Folkways and airwaves: oral history, community and vernacular radio.

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Franklin, Ieuan
  • Subject: ft

This thesis investigates a variety of uses of actuality (recorded speech), oral history and folklore (vernacular culture) in radio broadcasting in Britain and\ud Newfoundland (Canada). The broadcasting of vernacular culture will be shown to foster intimate and interactive relationships between broadcasters and audiences. Using a theoretical framework that draws upon the work of communications theorists Harold Innis and Walter Ong, the thesis will explore the (secondary) orality of radio broadcasting, and will consider instances in which the normative unidirectional structure and 'passive' orality of radio has been (and can be) made reciprocal and active through the participation of listeners. The inclusion of 'lay voices' and 'vernacular input' in radio broadcasting will be charted as a measure of the democratization of radio, and in order to demonstrate radio's role in disseminating oral history, promoting dialogue, and building and binding communities. The thesis will predominantly focus on local and regional forms of\ud radio: the BBC Regions in the post-war era; regional radio programming serving the Canadianprovince ofNewfoundland both pre- and post-Confederation (which took place in 1949); and the community radio sector in the UK during the last five years. A common theme of many of the case studies within the thesis will be the role of citizen participation in challenging, transgressing or eroding editorial\ud control, institutional protocols and the linguistic hegemony of radio production. Conversely, close attention will be given to the ways in which editorial control in\ud radio production has circumscribed the self-definition of participants and communities. These case studies will provide evidence with which to investigate the following research question - is the democratization of radio possible through the incorporation of citizen voices or messages within radio production or programming, or is it only possible through changing the medium itself through\ud citizen participation in democratic structures of production, management and ownership?
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