From ‘old media’ to interactive radio?

From ‘old media’ to interactive radio?

Author: Julia Lorke – The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom

Currently we are in the fourth stage of the story of radio and its public (Bonini, 2014); social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook or Twitter have made the public audible, visible and connected. This also means that radio can be participative; listeners can become producers and as a result producers become curators. Social networking sites allow horizontal communication and therefore seem like the ideal platform to enable dialogue between science and technology radio makers and their listeners.

This study explores in a comparative analysis whether science and technology radio programmes have already entered this fourth stage in reality or if these programmes only facilitate SNS to promote their products and increase their audiences. Do SNS enable science journalism to switch from deficit to dialogue? A quantitative and qualitative analysis investigates the websites and social media activities of nine science and technology radio programmes and one science podcast in Germany and the UK.

The results show that additional content is provided on most websites and functions to share content on SNS are embedded in all but one website. However, for further interaction users are mainly referred to SNS presences of stations or presenters; engagement with the listeners on a programme level is rare.

A comparison of two in-depth case studies, BBC Radio 4 Inside Science and BBC World Service Click, reveals how different approaches within one corporation can be and that horizontal communication between science and technology radio programmes and their audiences is not only possible but also has influenced the content and the production process of science and technology radio programmes.

Bonini, T. (2014): The new role of radio and its public in the age of social network sites. First Monday, Volume 19, Number 6

Lorke, J. (2017): Von »Old Media« zum interaktiven Radio?. Info7, No. 2, pp. 48-51

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices