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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

What is a podcast? Mapping the technical, cultural, and sonic boundaries between radio and podcasting

Berry, Richard (2022) What is a podcast? Mapping the technical, cultural, and sonic boundaries between radio and podcasting. In: Routledge Companion to Radio and Podcast Studies. Routledge, Oxford & New York, pp. 399-407. ISBN 978-0-367-43263-8

Item Type: Book Section


We have, perhaps, reached a point where there is a common recognition that is podcasting is a medium in its own right. In this assessment we can note the familial link to the medium of radio, but as time passes this teenaged medium further defines itself and establishes new forms of production, distribution and consumption. This, then, starts to raise questions about how we define podcasting', not least at a juncture where platforms have begun to blur the edges of audio-media.

This chapter seeks to explore how podcasting might be defined, not purely technically but through its cultures, politics, economics and aesthetics. These are terms that can be mapped and used to explore how podcasting exhibits characteristics that can be used to reveal patterns about form and origin. The emergence of platforms adds new questions and challenges to the technological definitions of podcasting, but these transformations in themselves pose political questions as they represent a shift from the amateur roots of the medium. I would describe this as the ‘people argument’, where a medium is defined not by how it is delivered but by who makes it (or at least who could make it). In his work on convergence culture, Henry Jenkins argues that media are about cultural practices, rather than the delivery systems; in podcasting this suggests that there is also an ‘aesthetic argument’, where podcasts are defined by how they sound, despite the common ground they might share with radio in terms of genre or format.

This chapter seeks to explore these arguments and suggest that there are parallels to our experience of defining radio and radio studies.

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Depositing User: Richard Berry


Item ID: 15517
ISBN: 978-0-367-43263-8
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ORCID for Richard Berry: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 19:50
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 19:50


Author: Richard Berry ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Media > Media and Cultural Studies
Media > Radio

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