Intimacy and self-abstraction: radio as new media in Aboriginal Australia

Daniel Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the first decade of the twenty-first century, a number of Indigenous radio stations around Australia began to use digital programming and digital music libraries, at times pre-programming their broadcast signal days in advance through various forms of digital audio workstation (DAW). This shift initially caused both celebration and concern, and occasioned reflection by many producers on how radio ought to work and sound. For some producers the shift to digital pre-programming seemed a threat to the intimate address that Aboriginal radio entailed. On the other hand, some of these same producers began to re-imagine the audience to which such indigenous media might now aspire and to celebrate the sheer quantity of Aboriginal programming that a smaller number of producers could now produce. In challenging radio's naturalised 'liveness' for Aboriginal radio producers this oscillation suggests a distinct media ideology (Gershon 2010a), a sense of what radio media ought to accomplish, that draws together forms of intimate address and public abstraction. In my analysis I re-imagine John Durham Peters' heuristic dichotomy of dialogue and dissemination as a tension between intimacy and self-abstraction in order to suggest how radio as 'new media' continues to animate some longstanding dynamics of Aboriginal cultural production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-393
Number of pages22
JournalCulture, Theory and Critique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Intimacy and self-abstraction: radio as new media in Aboriginal Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this