In Digital Media: The Culture of Sound and Spectacle, pp. 305-335 (invited author)
Editors: M. Kokkonis, G. Paschalidis, Ph. Bantimaroudis
Athens: Kritiki, 2010



This is a review of the web radio and the research in this field from a perspective focused on the specific relation between radio and musical culture. The review identifies the main issues and presents the debates and the rationale of the empirical research on internet radio developed since the mid '90s. It underlines the subjects open to inquiry and suggests future directions of research. It also argues that the range of the issues, the number of the disciplines involved, the permanence of the debates and the inquiries, and the multiple directions in which future research might develop, show that the web radio is not a passing or circumstantial field. This is valid especially for those who maintain that the content specificity, the mode of its production, and a specific relation with the musical culture, define what radio is rather than transmission technologies.

The study highlights the cultural importance of the RF radio, its catalytic impact on musical culture, and outlines the peculiarities of the Greek case from this point of view. It argues that this might be a framework for analyzing internet radio. In the same line of argument, the study includes also a critical review of several sociological approaches concerning the construction of culture by the RF radio as well as its construction by the culture (Adorno, Hirsch, Peterson, Hennion, and Negus). It concludes that the web radio challenges these approaches while its relation with the musical culture is still open to exploration.

The analysis arrives at the conclusion, that while several studies have identified new trends and possibilities in this direction, the research has not yet gone far enough. As a result, although the internet radio does not seem to disrupt the relation with the musical culture, the peculiarities and extend of its impact have not been clarified yet while a re-examination and eventually a revision of the approaches challenged is still absent. Finally, the paper argues that research in this direction is crucial because it might lead to an enrichment of major theories and basic assumptions about both the production of culture and the culture of production.