Voice-Cast: the distribution of the voice via podcasting

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, the relatively new distribution of voice through podcasting is considered: a distribution that extends voices - and voice performances in particular - not only through space, but also potentially through time. One of the key attributes that may be genuinely new and even revolutionary to podcasting lies in its creation of a new and extended sphere for the performance of the essentially acousmatic voice. By acousmatic, we mean the transmission and reception of voices (people and things) without their origin being visible. Podcasting thus opens up a new sphere of voicings, and of words in motion and 'in suspension': through the MP3 download of the 'voicecast' an ever growing reservoir of old and new voices await activation as they find listeners. This means that a genuinely new extended auditory space for these acousmatic voices has emerged. It is a voice-talk sphere which draws on traditions of radio talk and radiophony, distinguishing itself from that other audio sphere extended by the MP3 download: music. This discussion of podcasting considers this singular audio media form in its historical context and as having potentially revolutionary qualities. At the same time, podcasting's closest kin remains an 'old media' form, the radio. This is why we choose to assess podcasting in the context of the long history of radio dissemination and radiophony, particularly the tradition incorporating amateur radio, community radio, and other manifestations of the citizen voice. As a means of gleaning the potential of the digitized podcast voice, we survey recent applications of podcasting in various forms, including its recent massive uptake by the public service radio sector - which appears to be constituting a revitalization of the public radio (and public institutional) voice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVoice
Subtitle of host publicationvocal aesthetics in digital arts and media
EditorsNorie Neumark, Ross Gibson, Theo van Leeuwin
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780262013901
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameLeonardo books
PublisherMIT Press


  • voice
  • podcasting
  • amateur radio
  • philosophy of voice
  • auditory culture
  • ipod culture
  • podcasting history
  • radio broadcasting history
  • audio
  • radio programs
  • history of the voice
  • voice and technology
  • voice and communications
  • voice and radio
  • public service broadcasting


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