ecuador, the 1st winner of the competition, currently works as a producer at Journalism. Ms. Pamela Aleman, Vice President SIGNIS North America joined in by Zoom. Dayana shared about her experience in contest:

She found out about the contest through Google. As she had been struggling with the English language, she read the topic and other documents especially the Pope’s Message about Fratteli Tutti many times. She did not have much time to do it, but she believed that God’s time is perfect. She trusted it, and let God do it. She only had 5 hours to complete the podcast and submit it to SIGNIS. She sent her whole experience with children, her nephew and what she had found in daily life during the Covid-19 pandemic. She did it well. She claimed that SIGNIS Asia and world need to be the influencers for society like Holy Mother Mary. She did not target the prizes as she expected that her work will be the voice of voiceless.

Questions and sharing following Dayana’s shared experience:

Church Media persons must be with God. It is not about what we want to do but what God wants us to do. The participants claimed that they were happy to be involved in SIGNIS activities. Dayana became a role model. She went out to meet people to gather information and found out what they needed. God has his own time and will be with the people. Further, the participants have to learn more, and on how to connect with Christ. Dayana focused on God as a communicator. Her journey was God’s plan. Her sharing inspired Fr. Erick, and she showed him how to practice his own skill in community journalism where we must give details in the story. In particular, the interview with children was very difficult, but she managed to do it because she was a journalist and teacher.

Fr. Lal shared 5 steps for radio production:

First, we should have a clear concept in designing radio programmes. Next, there should be brainstorming or draft topics during the process of designing programmes. Third, unnecessary things, should be purified. Fourth, we need to identify the available and reachable resources to help us run the programmes. Finally, we should decide the way to deliver the programmes or choose the best format such as podcasts.

Day 2: May 10, 2022, Producing Podcasts & Radio Broadcasting

Mr. Bernard F. Cañaberal, President of SIGNIS Philippines, Radio Professional

The World is Listening to Podcasting – and where are we as catholic communicators? Where are we in this Podcast – the World is Listening. Vatican announces the theme for World Communication Sunday – Pope Francis is asking the world to “listen again”. Listening is the first step towards communication.

Some questions were put forward, such as what to consider as the biggest topic which is important – Less music is better and also to pause. Voice training should be done, such as training how to open the mouth or do tongue exercises. Broadcasters should talk to big crowds without fear – how to overcome it? We need to think with courage and be confident of what we talk about, and know our messages or points. Points should be clear and know how to deliver the points. Get the connection and believe in oneself.

Morning Session: Producing Podcast and Radio Broadcasting Fr. Lal Pushpadewa Fernando

He invited people to Change the World – We as catholic presenters should have clear ideas of what we want to do and our purposes and know what we should not do. As media people, we should know where we stand.

Mr. Chanakya Jayadeva – Law in entertainment

He stated that intellectual property laws and other laws are important to radio channels and we should know the basics of law of channels/ radio stations. There are 4 areas of law: 1. Copyright; 2. Privacy and publicity; 3. Hate speeches; and 4. Defamation of someone’s character.

Virtual and face to face group discussion:

There are always 2 voices which comes from God or evil. Sometimes good news will come from anyone or a resource person. We need to be conscious of the mind of the right or wrong type of news.

Other topics were also discussed such as Food Safety, Radio products need something innovative and creative, concepts to create, case studies and creation of output which we have not seen or experienced anywhere else.

Intellectual Property Rights should also be considered, uniting ourselves while waiting for others, being a bridge maker, towards a Green Country, and avoiding the debt trap. We need to promote organic products and living, aspects of being self-sufficient, use less plastic. Water will get contaminated and harm fish and nature. Data should be shared. Participants shared, drafted short scripts and decided the format to convey their messages.

Developing Models for Sustainability by Fr. Paul Samasumo, Chair of the SIGNIS Radio Desk, Vice President of SIGNIS World

Evangelization and communication are interconnected. Jesus must be proclaimed to let more people know Him to change lives. The glory of God is when man/woman are fully alive. Furthermore, he stated that community comes first. Podcasts should respond to the needs of community. Catholic community broadcasters should maintained balanced aspects and sustainability. The programmes must propose innovative solutions that last. Treat people well and respect their dignity as a part of ethical considerations.

During the pandemic, Catholic media gave guidance about hygiene, vaccine and truth as a reliable and dependable media. The programmes should stay local and inclusive. Contents are expected to invite more people and to be participatory. Programmes should seek the marginalized and the lost, and be a voice for the voiceless. Catholic podcasts should provide useful information and mobilize people for the sake of the community. Radio content need to give listeners valuable information from the experts. Broadcasters should connect with listeners and mobilize them for collective actions.

