Voices-cast: a report on the new audiosphere of podcasting with specific insights for public broadcasting

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Digitisation and the ready downloading and distribution of audio files on the internet have transformed contemporary audio media. Podcasting, which enables audio and radio programming to be downloaded and shared via the internet, has become a standard feature of public broadcasting organisations and stations since 2005. Drawing on examples and links with early radio and some of its more imaginative forms, this paper theorizes the exponentially expanding podcast phenomenon as an extension of already existing speech radio - a boon in particular to public broadcasting radio's rich reservoir of programs and cultural and democratic mission. The discussion also engages with this new sphere for the transport, communication and performance of voices of all kinds, amateur voices (citizens media), the famous and the forgotten...voices of the dead. The paper asks: what resona nces can we detect in podcasting today from radio's past, and what might this new pod-ecology offer listeners in the future? Invoking historian, John Durham Peters discussion of the merits of dissemination and dialogue, and critical theorist Bertolt Brecht's disappointment with 'one way' broadcast radio in the 1930s, a genealogy of the form is considered drawing on radio's past dreamings of 'eros and democracy' (Peters 1999). The significance of this new distribution and 'acousmatic' presence is discussed in the context of citizen media, with particular focus on public broadcasting and the innovations and developments forged by these major institutions internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication, Creativity and Global Citizenship
Subtitle of host publicationRefereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association Conference 2009
EditorsTerry Flew
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781741072754
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference - Brisbane
Duration: 8 Jul 200910 Jul 2009


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Podcasting
  • radio
  • radio cultures
  • John Durham Peters
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Raymond Williams
  • BBC
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • American National public radio(NPR)
  • web and streamed radio
  • StoryCorps
  • Ubu-Web
  • public broadcasting
  • Arte-radio
  • radio futures
  • citizens media
  • broadcast radio
  • radio histories
  • public broadcasting radio
  • radio and innovation
  • listening and communication
  • auditory culture


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