Communication in the radio century: thinking through radio

Lacey, Kate Communication in the radio century: thinking through radio. In: Hilmes, Michele and Bottomley, Andrew (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Radio Studies. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (Accepted)

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (261kB)
Official URL:


The conceit of this chapter is to try not only to think about radio per se, but to think through radio: that is, to use radio, or rather, ideas of radio, as a foil with which to think about contemporary digital culture. The motivation comes in part from a frustration with the historical amnesia of so much writing about contemporary media, and in part from the sidelining of radio within such accounts. Radio occupies an interesting space in terms of communication history and theory as the quintessential pioneer of modern communications media with a century’s experience of experimentation and renewal, and as an audio medium that puts into relief many of the dominant currents of visual media culture. Radio figures in this chapter as a “liquid” medium, forever adapting, shifting form, flowing into different spaces, occupying public spaces and inhabiting individual minds, negotiating and renegotiating the modern variability of time and space.
By the same token, contemporary media and cultural theory also suggest ways of re-casting studies of radio beyond the conventional (albeit important) national, institutional, and textual frames. The chapter will attempt to “think through radio” in relation to current debates around media archaeology, decolonisation, new materialism and intermediality. For example, although “the West” is celebrating a round of broadcasting centenaries in Europe and North America, the introduction of radio elsewhere in the world not only often came much later, but also came as part and parcel of a colonial infrastructure of subjugation and control. The decolonisation agenda involves disrupting, or at least complicating, the kinds of metanarratives about media with which the chapter begins. This will also connect with debates about materialities and the Anthropocene, which involves thinking through the ecological implications of radio, not only in terms of its hard infrastructure, but its colonization of the atmosphere itself - the human appropriation and sonic pollution of the airwaves. Finally, the chapter as a whole is informed by a commitment to interdisciplinarity and to thinking through radio as an expanded medium.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2022 09:39
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2022 09:39

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update