Journal of Radio & Audio Media

  • Music in the Public Service: Public Radio and Music in the Streaming Era
  • Editors: Christopher Cwynar and Brian Fauteux

The current moment is a particularly interesting time to examine public radio and media due to the sheer scale of change affecting the sector: technological, socio-cultural, economic, and generational, as well as dramatic transformations in production, distribution, and reception.

The shift in terminology from “public service broadcasting” to “public service media” and “public service communicators” (Bardoel and Lowe 2007) gestures towards myriad opportunities and challenges associated with the emergence of networked digital media. The music industries are experiencing a similar period of flux with the emergence of streaming and the switch from a commodity-based ownership approach to music engagement to an experience-based service approach (Wikstrom 2013).

Public radio and its music programming have played important roles in the constitution of national and cultural identity (Berland 2009) and in broadcast radio’s convergence with, and/or transition to, the internet era, scholars have charted issues of regulating national music (or content) (O’Neill and Murphy 2012), examined connections between online public media and youth through music programming (Bélanger 2005), and considered the political economy of Internet music radio (Wall 2004) as well as issues of diversity of music and the public good (Hendy 2000).

Recent scholarly work by this symposium’s editors has devoted consideration to notable developments in the public radio and popular music sectors at a time when streaming music has become a dominant mode of music listening.

Examples include studies of: public media’s relationships to independent music, podcasting, and taste cultures (Cwynar 2015a, 2015b, 2017); international public radio partnerships through music programming (Fauteux 2016, 2017a); and, the place of public radio and music within the context of budget cuts and precarious cultural labour (Fauteux 2017b).

In light of these ongoing scholarly discussions, this special symposium intends to highlight the place and role of popular music within the context of public radio broadcasting and audio media, asking: what does a public service mandate or mission (“to serve the public”) mean for the circulation of popular music, particularly in an age of streaming music and digital public media? We welcome papers that engage with this overarching question and are particularly interested in the following themes:

  • Public radio, music, and networked digital media (the web, apps, and mobile media)
  • Public radio/media and its relationship to music genres.
  • Cultures of taste and distinction with respect to shifts in music programming and genres (from classical to jazz/adult contemporary to indie/alternative)
  • Public radio/media, music, and indie/independent culture/ethos/values/ideologies
  • Public radio, music, and curation (radio hosts, algorithms,
    social/digital media work)
  • Public radio/media and local or regional music scenes
  • Public radio and music in the context of institutional collaborations
  • Public radio and popular music in the Global South
  • The shift from public radio to public media and a reconsideration of ideas about national identity and/or borders with respect to popular music
  • The branding of public media institutions through the use of popular music
  • Historical studies of public radio and music
    While the above topics are of particular interest, we welcome submissions on any aspect of the broader public radio and music topic.

Submissions for this symposium are due by March 1, 2019*.*Submitted manuscripts undergo a blind peer review. Manuscripts should be submitted through Manuscript Central

Documents prepared in Microsoft Word are preferred and should conform to the stylistic guidelines of the American Psychological Association.

Manuscripts should not exceed 6500 words (about 25 pages) and should include an abstract of no more than 100 words. In addition to the manuscript the author(s) should include a separate attachment with contact information.

For more information on the /Journal of Radio & Audio Media/, please visit:

Please direct any questions in advance of your submission to the symposium editors: Brian Fauteux ( and/or Christopher Cwynar (


  • Bardoel, Jo and Lowe, Gregory Ferrell. “From Public Service Broadcasting to Public Service Media: The Core Challenge.” /From Public Service Broadcasting to Public Service Media/. Eds. Gregory Ferrell Lowe and Jo Bardoel. Göteborg: Nordicom, 2007: 9-28.
  • Bélanger, Pierre C. and Andrecheck, Philipe. “CBC’s Electronic Radio 3: Connecting with the Elusive Youth.” /Journal of Radio Studies/ 12.1 (2005): 120–135.
  • Berland, Jody. “Locating Listening.” /North of Empire: Essays on the Cultural Technologies of Space/. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009: 185-209.
  • Cwynar, Christopher. “More than a ‘VCR for Radio’: The CBC, the Radio 3 Podcast, and the Uses of an Emerging Medium.” /Journal of Radio & Audio Media/ 22.2 (2015a): 190-199.
  • Cwynar, Christopher. “NPR Music: Remediation, Curation, and National Public Radio in the Digital Convergence Era.” /Media, Culture & Society/ 39.5 (2017): 680-696.
  • Cwynar, Christopher. “Unbuttoning NPR: Assessing the Music at the Margins of /All Things Considered/.” /The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media/ 13.1-2 (2015): 89-104.
  • Fauteux, Brian. “Satellite Footprint to Cultural Lifelines: Sirius XM and the Circulation of Canadian Content.” /International Journal of Cultural Policy/ 22.3 (2016): 313-330.
  • Fauteux, Brian. “‘Songs You Need to Hear:’ Public Radio Partnerships and the Mobility of National Music.” /The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media/ 15.1 (2017a): 47-63.
  • Fauteux, Brian. “The Radio Host and Piloted Listening in the Digital Age: CBC Radio 3 and Its Online Listening Community.” /Journal of Canadian Studies/ 51.2 (2017b): 338-361.
  • Hendy, David. “Pop Music Radio in the Public Service: BBC Radio 1 and New Music in the 1990s.” /Media, Culture & Society/ 22.6 (2000): 743-761.
  • O’Neill, Brian and Murphy, Michael J. “Canadian Content, Public Broadcasting and the Internet: CBC’s Online Strategy 1995–2000.” /Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web/. Eds. M. Burns and N. Brügger. New York: Peter Lang, 2012: 163–174.
  • Wall, Tim. “The Political Economy of Internet Music Radio.” /The Radio Journal – International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media/ 2.1 (2004): 27-44.
  • Wikstrom, Patrik. /The Music Industry/. London: Polity, 2013 (2nd Ed).