From public service broadcasting to public service media – challenges for European radio cultures

IP2: From public service broadcasting to public service media – challenges for European radio cultures explores how recent reconfigurations of public service broadcasting have altered structures of production, distribution and consumption, as well as the social, cultural and political consequences of these changes. This shift to digital production and distribution technologies has challenged the traditional national public service remits, and opened up opportunities for multi platform combinations for radio.

The comparative approach in this IP to the changing European radio cultures will offer new insights in how the different national constructions of Public Service Broadcasting reflect key values in the construction of national identities, and how these values and cultural practices are being challenged by the overall digital media development. As such IP2 relates to the other IPs in the CRP, offering a socio-cultural framework for the empirical analysis of national and transnational cultural encounters, and the shaping of national identities as well as segmented, group-oriented sub-cultures and related concepts of identity or value patterns. This study connects to previous research in the field, and is mainly inspired by theories of the domestication of media (Silverstone and Hirsch 1992; Berker et al.2006), social shaping and technology (MacKenzie and Wajcman 1999; Winston 1998), and the study of the historical developments and the cultural dilemmas of the public service remits (Lowe and Jauert 1995).

Infrastructures & Public Spheres: How has the tension between technological innovations, social shaping of technology and national media policies influenced on the national concepts of the public service media remit for radio in a European perspective? Which patterns of inspirations and contrasts in institutional framing and of radio production, distribution and use can be detected through comparative studies between four European countries: three small (Denmark, Finland, Ireland) and two large (Germany and the UK). Aesthetics & Territoriality: Which new channel and program formats have been developed during the transformation from analogue to digital platforms, and how has this influenced on the program aesthetics (genre, audio performances, soundscapes etc.)? What consequences for the audience conceptions of radio listening can be traced on basis of the extended listener involvement in radio programs – directly though interventions in the program (mobile media, text messages, twitter etc) and indirectly through platform related fora, i.e. program related internet sites, Facebook or similar social media? Archive and Cultural Memory: The digitization of radio opens up for an extension of cultural encounters, both at a national and a transnational level, not least through web radio. This phenomenon raises the question of archival procedures for radio programmes and audio content on different platforms. The methodological challenges related to cooperation and integration between broadcast and internet archives and the accessibility for researchers are central for the project, and it will be researched in close cooperation with the relevant national archive institutions in Europe.