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Are you still a radio deejay if you just text?

What is Radio conference banner - the University of Oregon at Portland.


This Thursday the What is Radio conference begins in Portland, and Radio Survivor will be there. Both Jennifer Waits and I are presenting papers. Expect some blogging about the conferences activities too.

My paper is titled “The rise of the radioText” deejay, and wonders out loud whether it is possible to function as a radio deejay without speaking, that is, to interface with one’s listeners via text messaging and text chatting only. Most texting and IRC style chatboarding in radio today comes in hybrid form. Take for example UC Santa Cruz college radio station KZSC’s chat feature, or of San Francisco’s chatterbox widget.

Radio Valencia chatterboxBut some of it is entirely text based—a service like comes to mind with its very busy music room chat boards, or Radio Reddit’s IRC chat feature.

In my paper I write:

Do these innovations substantially differ from on air deejays who deploy, say, a Facebook announcement page? I think that to some degree they do. They take deejay conversation far away from the realm of the human voice, replacing it entirely or in part with a text based discussion. They decentralize the deejay. He or she often becomes a collective of discussants, rather than a single individual.


As texting more and more approximates the pace of the human voice, the big question is whether “radioText” approximates the deejay voice. I think that to some degree it does. Your thoughts are welcome.

Pictures to above right and below, in order: chatterbox,, KZSC chat, and Reddit Radio IRC.

KZSC chat.

Reddit Radio IRC chat


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