HomeRadio in the world of audio

HomeRadio in the world of audio

Radio in the world of audio

La radio dans l’univers audio

Expression, competition and context

Expressions, concurrences et contextes

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 by Lucie Choupaut

Summary

How is radio adapting to the popularity and expansion of the audio universe? This is the main question that will be addressed during this international symposium, which will bring together researchers as well as sound artisans and practitioners. 

Announcement

10th International Conference of the GRER (Radio Research and Studies Group) 

Organised in partnership with the Information and Communications Department 

Université Laval: 9 to 11 November 2022, Quebec City (Canada)

Argument

Following its research focus, the GRER is organising its tenth international conference focusing on new sound forms and the evolution of radio in the world of audio. 

Beyond the devices or means of transmission, which vary and evolve as technology develops, one of the defining characteristics of radio is that it is sound broadcast simultaneously to a group of listeners. Although this major characteristic might be challenged now with the stream becoming less linear and live broadcasts being controlled by listeners, all made possible by digital radio, or with simulcasts and on-demand broadcasts available only through digital applications or social networks such as Clubhouse, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., the extremely variable size of this set of listeners can cover a wide spectrum from mass to niche radio. The “amateur radio boom” that BBC journalist Ben Hammersley anticipated as early as 2004 with the phenomenal growth of what he called the “audible revolution” can be seen in recent years with the craze for creating and listening to podcasts, whether they are native (original audio content) or offered as radio replay (content listened to after it has been aired). This keen interest (Bouton, 2020) is also reflected in the emergence of new forms of radio stations that claim to be “audio pure players” or on-demand radio stations. The business models of these new media structures are far from stabilised. Additionally, there is, for example, the current trend (especially in the West) towards the production of enriched radio content, the integration of image and video in digital radio production, the production of filmed radio and consequently the profound transformation of the traditional radio studio. The growing popularity and expansion of the audio universe are increasingly documented realities that can no longer be disputed in the media sector. Better still, media metrics take into account these new forms of sound in terms of use, which are closely scrutinised by the players in the field.

How is radio adapting to the popularity and expansion of the audio universe? This is the main question that will be addressed during this international symposium, which will bring together researchers as well as sound artisans and practitioners. 

The papers, which may be cross-disciplinary, may focus on:

  • new modes of expression and sound creation, with new grammars, new writing and new formats;
  • the competition facing radio stations, particularly the expansion of the audio universe via screens, on video and through streaming platforms;
  • the renewal of the radio context(s) and the impact on information, the themes dealt with and radio’s relationship with listeners.

Expressions

Radio, which recently celebrated its first centennial, has always adapted to all forms of technological innovation in the media world. The multiple possibilities for audio creation, reduction of production costs, increasing accessibility of smartphones and tablets, social media and all the opportunities offered by digital technologies are expanding and changing the audio universe. Radio creation is affected by this, since the design and broadcasting of programmes take account of this new environment (podcasting, webcasting, simulcasting, web radio) with implications as much for audio grammar and the ways of telling stories as for the formats proposed. Does radio retain any specificity or quality that is essential to it?  How is radio adapting to the challenges of an expanding audio universe? What are the strategies that allow radio and its stakeholders to reinvent themselves and innovate? What are the challenges? Proposals may address the issues of discoverability of radio programmes and the now numerous ways in which audio content is consumed and broadcast. Analyses may focus on how sound reconfigures and reformats the world of radio and how it expands the possibilities of listening and consumption for listeners as well as for radio itself. Reflections that specifically address the sound object, its variations, frequency, strangeness, temporality, informational or aesthetic power, its ability to connect or to serve diverse communities are also welcome. 

Competition

With the expansion of the audio universe, questions will necessarily arise concerning the role of screens, images and video in their relationship to radio sound. The existence or not of complementarity, collaboration and/or cannibalisation relationships can be studied. Beyond this, this will involve questioning the relevance of the concept of radio more generally through its markers of specificity, including sound, possibly in comparison with other media, and illustrating how radio relies on sound to gain new audiences. By way of illustration, audience measurements in recent years show a high proportion of young people among those who do not or no longer listen to traditional radio. On the contrary, young people figure prominently among those who develop new listening habits offered by the audio universe. For example, we may ask how music stations are coping with the displacement of young audiences by streaming platforms such as Spotify and Deezer, among others. How is radio positioned in relation to other competitors in the audio world (podcasts, voice assistants, social audio, etc.)? Does radio renew itself with innovative proposals or does it settle for following the trend by importing ways of doing things or models that are in vogue in the audio world?

