As a virtual listening gallery and museum for sound, Radio Nouspace is inspired by the legacy radio culture and medium with its emphasis on sound(s) consciously curated and broadcast as related knowledge modalities (i.e. programs) for the purpose of interpreting and distributing information to a broad public. This inquiry explores future radio as an experience and culture situated within multiple and evolving affordances (potentials for particular actions) provided by networked computer technologies, including the Internet. instead of duplicating legacy radio's primarily passive sonic experience, future radio, with its transmission, contents, and reception digitized, may promote a mobile radio experience, available via Wi-Fi enabled devices employed by active listeners. It may be social, providing opportunities for participants (neé listeners) to communicate / collaborate / customize the content stream. As a result, future radio may become many-to-many, mobile, non-linear, and interactive, a social knowledge creation experience providing global reach and local focus.
Presentations and publications based on this inquiry include . . .
"Internet Radio: Radio after the Future." "'What Is Radio?' Exploring the past, present, and future" conference in Portland, Oregon, April 2013.
This presentation, with students from my Internet Radio: Theories and Practice class, explored future radio as an experience and culture situated within multiple and evolving affordances (potentials for particular actions) provided by networked computer technologies, including the Internet. We demonstrated a prototype for a future, open access, social radio station.
Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) argues that electric technologies extend the human nervous system into a global embrace, abolish time and space, and implode divisions between formally diverse peoples and cultural issues. He sees possibilities for far-flung citizens, through electric interdependence, to live once again, as in earlier oral contexts, under the conditions of a global village (McLuhan, 1962, 31). Within this global village, issues and peoples are no longer separate, or unrelated. Instead, peoples are part of each others lives (McLuhan, 1964, 20). In the global village, people share information simultaneously "a brand-new world of allatonceness [all-at-once-ness; everything happens at the same time] . . . a global village . . . a simultaneous happening. We have begun again to structure the primordial feeling, the tribal emotions from which a few centuries of literacy divorced us" (McLuhan, 1967, 63).
For McLuhan, the electric medium of radio resonates as a tribal drum, its magic weaving a web of kinship and prompting more depth of involvement for everyone (McLuhan, 1964, 259, 260). Radio affords tremendous power as "a subliminal echo chamber" to touch and play chords (memories/associations) long forgotten or ignored (McLuhan, 1964, 264). All the paralanguage qualities that printed text strips from spoken speech are returned by radio. Given only sound, one must fill in missing information using all the other senses, not simply relying on the sight of the action involved with the production of the sound. As a "fast hot medium" radio, functioning as a new and separate central nervous system, provides accelerated information throughput, thus contracting the world to village size. Radio produces an insatiable thirst for personal information frequently utilized to connect community groups and involve people with one another (McLuhan, 1964, 265, 267). Radio, says McLuhan, offers a "world of unspoken communication between writer-speaker and the listener" (McLuhan, 1964, 261).
This potential, however, is not realized. Playwright Bertolt Brecht said radio could be "the finest possible communication apparatus in public life," if only it "knew how to receive as well as transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him."
Radio is one-sided when it should be two. It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: change this apparatus over from distribution to communication. The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let listeners speak as well as hear, how to bring them into a relationship instead of isolating them. On this principle the radio should step out of the supply business and organize its listeners as suppliers. Any attempt by the radio to give a truly public character to public occasions is a step in the right direction. (Brecht, 51)
In answer to Brecht's challenge future radio may provide opportunities for listeners to engage with its content through social interaction and collaboration. As a result, according to Carmen Peñafiel Saiz, listeners become interactors, "protagonists of information" (Saiz, 67).
Audioboo, Soundcloud, Facebook provide examples of social media moving toward radio, and how social creation of knowledge in this context might evolve. Future radio, however, rather than corporations, will be in the hands of individuals, or communities, who will place value on selection, relevance, trust, and sense-making. Content may continue the legacy radio model: music, talk, spots, news, but may also include socially constructed listening experiences. As on-demand streaming and downloading become standard features of the Internet, future radio will focus on collecting, collating, contextualizing, curating, and connecting the best possible experiences for its participants.
Future radio, with its transmission, contents, and reception digitized, may help future protagonists of information create and consume content as they wish. This new radio experience may be mobile, available via multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices employed by active listeners. It may be social, providing opportunities for participants (neé listeners) to communicate / collaborate / customize the content stream. As a result, future radio may become many-to-many, mobile, non-linear, and interactive, a social knowledge creation experience providing global reach and local focus.
To contextualize these conclusions, I first provide some baseline information about legacy radio. I discuss legacy radio's characteristics, essential nature, advantages, and disadvantages.
