So What Exactly Is Radio?

I write today after the first week of university for 2012.

A new university term means new modules, and one of those new modules is RAP103 Radio Texts & Contexts.

Last Monday we had a little debate – we were trying to work out what radio actually is. Easy? Well… yes, and no.

The point was that we are now in an age where we have “jukebox” services like Last FM and AccuRadio are readily available to anyone with an Internet connection. Podcasts are popular with large numbers of people, some radio stations make use of video and other interactive content to supplement the broadcasts.

I tried to be clever and suggested that radio is what comes out of the little box in the corner with an aerial. Though that’s not strictly true – most of my radio listening these days is done on the computer, via the Internet, but I’m still listening to “radio”.

There was one particular slide on the lecture PPT which stood out to me which reflects this: ‘No medium can be defined by the technology of its delivery’– apparently that’s a quote from Hugh Chignell’s book, Key Concepts in Radio Studies. (Annoyingly, the Google book thing says No eBook Available, so if I want to read it I’ll have to go to the library at uni).

In the end I think everyone came to an agreement about what makes something “radio”.

And if you take a listen to just about any BBC station (excluding Radio 1, 1 Extra, 5 Live Sport and Alan Carr’s Radio 2 show), then you’ll get a fairly good idea of the things I think make good radio…

I note that part of the assignment for RAP103 is basically a diary of my radio listening. I shouldn’t have too much trouble doing this, because I already listen to quite a range of radio when I’m not doing anything useful (I’m listening to BBC Radio Wales Early Breakfast Show on the iPlayer at the moment). I don’t like writing essays but this bit of the assignment should be quite fun…

The other module I’ve got this semester/term is about feature documentaries. I listen to a lot of documentaries on Radios 2 and 4, so I think I know roughly what standard of production I’ll be looking to achieve there, even if I don’t yet know what to make a documentary about. As I said on my Tone show on Thursday night… “Radio 4, here I come”! Maybe one day. 😉

My Sunday Roast awaits downstairs – Dad’s cooking lamb tonight. Back to university for week 2 tomorrow – if I don’t write on the blog again this week, I’ll speak to you on my Tone Radio show on Thursday night from 8.


22/01/12 17:55

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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