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radio dial


This node provides background information about Radio Nouspace and the context of its work, links to its streaming and on demand content, and contact information for John F. Barber, the curator.


Radio Nouspace experiments with affordances (potentials for particular actions) and interfaces of legacy and future radio to create new listening contexts, provide unique and informative listening experiences, and promote a radio "ecology." [1]

Legacy radio used sounds to provide compelling aural narrative and storytelling experiences. Radio Nouspace, as a web-based radio station looking to the future, builds on this focus by archiving and curating sound(s) in both streaming and on demand formats that inform narrative and digital storytelling. As a result, Radio Nouspace is both an online, interactive installation / performance work, and an inquiry-based research site. [2]


Why archive and curate sound? Sound was the original and remained the fundamental sensory input and communication channel for human culture until the widespread acceptance of writing and printing. Sound, despite its secondary relation to visual, conveys deep, rich information, capable of providing immersive, interactive contexts for listeners. Sound, specifically speech, as verbalization of abstract thought, forms the central component of narrative, the driver of storytelling, the basis for literature and various literary practices associated with its production and consumption. There are situations where sound conveys an experience better than images or words. There is something rare and warm about calling a memory to mind without perfect visual documentation. Through the act of careful listening, listeners can derive important information about the world they inhabit. Learn more . . .

Why use radio to archive and curate sound? Radio connects people across time and distance using invisible, disembodied sound (voices, music, other) rich with representation and fertile with ability to engage listeners' deep imaginations. Radio subsumes speech, reemphasizes the aural, and returns the paralanguage qualities that printed text strips from speech. Given only sound, one must fill in missing information using other senses, not simply rely on seeing the action involved with the production of sound. This promotes deep listening, imagination, interaction, even immersion. Learn more . . .


Radio Nouspace provides a 24/7 audio stream of sounds associated with narrative and digital storytelling. This includes old time radio (OTR) drama, mystery, adventure, and science fiction; music of various genres; and radio+sound art. Select "programs" for the streaming broadcast schedule and links to more information about individual programs. This streaming content can be heard in multiple ways . . .

On demand

Radio Nouspace provides a variety of content associated with narrative and digital storytelling in on demand format. The user decides what and when to listen and invokes sounds using individual audio players. Archival and curatorial information is provided for on demand sounds.

Select "archives" . . . for curated radio programs and other aural artifacts.

Select "infocasts" . . . for investigations regarding audio drama, auditory culture, curating, future radio, radio + sound art, and sound poetry.

Select "projects" . . . for creative works by John Barber for Radio Nouspace.

Select "radioELO" . . . for aural artifacts associated with works of electronic literature.

Select "listen" . . . for multiple ways to hear Radio Nouspace streaming content.

Select "site map" . . . for help navigating the many offerings of Radio Nouspace.


Radio Nouspace was created and is maintained by John F. Barber. Radio Nouspace intends to create new knowledge regarding the importance of sound in narrative and digital storytelling. Questions? Comments? Opposing viewpoints? Contact . . .

John F. Barber
The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program
Washington State University Vancouver
Editor, Music, Sound, Noise, electronic book review
Curator, Brautigan Bibliography and Archive


[1] Andrew Dubber argues that "radio is a term used to refer to very different (though related) phenomena." For example, radio is an institution; an organizational structure; a category of media content with its own characteristics, conventions, and tropes; a series of professional practices and relationships; etc. As a result, radio work, content, technologies, or cultures cannot be considered as single subjects or processes, but rather must be considered as an "ecology," especially within the digital media environment in which "radio" is increasingly situated (Radio in The Digital Age Polity Books 2013).

Radio Nouspace continues a colorful history established by a former Vancouver-based commercial AM radio station. This station had several names and broadcast frequencies . . . KVAN (1939-1959; 910 AM), KGAR (1963-1981; 1480 AM), KVAN (1981-1989; 1550 AM), KMJK (1989-1991; 1550 AM), and KVAN (1991-2000; 1550 AM). Legend says Willie Nelson worked for a short time at KVAN as a DJ 1956-1959. In 1998, KVAN radio was sold to a Portland, Oregon, media group. The station was moved there, even though the broadcast license remains in Vancouver. Throughout its history, KVAN radio was truly a "local station" because its low-powered broadcast could not carry beyond the immediate vacinity of Vancouver.

[2] As a practice-based research site, Radio Nouspace interrogates narrative with questions like . . .
How do we make sense of sound as the central component of narrative?
What kinds of engaging, immersive listening experiences can we create and share with many listeners using sound(s) to recenter sound as the primary component of narrative, storytelling, and drama?
What about narratives based on interactivity, collaboration, and social networking among the listeners and between the participants (nee listeners) and the narratives themselves?
If the context of future radio is collaborative, how will multiple storytellers / journalists create, shape, and share stories?
What stories might be told? How? By whom? Would they be global in scope, or local? Would this matter?
What might be undertaken in conjunction with such a project (promotional/educational materials, website, social media, etc.) to increase its effectiveness and opportunities for social engagement?
Are other media (beyond sound) necessary? If so, what are they?