Next I discuss changes, affordances (potentials for particular actions), and features associated with future radio. I will outline theoretical approaches to future radio, characteristics (interactivity and social collaboration), distribution (streaming, on demand, and podcasting).
I conclude with some further research and practice questions for future radio.
As perhaps the most significant 20th century technology, radio transmits (or broadcasts) invisible electromagnetic waves (commonly called radio waves) wirelessly over distance and most commonly through the atmosphere, the ether. Information (voice and other sounds) in the form of a systematically modulated (changing the amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width) electromagnetic signal can be carried by these waves. A receiver (radio) can intercept radio waves, extract the information bearing signal, convert it back to its original form using a transducer (a device that converts one form of energy into another; in this case, electrical into sound pressure energy), like a speaker.
The invention of radio is contested. Nikola Tesla discovered in 1895 that tuning two electrical coils to the same frequency would generate and transmit radio waves. A year later, Guglielmo Marconi filed a U.S. Patent for the wireless transmission of telegraph messages. On 8 December 1901 Marconi broadcast the first transatlantic radio signal, more than 2,000 miles, from Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada, the single letter "s."
The first successful radio transmission of speech was conducted 23 December 1900 by Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, a Canadian inventor known for his pioneering experiments with radio. While working for the United States Weather Bureau at Rock Point, Maryland, Fessenden successfully transmitted a few words a distance of about one mile.
1, 2, 3, 4.
Is it snowing where you are Mr. Beaman?
If it is, telegraph back and let me know.
In January 1906, Fessenden achieved the first two-way transatlantic transmission by exchanging Morse code messages between a station at Brant Rock, Massachusetts, and another at Machrihanish, Scotland.
A few months before he died, in 1932, Fessenden claimed to have broadcast voice and music on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve 1906. The Christmas Eve program began, he said, with his explaining what would be heard. Next was an Edison cylinder recording of a woman singing George Frideric Handel's "Largo." Then Fessenden playing a violin solo of Adolphe C. Adam's "O Holy Night," singing one verse of "Adore and Be Still," reading a short Bible passage ("Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will"; Gospel of Luke 2:14), and then closing with holiday wishes and an announcement of his intention to broadcast a similar program on 31 December, New Year's Eve.
No recordings or reports of these broadcasts exist but there are newspaper reports of long range communication between Brant Rock and United States Naval vessels traveling the United States East Coast in 1909. It is possible that Fessenden confused his dates and actually conducted his Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve broadcasts in December 1909, three years after his 1906 claim.
Lee De Forest claims in his biography, Father of Radio, that he was transmitting speech and music early in 1907. His claim is supported by press reports and logs from radio listeners as early as March 1907.
Charles "Doc" Herrold, a professor in the College of Engineering and Wireless, San Jose, California, began transmitting news, music, and banter from a local bank in 1909. By 1912, he and his students began offering regularly scheduled programming.
Given its rootedness in practices and cultures that have evolved with and as a result of radio's growth, the term legacy radio may be apt. 
Some questions to help contextualize legacy radio . . .
What are the characteristics of legacy radio?
What is the essential nature of legacy radio?
What are the advantages of legacy radio?
What the are disadvantages of legacy radio?
Legacy radio: characteristics
Content transmitted via radio waves through the atmosphere
One to many broadcasts, from corporate broadcasters, via dedicated networks
Local, regional, or national in reach
Content = sound (music, talk, sports, news, and events) homogenized and rigidly formatted for a perceived, particular audience for the purpose of attracting them to advertisements, and not necessarily connected to the place of its consumption
Historically, radio is distinguished from other media by being invisible. Its disembodied sound sources (voices, words, and music) are rich with representation, but meant to be passively heard rather than seen other than through the deep resources of the listener's imagination (Lewis and Booth). The technology, content, and culture of legacy radio is, primarily, focused on the process of listening and reacting to sound, the listening experience.
Legacy radio: essential nature
Marshall McLuhan argued the content of any new medium was always another, older medium. Speech and orality allowed the communication of abstract thought. Storytellers produced explanations for the sounds in acoustic space and wove them into larger narratives that helped explain the presence and purpose of humankind. Orality provided a means to preserve and share cultural histories and memories. Alphabets and writing preserved and extended the aural nature of speech but emphasized the solitary, visual experience of reading or writing. Radio subsumed speech, returning the emphasis to the aural, promoting oral contexts McLuhan called the "global village" (McLuhan, 1962, 63).
For McLuhan, the electric medium of radio resonates as a tribal drum, its magic weaving a web of kinship and prompting more depth of involvement for everyone (McLuhan, 1964, 259, 260). Radio affords a tremendous power as "a subliminal echo chamber" to touch and play chords (memories/associations) long forgotten or ignored (264). All the paralanguage qualities that printed text strips from spoken speech are returned by radio. Given only sound, one must fill in missing information using all the other senses, not simply relying on the sight of the action involved with the production of the sound.
As a "fast hot medium" radio provides accelerated information throughput, thus contracting the world to village size. By providing news bulletins, time signals, traffic data, and especially weather reports, radio produces an insatiable thirst for gossip, rumor, and other genres of personal information frequently utilized to involve people with one another (McLuhan, 1964, 265, 267). Radio, says McLuhan, offers a "world of unspoken communication between writer-speaker and the listener" (McLuhan, 1964, 261).
Thus, the essential nature of radio is its content: speech, the oldest medium and the most prevalent form of human communication with its origins in abstract thought and presentation. As with radio, speech claims a presence in most all media that follow (Levinson).
Legacy radio: advantages
Easy to use, compared to other media, needing relatively simple technology and equipment for its infrastructure. As a result, legacy radio is less expensive than other media.
Convenient way to get information, especially live, local, community-specific information like traffic, weather, news, and events. With advances in technology and manufacturing efficiency, legacy radio receivers have grown smaller, lighter, easier to transport from place to place. With the development of efficient storage batteries, legacy radio can be heard most anywhere, needing no wired electrical power supply.
Fast, often instant broadcast medium, allowing anyone tuned to a particular broadcast to receive information from distant locations without apparent time delay, or lag.
Allows listeners to combine their imaginations and the sounds heard via broadcast in order to make pictures, to "see" events afar, what Frederick Wiebel, Jr. calls "audio mind movies" (Weibel).
Often the predominant medium in our automobiles, homes, or offices. When we want to engage in activities without the visual distraction of television, radio provides a background (Crisell).
Does not require literacy. One does not have to understand the language of the broadcast to enjoy the broadcast.
Legacy radio: disadvantages
Ability to receive transmission limited by distance, receivers, and atmospheric conditions.
Messages are easily forgotten after their initial broadcast unless they are purpose produced to invoke interest and promote memory. Generally only one chance to hear and understand message, unless a recording is available for playback.
Arguably, turns away from the primary use of speech, storytelling and narrative; ignores engagement for programming decisions that seek only to maximize commercial return.
No use to people without a sense of hearing, or who suffer from hearing disabilities.
No visual images, thus promoting the dictum "seeing is believing." Nokia visual radio seeks to address this disadvantage, and promote interaction, by adding visual content to radio broadcasts. Audio content, with synchronized text and graphics, is produced by a radio station, transmitted as an FM analog signal, and received in one's phone. Interactivity options include quizzes, messaging, content download, commerce, etc. Platform consists of three parts: 1). a visual radio tool (app?) that can be integrated with the station's broadcast system so the visual content can be synchronized with the audio broadcast programming, 2). A visual radio server that handles two-way traffic between producer and audience, and 3). A visual radio client application on the mobile phone that displays the interactive content and provides a portal/channel for the interaction.
Some questions to help contextualize future radio . . .
What theoretical approaches might be applied to future radio?
What are the characteristics of future radio?
What models from legacy radio, games, and electronic literature can we consider regarding
How might future radio distribute its content(s)
What questions point to future research?
Future radio: theoretical approaches
Three theoretical approaches might guide future radio research: phenomena, tetrad, and or remediation. Each provides opportunities to discuss and explore future radio. First, Andrew Dubber argues the term radio is used to refer to several different but 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. 
Second, McLuhan argues that every medium undergoes a "tetrad," four questions / laws that, he says, can be asked of the medium and its impact . . .
What aspect of society or human life does it enhance or qualify in the culture?
What aspect in favor or high prominence before its arrival does the medium question, obsolesce, or push out of prominence?
What does it remove from the past, from the realm of the previously obsolesced and put back center stage?
What does the medium reverse or flip into when it has run its course or reaches the limits of its fullest potential?
These questions speak to a series of activities / stages / a process each medium undergoes . . .
Following McLuhan's tetrad, radio . . .
Amplifies / enhances oral communication across distance
Obsolesces aspects of written communication such as newspapers as the leading edge of news delivery
Retrieves some of the prominence of oral communication from the pre-literate (pre-writing) times
Reverses into broadcasts of sounds and images (television) if we introduce video (McLuhan, 1975, 74-78; McLuhan, 1977, 173-179; McLuhan and McLuhan, 1988).
Third, is the idea of remediation posited by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin as the representation of one medium in another, a defining characteristic of new digital media. Digital media, they argue, wants to be transparent, placing the viewer in the same relationship with the remediated digital version as with the original. But, digital media always makes its presence known, in some ways more aggressively than others, attempting either to completely refashion the older medium or media, or absorb them completely. But, the new medium remains dependent on the old, even while trying both to absorb and/or dominate it. Neither can disappear completely, even though new forms or substitutions emerge, like adding multimedia (either video, text, images, text as image) to the sound (audio) of radio. In short, something of the old is always present in the new.
Future radio: characteristics
As noted earlier, Brecht tied the success of radio with its ability to promote two-way communications.
In answer to Brecht's challenge future radio may be interactive and socially collaborative. Future radio may provide opportunities for listeners to engage meaningfully with its content. As a result, listeners will become interactors, "protagonists of information" (Saiz, 2011, 67).
Future radio may re-validate interaction with everyday residents of neighborhoods and communities (Papadomanolaki, 2011, 73). As example, Rosemary Day provides an interesting and informative account of how Irish community radio stations incorporated new social technologies to facilitate participation by members at all levels of their communities (Day, 2011, 193-205).
Interactive radio implies the ability of listeners to interact with the program, thus promoting a two-way connection between broadcaster and audience. There are several models from legacy radio with regard to interactivity.
Finally, interactivity also prompts consideration of multimedia (text, images, video, audio) as potential content and interface through or with which to receive, manipulate, interact with this content. Screens of various sizes, handheld or easily manipulated controllers, platforms for sharing information, networks that facilitate collaboration and social knowing provide models for what might be called interactive multimedia radio. An evolving definition / conceptualization of interactive multimedia radio might include these levels.
the hardware platforms of receivers, controllers, servers
specifically designed software programs and/or operating systems, or the ability to leverage the affordances (potentials for particular actions) of the same for a new, specific purpose
rules and procedures determine what can be shared as the basis for interaction, the form in which it will be shared, and expected responses (from both client and server). Together, these considerations determine what can be created and understood.
the outward appearance of the medial interface with the concurrent agreement that not all appearances are equal and that user responses/experiences are different as well
includes a relation to material and time; technical aspects of the interface will contribute to this. For example, hand held devices may lend themselves to ideas that they contribute to an accelerated sense of space and time.
As noted by Sherry Turkle, use of networked computer technologies provides unprecedented participation in the process of creating and consuming content (Turkle). Woices, Audioboo, SoundCloud, Mixcloud, and other social audio websites prompt us to imagine how future radio may become increasingly collaborative with its participants (née listeners) becoming both creators and consumers able to interrupt / influence / customize the program stream, all while communicating with each other. The listener participates as a parallel broadcaster, with the opportunity to contribute as much or more to the program stream as the host station (Saiz, 2011, 67 and Burnett and Marshall). Future radio is thus differentiated from legacy radio as it absorbs the contributions and affordances (potentials for particular actions) of its context. A potential result, noted by Jesse Walker, is that listeners will "withdraw from the thick smoke of mediation and interact more directly, more convivially, with others" (Walker, 2001, 11).
Future radio: distribution
Adrian Johns chronicles how British "pirate" radio undermined the high cultural aspirations of the British Broadcasting Corporation to define the country's cultural and welfare state. He says the experience of a small and simple medium will happen again. "Stations of distribution," not just for music, but for text, images, video, and other programs, can be maintained by anyone. Every mobile device can become a radio station. With that, the question of how to create and sustain our society returns in a new form (Johns, 2011, 261).
How might these new "pirate" radio stations distribute their content?
provides content on a continuous basis. Listeners can tune in or out at will, as with traditional radio broadcasting. But, they can also pause, stop, and start the program stream at will, an ability not afforded by legacy radio broadcast methodologies. And, like with legacy radio broadcasts, once the streaming sound event has passed, it is unable to be replayed, unless it was saved in some manner, like recording.
involves transferring a sound file from a remote computer to a local computer where it can be saved and listened to whenever desired.
generally an audio episode, self-contained, sometimes augmented by text or visuals, that can be either streamed or downloaded.
speaks to sharing an audio file only when it is needed or desired by the listener. The listener evokes the playback process by interacting with an audio player. The audio file plays through to conclusion and then, since it is embedded in the interface, can be evoked repeatedly.
Where legacy radio has enjoyed a century of development and utilization, the history of future radio dates only from 10 November 1994 when the Seattle-based space rock group Sky Cries Mary performed the first live Internet-only broadcast. Since then, thousands of web-based radio stations have emerged to provide a plethora of content via streaming, on-demand, or podcasting, to a variety of devices no longer tethered to specific locations. Using the Internet, artists/broadcasters are said to be free to experiment outside licensing/commercial constraints, thus potentially increasing options for creativity. Future radio will surely continue this trend.