Day-3: May 11, 2022 Building Long-lasting Partnerships

‘Dialogic Communication, a Model of Synodal Communication’
Ms. Maria Isabel Gatti, President of SIGNIS Argentina & Ms. Pamela Aleman, Vice President of SIGNIS North America (via Zoom)

The concept and Latin American practices that led to the conceptualization of a community communication model called dialogic communication were presented. This proposal stems from community radio stations born in the sixties in Latin America with educational purposes. Many of these experiences are now more than fifty years old. In some cases, they have been transformed into multimedia to meet the transformations in the digital world. These technological developments have been accompanied by a sustained commitment over time in the defence of human rights and the integral growth of people. The proposal of community media in its early years sought to give “the voice of the voiceless”. Now the proposal has changed, and it seeks the creation of spaces where all social actors can express their own voice. For this reason, Catholic radio stations in the region largely promote the right to communication and the democratization of communications.

Community and network work is one of the objectives of SIGNIS. In particular, the International Radio Desk proposes to generate a map of Catholic radio stations in the world to promote this type of work. The first possibility to work together is born when we get to know each other. Several issues arose such as how we combine the Synod with that of the Radio Map. All the perspectives are to be integrated and to being present and listening, being part of the culture and starting step by step. It is very important to know what the reality looks like, and by reading we can understand the local society, the reality of society and how we are going to react. And we read the Gospel, we build community and build the society.

There is a Golden Rule: Everything you want people to do, you do for them first. History speaks about the past, and about how that will help future changes. The SIGNIS website has updated to created a SIGNIS Map. In pandemic times, technology and ideas are interconnected, and we are living the future now. Every time there is a new technology, we need to learn and know what we are going to do with it and pick up the technology for us to work with. People from all backgrounds can share and learn from each other. It is important to keep technology in mind and provide at least minimum access so that we can reach out to as many as possible.

Advocating Pluralism through Public or Private Radios & Community Broadcasters: Radio Remains Alive, Represents Imagination & Creativity By Ms. Bernadetta Widiandajani, Secretary of SIGNIS Asia & Chair of SIGNIS ASIA Radio Desk

Radio contributes greatly to the drive for advocating pluralism, serving as one of the networking efforts to build long-term partnerships in realizing a culture of peace in this world. It is necessary to keep encouraging people to accept plurality, respect the different ethnics, groups, religions, customs and way of life to materialize the culture of peace. Pluralism implies in actions that recognize freedom of religion, freedom of thought, or freedom of information. To make it happen, it requires a mature attitude among people. At present, pluralism must be promoted by all elements of the nation and society.

SIGNIS Radio Desk should involve young people as producers and artists to produce creative and imaginative programmes that broadcast contemporary themes, local culture and digitization issues. Radio training in various stages is also the future of SIGNIS. We look forward to the involvement of our young participants to make the forthcoming SIGNIS Radio Desk young and dynamic.


There are some issues in building radio networking. First, who will be our partners. Outside the church the partners include technicians, broadcasters, government officers for permission, requirement documents, law matters, and other secular media for technical and training, while inside Church, they comprise priests, bishops, clergy and faithful to make them aware that radio is important for church and Church community. We need to encourage them to support us in whatever they can do. Second, what types of activities should be done. Contents must voice the needs of people, and bring up their voice to society.

Third, what objectives should be realized. More trainings are needed on specific skills such as Radio drama, podcasts and voice training by region or country. Follow up with the participant should be done by sharing what we have learned and implemented in our work, one month by Zoom, and once a year to have an international encounter. We need to encourage the encounter to join the SIGNIS Radio competition while promoting the SIGNIS programme personally to our friends and let them be a part of the programme.

Fourth, how long and what are their respective roles. It is necessary to discuss the role of a Catholic radio manager, journalist or content creator. We are the channel where the messages of Christian values are transmitted or delivered to the Christian community. We are the promoter of Christian values to the world. To implement those two roles, we can give more spaces on our newspaper or magazines, give more time at our radio stations, more programmes to talk about issues. We can also invite our partners that support our mission for interview on our programmes to build collaborative works.

