Journal of Radio and Audio Media, 2013, 20(1): 53-67
Taylor & Francis, ISSN: 1937-6529 (Print), 1937-6537 (Online)
This paper examines the hypothesis that the webcasting radio opens several new possibilities for fulfilling the expectations that the traditional over-the-air radio failed to meet. Considering the complexities of radio as a social system for the production of culture and for communication, and based on an overview of the Greek case, it suggests a model for studying the potential and the dynamics of the webcasting radio compared with the traditional radio in various media environments.
The model suggested includes eight dimensions that should be considered to compare the traditional with the webcasting radio: institutional framework, market structures and business models, content diversity, audience profile, interactivity, sociability, relations with the recording industry, and relations with major news media and organizations.
The analysis shows that a complex approach is needed to explore the potential and the dynamics of the webcasting radio and to answer the question about the chances for the webcasting radio to realize the expectations for democratization of and participation in the public sphere.
The paper holds that this question is important not only from an academic point of view, but also for policy decision makers - especially at a time of reducing democracy - and for producers interested in alternative forms of cultural production and communication, beyond the mainstream media.