 The decade of the 1920s is often cited as radio's "golden age," and referred to as "old time radio," or simply, "OTR." Radio history and OTR resources . . .
 See also Susan Merrill Squier, ed. Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003) who argues that radio, as both technological and social practices, has played a powerful role in shaping Twentieth Century Anglo-American culture. The essays in this collection explore a number of ways in which radio was constructed by, and in turn helped to shape, society and culture.
Part 1: Radio Technology across the Twentieth Century focuses on the development of radio where certain aspects of its broad potential were foreclosed while others were enhanced. See Steven Wurtzler's "AT&T Invents Public Access Broadcasting in 1923: A Foreclosed Model for American Radio" and Nina Huntermann's "A Promise Diminished: The Politics of Low-Power Radio."
Part 2: Radio Cultures focuses on the effect of certain uses of radio on gender, race, class, and ethnicity of its producers and consumers.
Part 3: Radio Ideologies focuses on radio's power to harness, as well as resist, ideologies of gender, race, and nationality. See Squire's essay "Wireless Possibilities, Posthuman Possiblities: Brain Radio, Community Radio, Radio Lazarus" for interesting speculation on the stereotype of the autonomous modern individual.
Future radio: Questions for theory, research, practice, and learning
- What has comprised mobile, interactive, social radio historically?
- How was this work created, transmitted, and received?
- What might be done with sounds not possible before digital technology to create and share compelling mobile, interactive, social radio that is both global in scope and local in focus?
- Can mobile, interactive, social radio provide a venue for narrative?
- Can mobile, interactive, social radio provide a level of interaction beyond simply selecting favorite music genres from extended playlists?
- Are there ideas / inspiration pointing to new forms of mobile, interactive, social storytelling?
- What stories might be told using mobile, interactive, social radio?
- How might these stories be told?
- How could these narratives/stories benefit from opportunities for interactivity, collaboration, and social networking among the listeners and between the participants (nee listeners) and the program itself?
- How could these efforts help to recenter sound as the primary form of sensory input, even while it is part of a mix of multimedia?
- How would we approach the challenge of producing and streaming content for mobile, interactive, social radio?
- 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?
The Dark House (2003)
by Mike Walker focused interactivity on three different characters in the radio drama. All three were trapped in the same haunted building. After five minutes to establish the story, listeners were able to vote via phone or text message which character's story they wished to follow. Every three minutes, votes were counted, and the drama was shifted to the story of the winning character.
The Wheel of Fortune (2001)
by Nick Fisher is considered the first interactive drama broadcast on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) network. It was comprised of three iterations of the same play offered via radio and online. Listeners / participants could move back and forth between these different forms of the same play. This same "two screen" technique is offered by some contemporary television shows.
520 episodes of Ellery Queen's Minute Mysteries (1970s)
began with actor Bill Owen saying, "This is Ellery Queen with the case I call the . . .." Owen then outlined the case in one minute. A radio station announcer encouraged callers to solve the mystery and win a sponsor's prize. Once they had a winner, the station played the solution part of the episode as confirmation.
Radio Event No. 3: Furniture Mix (50:59)
broadcast 20 November 1969, was one of a series of radio programs broadcast by KPFA radio's (Berkeley, California) Music Department, 30 October 1969-7 June 1973, which gave artists from various disciplines any amount of air time to create situations that physically involved the listening audience, making them active participants rather than passive listeners. For this broadcast, dance choreographer and intermedia artist Anna Halprin led the audience in a participatory event where they were to rearrange their home furniture in time with musical selections played during the radio program and then visualize a fantasy that occurred to them during the process. Listeners / participants were encouraged to call the station and share their fantasies, which were included in the program's conclusion. Musical selections included excerpts from Goin' Out of My Head, Live for Life, Don't Fence Me In, and Renaissance vocal, Mozart Symphony No. 35. See the "Inter-Media & Visual Arts" pages at the radiom.org website for information and listening opportunities for episodes 1-5, 7-9, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, and 23.
The Five Mysteries Program
was an audience participation radio program broadcast from 10 August 1947 to 27 March 1950. Each of the 296 30-minute episodes presented five mysteries dramatized by actors, music, and sound effects. A panel of listeners and studio guests suggested solutions. See also The Great Radio Audience Participation Shows: Seventeen Programs from the 1940s and 1950s (Jim Cox. McFarland & Company, 2001).
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