Fifth, sustainability of a radio network. Every Christian shall become God’s microphone, and be the voice of the voiceless as the heart is the repository of love as stated by Widi. The words were very much inspiring, heart stirring and challenging. Sustainability of network mainly in radio depends on “enhancing our spirituality”. The spirit that works within each one of us, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are the main ingredients to enhance our spirituality thereby to sustain the networking in radio. We should go back to the life of the early Christians. After the experience of Pentecost they preached starting with St. Peter and St. Paul. Their letters are still powerful, till today we get new inspiration because it is the work of Spirit. Our network sustainability is governed by the work of Spirit. We have seen the famous picture of Jesus knocking at the door. It is our choice and openness to open our hearts to him and for the work of His Spirit. For example if we break an egg, out it becomes food. But Jesus says “man does not live by bread alone”. In other words he says, we are called to live by His Spirit. When we break the egg from inside we see new life coming out. So let’s begin our networking from inside with the Spirit.

Strategic Leadership for Future Sustainability of Radio by Father Andrew Kaufa, SIGNIS Africa (via zoom)

As models of future sustainability, Father Andrew highlighted two points for our consideration as models to develop in our radio stations: First, entrepreneurship. We need to take the risks, and cast away our fears and venture into new unknown ways which others in the secular media are already following and they have proved to be effective for them. Second, Succession Planning and Management (SP&M). We should be realistic and futuristic considering that we shall not be there forever, and learn best practices from the secular world, which guarantee sustainability of familiar and societal SMEs (Small & Medium Entrepreneurship).

‘Using Collaborative Methods to Use Your Project’, Ms. Angela Morais, SIGNIS Brazil and Fr. Paul Samasumo, Chair of the SIGNIS Radio Desk, Vice President of SIGNIS World

It is estimated that approximately 1400 broadcasters in Brazil have a Catholic-evangelist bias in their programming. Below are the types of programming:

COMMERCIAL. This programming is mostly based on journalistic content, entertainment, service provision, popular music. They sell spaces in the programming for subsistence. Either through the sale of schedules for programs of external production, or the sale of spaces for advertising in the intervals.

RELIGIOUS. This is a programming mostly based on Catholic evangelization content. They comply with the guidelines of maintaining spaces for journalism and service provision. They do not sell spaces and do not sell external advertising. MIXED. It refers to varied programming schedule, based on Catholic and secular evangelization content. They can choose to sell spaces for productions and external advertising that do not violate the editorial principles of the broadcaster.

The proposal of Jornal Brasil Hoje, in addition to providing a journalistic and professional service, is also to give voice to themes that the mainstream media do not prioritize in their agendas, for example: the indigenous issue, the work of pastorals and movements in defense of the less favored, the events of the Church in Brazil and in the world.


Radio is one of the forces of communication. Even in the face of so many technological updates and transformations, the relevance and presence of this vehicle as a means of training, information and entertainment for society is clear.

In Brazil, the Catholic Radio Network and SIGNIS are organizations that play the role of bringing together, animating and strengthening the media of Catholic religious inspiration. In this sense, there is a pressing need for a survey and mapping that can accurately express the reality of Catholic-inspired radio in Brazil.


Working on the importance of obtaining this data from the broadcasters’ managers; facilitating feedback through online forms, with less complex questions that suggest quick answers and with the main vehicle information; counting on the institutional strength of the CNBB to involve broadcasters and reach feedback; involving the various CNBB regional offices; and, considering that many of these stations are under the direction of religious orders and congregations, the possibility of counting on the support of the CRB in this process was raised.

ACTION PLAN Mr. Bernard F. Cañaberal, President SIGNIS Philippines, Radio Professional

(For discussion and approval) Sri Lanka 5112022

  1. BROADCAST 101 (Understanding the Nature of the Medium)
  8. Writing for RADIO DRAMA
  9. Acting for RADIO


It is limited to THIRTY (30) Participants only. It consists of two hours per meeting of TEN TO TWELVE meetings. Time zones are applicable. 2 pm BKK TIMEBASE. The training aims to develop Actors, Technical Person, Director, and Writer. The event will be done in the middle of June 2022. A course certificate will be given.

Related Future Project

Space for Broadcast. A Radio Platform in the social media we can share productions. Regular radio twelve hours program in the region will be run digitally. The programs cover radio competition, podcast, drama, talent portion, music, culture and many others. We should be the FIRE, be THE SIGN and be SIGNIS!

Day 4: May 12, 2022, 1-day for Outing

On the sidelines of the meeting, one of the participants from Colombo Broadcasting Corporation also interviewed Bishop, Father Lal, Bernard and Widi. (Click to view one of the interviews) On the last day, participants had the opportunity to visit the Colombo Broadcasting Corporation and the National Television Centre.

For further information contact:
Bernadetta Widiandajani
Chair, SIGNIS Asia Radio Desk

SA Radio Desk in other news: