Towards ‘Post-radio’ - Issues in the Transformation of Radio Objects and Forms

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GRER - The French Radio Researches and Studies Network
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Towards ‘Post-radio’ - Issues in the Transformation of Radio Objects and Forms.

PARIS, November 26th, 27th and 28th 2009

University Paris I - Pantheon - Sorbonne
(National institute of History of Art; Petits Champs Street; 75001 PARIS)

The French Radio Researches and Studies Network (GRER) organizes its fourth international symposium. After Bordeaux (2001 and 2004) and Lyon (2006), it will take place in Paris in November 2009. An international call with communication is launched, within the framework of the problematics and methods exposed below. Returns are awaited on 1st of May 2009.

In the context of generalized changes caused by the digitalization of the media, this conference proposes to question and release the principal avenues and stages of development for a radio in change. Starting from the last experiments and information available today at national and international level, it will be question of considering the reconfiguration of the radio objects and forms of radio expression towards a possible “post radio”; to measure in a dynamic way the evolutions and the ruptures, resistances and permanencies; to consider the issues and potentialities of these transformations.

Following many other stages, broadcasting begins a major change. As it was the case with the transistor in the years 1950 and the emergence of television as mass media communication ten years later, or FM in years 1970/80… radio is confronted today with the digitalization of its contents and its diffusion. Whereas some, with each new technological stage, announced its end radio managed to get out, reinforced, from these different “radiomorphosis”. It knew to be acclimatized to the new media environments and to adapt itself to public waiting. What for today and what it will be tomorrow in front of the stake of digitalization? The entry in the digital age should not be the report of a simple “radio digitized” starting from the analogical radio, but a true evolution of the radio operator media which will relate to the contents, technology, the reception and thus also the economy or basically the statute of the radio within the new media systems. For all that, the changes will not be done immediately; nor in a homogeneous way in geographical and cultural spaces. Resistances exist and we can think that the future of the radio will be made with permanencies or continuities and cohabitations between old and new radio forms.
That which we call the ‘Postradio’ is rich of potentialities and dynamic space-time newness. It must allow the diffusion of richer programs: the sound component of great quality will be increased by the associated data. The economy of the production of the programs and their diffusion will be modified. The methods of listening, and thus the “practices”, the “uses”, the listeners will change. These changes are already outlined in current trends and emergent:
• multiplication of the diffusion platforms (Terrestrial digital radio, Internet fixed and mobile, satellite, telephony…) ;
• denser contents are available (to the sound are added associated data) and new programs formats, new innovating productions are possible;
• increase in the offer of programs for more specific niches, and, at the same time, personalization of the programs with possibility to share its tastes within communities of listeners in variable geometry;
• other manners to tune in and other uses emerge thanks to new radio “machines” with new functions (pause, reward and record…), a ‘de-linearization’ of listening is possible thanks to Internet and ‘podcasts’;
• a progression of mobile and nomadic tune in. Radio audience, which was “national” since Second world war, then more often local, could be more globalized and/or delocalized.

Nevertheless, is this evolution uniform and univocal? The transitional period could be delicate and perhaps long. Avoiding purely technical or determinists discourses, the possible pitfalls, resistances and delays should not be masked:
• disputes of technological choices exist and one evokes delays in the delivery of the new reception equipments or in the renewal of the existing park or the additional cost related to the double or multiple diffusion necessary, considered over prolonged period;
• inequalities of the radio sectors in front of digitalization (particularly for the third sector or at a world level) and, in fact, the risk of a ‘radio gap’, as well from the point of view of the operators as for the listeners, from social or geographical point of view;
• conditions of regulation of broadcasting fall under new problems;
• doubts in the appropriation of new radio technologies by the publics and in particular commitment to traditional forms of broadcasting;
• and finally: dissolution of the radio in convergences and media hybridizations.

Set of Themes (non exhaustive) Under Consideration for the Conferences and Communications in Workshops:
• The new radio statute (social status, statute within the new environment and media systems), revolution or adaptation?
• Which new economic models? Which new regulation?
• History (lessons from the past)
• Geography of digital broadcasting
• New radio machines (hardware and software)
• New producers/new productions/new programs
• Bonds and attachments with the radio (forms of appropriations, practices and uses, distinctions by gender or generation gaps)
• Measure audience and new practices (instruments and methodology, first results)
• Which memories for the web radios (archives)?
• Accompanying discourses, strategies or imaginary of the digital radio


During this colloquium, the conferences and communications will have to be imperatively presented in two languages including necessarily French: one spoken and another in the form of a developed Power Point (or similar). It could be, for example, a French verbal communication and a Power Point presentation in English or Spanish, or an oral presentation in English, Spanish or another language and, in this case necessarily a Power Point presentation in French.

Presentation duration in the plenary conferences will be fixed at 30 minutes; the communications in the workshops will be limited from 15 to 20 minutes.

The authors are invited to submit for May 1st, 2009 a proposal for a communication in French, either in English or Spanish.
It will comprise: A title (and subtitles), 5 to 8 key words, possibly the inscription in one or more of the themes suggested above. It will develop on 5 000 characters at most (850 words), one proposal for a communication with problematic, hypothesis and possibly a bibliography. Moreover, and separately, it will be indicated: the identification of the authors and of their institution(s), their position(s), a postal address and their telephone and electronic coordinates.

These proposals must be sent by email to the two following email directions: &

An acknowledgment of delivery will be addressed to the authors. The scientific committee will do a peer review of each proposals. The accepted proposals could be object of request for modifications on behalf the scientific committee. The answers will be addressed to the authors from June 30th, 2009.

Power Point documents (or similar) will have to be sent on October 15th, 2009.

2 plenary sessions will be taken place (the first on Thursday, November 26 in the afternoon, the second on Saturday the 28th in the morning). Parallel workshops will take place on Friday, November 27.

The authors are invited to deliver the text of their conference at the time of the conference (paper and electronics forms). These texts, with the agreement of the authors and the scientific committee, could be published on line on GRER Internet ( ).

Researchers, academics, professionals and radio listeners.
Inscriptions: 50 €uros normal cost, 25 €uros for the students, members of the GRER and participants from country with low incomes.

May 1st, 2009 - Call for paper deadline
June 30th, 2009 - Answers to the authors
October 15th, 2009 - Sending of the Power Point documents (or similar)


Sylvie Capitant, Doctor, Assistant, Paris 1 Sorbonne University, GRER Secretary
Jean-Jacques Cheval, GRER President, Professor, Bordeaux University
Etienne Damome, Doctor, Assistant, Bordeaux and Lille Universities, GRER Secretary
Christophe Deleu, Senior lecturer, Strasbourg University
Anne-Caroline Fievet, Doctor, Teacher, Paris 8 University
Laurent Gago, Doctor, Teacher Doctor, Paris 3 University
Joelle Girard, Engineer, representing CHR (History of the radio Committee), GRER Treasurer
Hervé Glevarec, Researcher CNRS
Isabel Guglielmone, Senior lecturer, Compiègne University, GRER Vice-president
Albino Pedroia, Consultant, Associated lecturer in Sciences Po Paris, GRER Treasurer
Sebastien Poulain, PhD student, Paris 1 Sorbonne University
Pascal Ricaud, Senior lecturer, Tours University
Blandine Schmidt, PhD student, Bordeaux University
Bernard Wuillème, Professor, Lyon 3 University


Frédéric Antoine: Professor, University of Leuwen-the-New (Belgium)
Annie Bart: Professor, University of Bordeaux (France)
Nicolas Becqueret: Doctor, teacher, representing the young researchers (France)
Patrice Berger: Researcher CNRS (France)
André Breton: Professor, University from Quebec in Montreal (Canada)
Jean-Jacques Cheval: Professor, University of Bordeaux (France)
Christophe Deleu: University lecturer, University of Strasbourg (France)
Herve Glevarec: Researcher CNRS (France)
Isabel Guglielmone: University lecturer, Compiègne University (France)
Claudia Krebs: University lecturer, University of Amiens (France)
Carmen Peñafiel-Saiz: Professor, University from the Pays Basque in Bilbao (Spain)
Guy Starkey: Professor, University of Sunderland (United Kingdom)
Andre-Jean Tudesq: Professor emeritus, University of Bordeaux (France)
Valiant Derek: Professor, Ann Arbor University, Michigan (United States)
Bernard Wuillème: Professor, University of Lyon (France).

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