Works that highlight hybridizations or strategies for incorporating new audiences through new sound forms are welcome. Empirical studies in different geographical areas (Europe, America, Africa, etc.) are expected and will help develop knowledge in this field.

Context

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has put all the certainties around which humanity has always operated to the test. For a while, it changed the usual mechanisms of information production and media practice by the public. The parallel drawn between the evolution of the radio medium and that of a virus that mutates and adapts by relying on its environment rather than being subjected to its rules (Bordier, Kirchner and Nussbaumer, 2012) makes sense here. How did participants in the radio ecosystem react to the drop in radio listening levels observed at the start of the pandemic due to imposed lockdowns and their effects on commuting – the preferred time for listening to the radio?  

While the phenomenon of misinformation is not new in itself, the uncertainties generated by COVID-19, the need to reassure loved ones, isolation and the development of voice applications have contributed to the production and circulation of an impressive amount of fake news, particularly in the audio world. Everyone has contributed to sometimes conspiratorial polemic topics (Chevrel, Éveillard, 2021).

In this field, we encourage proposals that explore the contribution of radio stations, because of their specificity, to this fight against false information. Case studies may be proposed on initiatives such as Wa FM, a participatory web radio broadcast in the Ivory Coast on the WhatsApp messaging app to combat fake news related to the coronavirus, or the alternative social network Clubhouse, launched during a period of social distancing, which is a mixture of audio podcasting, talk radio and conference calls (Strielkowski, 2021). From this angle, we expect proposals that explore the innovative, sometimes necessary and ingenious adaptations that the media in general and radio, in particular, have had to make to continue producing and engaging their audiences. We also expect case studies on the role of radio in the dissemination of information and, especially, in the dissemination of popularized scientific information during the pandemic. 

Proposal submission process

Those interested in participating in this international conference should send an abstract of 500 words outlining their topic, methodology and, if applicable, expected results. 

Proposals must be sent by email

by 25 February 2022

to colloque2022.grer@gmail.com. Please include your name and credentials (affiliation, university or institution, email address, telephone number and title of paper) in the body of your message.

An answer will be given by 6 May 2022 at the latest by the scientific committee, after a doubleblind evaluation process.

Organisation committee

  • Henri Assogba, Université Laval, Canada
  • Atassé Kodjo Koulété, Université Laval, Canada
  • Wisnique Panier, Université Laval, Canada

Scientific committee

  • Frédéric Antoine, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Henri Assogba, Université Laval, Canada
  • Colette Brin, Université Laval, Canada
  • André Breton, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
  • Renaud Carbasse, Université Laval, Canada
  • Jean-Jacques Cheval, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France
  • Étienne Damome, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France
  • François Demers, Université Laval, Canada
  • Séverine Equoy Hutin, University of Franche-Comté, France
  • Anne-Caroline Fiévet, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, France
  • Hervé Glevarec, Université Paris Dauphine-PSL, France
  • Pergia Gkouskou-Giannakou, University of Clermont Auvergne, France 
  • Isabel Guglielmone, Université de Compiègne, France
  • André Éric Létourneau, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
  • Charles Moumouni, Université Laval, Canada
  • Dominique Payette, Université Laval, Canada
  • Albino Pedroia, Institut d’études politiques de Paris, France
  • Sébastien Poulain, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France
  • Pascal Ricaud, Université de Tours, France
  • Nozha Smati, University of Lille, France
  • Thierry Watine, Université Laval, Canada
  • Pierre Morelli, Université de Lorraine, France
  • Fredj Zamit, Université de la Manouba, Tunisia 
  • Annie Lenoble-Bart, Bordeaux Montaigne University, France

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Places

  • Quebec City, Canada

Event format

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Friday, February 25, 2022

Keywords

  • radio, audio, numérique, podcast

Contact(s)

  • Henri Assogba
    courriel : henri [dot] assogba [at] com [dot] ulaval [dot] ca

Information source

  • Henri Assogba
    courriel : henri [dot] assogba [at] com [dot] ulaval [dot] ca

To cite this announcement

« Radio in the world of audio », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, https://calenda.org/941450

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