Radio Studies

Stephen Lax

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online August 2012 | | DOI:
Radio Studies

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The field of radio studies has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years. More radio is taught at universities and colleges than ever before, and the past three decades have witnessed growing numbers of scholarly works devoted to radio research while more journals now publish articles on radio. The emergence of two journals devoted entirely to radio research, the Journal of Radio Studies in the United States in 1991 and the United Kingdom’s Radio Journal in 2003, is both an indicator and consequence of this renewal. This rather late discovery of one of the oldest mass media reflects a tendency within media and communication studies to elevate the role of audiovisual media in comparison with audio. Yet, if we can have film studies and television studies, why not radio studies? After all, audio media, and radio in particular, continue not merely to survive while visual media have become ever more widespread, but also have thrived during this period. The portable nature of radio, noted first in the 1950s and 1960s as enabling radio to distinguish itself from the new television services, emerges once more in “personal” media players and mobile or cell phones, its mobility a defining quality that engenders a personal and intimate relationship between the radio receiver and its listener. New audio formats, such as Internet streaming, podcasts, and music downloads, which sit happily alongside “traditional” radio broadcasts in this same listening device, have blurred medium-specific boundaries and encouraged a seamless flow of listening from live, broadcast radio stations, streamed content, and recorded programs. Thus radio studies naturally engages with areas of study shared with other media—for example, audiences and reception, modes of production, the institutional structure of the industry, and programming forms are all legitimate fields of inquiry—and as radio and audio media undergo rapid change, it is appropriate that the long history of the original broadcast medium be brought to bear on the present.

Article.  12309 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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