There’s been a lot of great energy in recent years surrounding the field of sound studies, in which scholars are increasingly looking at the importance of the auditory aspects of media culture. Within the world of sound studies, a growing group of radio scholars is working hard to ensure that an academic lens is focused on the myriad ways that radio touches society. This week’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Seattle (continuing through Sunday, March 23) is chock full of radio and podcasting-themed papers as well as a meet-up for academics with a scholarly interest in radio on Saturday at 9am. Bill Kirkpatrick put together a great list of all of the sound studies papers (nearly 150 of them!) at the conference for the Sounding Out blog. In analyzing the radio papers this year, Kirkpatrick writes,
Thematically, there remains a troubling ‘donut hole’ in radio scholarship that I hope more scholars will address: we have lots of work on early radio (into the 1950s), and lots of work on contemporary radio and podcasting, but that leaves a half-century gap that doesn’t receive nearly enough scholarly attention. In other words, radio studies is far from exhausted…
As I read through Kirkpatrick’s list of the radio and podcasting panels at this year’s SCMS conference, I saw plenty of intriguing papers. The wide range of topics include radio in 1970s China, early Japanese radio drama, Radio Islam, the “Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast,” Caribbean radio, Black podcasters responses to the George Zimmerman verdict, Spanish language radio, the BBC 1930-1955, radio sponsorship and Jack Benny in the 1940s, radio westerns, independent music and satellite radio, public radio, Wisconsin radio, Internet radio, and more. I wish I was there to take it all in!
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