Radio Content in the Digital Age

European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) - Radio Research Section
Cyprus University of Technology
Limassol, October 14-16, 2009



Like any other medium, radio has been - and in certain ways still is - a major cultural agent, an articulator and at the same time a developer of values, attitudes, preferences, and ideologies in general, regardless of its organizational and operation model (public service, purely commercial, government controlled, or some hybrid).

This paper focuses on the social and cultural aspects of radio exploring the impact of the Internet on its qualities and functions that turned it into one important component of the music industries and a significant cultural force through its familiar programming practices as a content gatekeeper. The occasional use of the RF broadcast radio to establish social networks and promote alternative cultural expressions through innovative content, especially among young people, seems to be reinforced in the digital environment.

Based on an exploratory study of the Greek case and on previous research, the paper holds that there is a long distance between mere RF webcasting and taping the potential of the Internet it this direction. The paper outlines from this point of view some of the major changes brought about by the Internet radio. Lowering the barriers for audio broadcasting, loosening the ties with the recording industry, enabling new business models, introducing innovative practices and content, and finally favoring new types of radio culture, as well as forms of critical culture and even counterculture, Internet radio might succeed where the RF broadcast radio has failed - at least in the Greek case - namely in promoting content diversity.

Finally, in discussing the potential of the Internet radio as a cultural agent, the paper outlines the directions of the future research.