Throughout its history, radio has been undergoing constant transformations. Perhaps this is why it has survived the changes of the political and economic environments, has taken advantage of technological advances, and has adapted to transformations in listening modes. Regardless of whether they have been accidental or intentional, voluntary or forced, these changes have clearly resulted in the evolution of radio being a continuous and lasting process.
A true revolution is taking place in radio technology; the transition from analogue technology to digital technology and, most recently, to Internet, with software as the key tool, have been the major changes in radio in recent years. Radio is evolving itself from a purely mass medium into a personalized, interactive medium whose diversified program is available “’on demand’”.
On the other hand, a profound transfiguration is occurring in radio contents. Actually, radio is also changing in terms of content, language, and narratives. Shaping audio messages to fit the web environment is a challenge that demands reflection on the changes that are occurring in the discursive characteristics of sound messages. The reconfiguration of radio narrative idiosyncrasy is therefore becoming one of the most serious impasses for the future of this medium.
Finally, and resulting in the fusion of technology and the renewal of narratives, a diversification and dispersion is occurring within radio audiences. In fact, following the trend of many other sectors of social life, radio listeners are leaving the mass community they used to be a part of to join smaller groups of interest. Fragmentation seems to be the phenomenon here that better characterizes radio audiences in a post-technological context.
Technology, narratives, and audiences are the three main axes proposed for the theorizing exercise of this congress. There will be blocks specifically dedicated to each of these spheres, where seven thematic panels will be organized within each one. For this reason proposals are welcome to fit some specific Working Groups, although no area of study of radio will be excluded. Proposals that don’t fit any of these groups should still be sent because the proposed programme may be re-organized according to the participants’ intentions.
Technology 1: Radio Between Web 2.0 Challenge and Social Networks
This working group welcomes proposals on: the relation between radio and social networks such as Facebook; new technological tools to broadcast or webcast; and new software that can be used to edit and produce audio contents
Technology 2: Towards Industry Imperatives and Multimedia Context
This working group welcomes proposals regarding the radio market and its challenges; political economy in radio sector; and the professionalization of people working on radio
Audiences 1: New Methods of Radio Audience Research
This working group is dedicated to those intending to question the audience concept; and to reflect on methodologies concerning audience studies
Audiences 2: Radio Glocalization and New Patterns of Social Participation
This working group concerns the listener and modes of listening. Papers submitted to this group should focus on the process of individualization proper of all information technologies and current cyberculture context; the apparent contradiction resulting from the confrontation of this individualization and the opposite demand for participation; new competences that all listeners seem to have; new listener’s’ status; new models of radio, such as community radios
Narratives 1: New Radio Genres and Still the Creative Power of the Sound
This working group includes all genres in radio discourse, from journalism to advertising. It therefore welcomes papers on specific content such as news bulletins and advertising spots. Analysis of radio programs and prognoses on new formats will fit within this working group well
Narratives 2: Non-Linear Discourse and New Language Practices
This working group is probably more concerned with linguistic and semiotic approaches. Proposals on the interaction between producers and listeners, the construction of meaning, social imaginary, and the communicative phenomenon of radio are particularly applicable to this panel
Special session: Radio and Identity
This session is specially dedicated to examine the role of radio in constructing national, local, ethnic, gendered and generational identities among others. The construction of identity is a complex issue but the role of the mass media in building a sense of self as a member of a community at different levels has been widely acknowledged. This special session expects to explore some of the ways in which radio in its many different forms and formats, through every decade since its earliest broadcasts and in every country and linguistic community has played a role in the formation of different identities. Papers may concentrate on a single specific example, draw on cross cultural comparisons or explore the role of the mass media in identity formation generally. Research may be at an initial or advanced stage, the principal aim of this special session is to initiate an ongoing discussion of this fascinating area and to establish a long term, transnational research project leading to publication. The papers presented in this session will be considered as potential submissions for a book project; however the selection and preparation of chapters for the book will follow a distinct and discrete review and selection process.
Although this proposal is divided into work packages, papers are welcome on all issues that are currently engaging scholars, radios practitioners, and regulators from other disciplines of social sciences – media studies, cultural studies, political economy, sociology of communication, semiotics, journalism, advertising and history.
Deadline for abstract submissions: 25th April 2011