24 Sep Grassroots Radio presented at the ECREA Radio Research Conference, the European community of radio scholars
Last week, Grassroots Radio was presented at the 6th Conference of the Radio Research Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA). Roberto Cibin, on behalf of various researchers involved in the project, presented a paper titled “Fostering Community Radio: the Grassroots Radio project”. The Conference gathered about 150 people between scholars and practitioners, coming from all the 5 continents. That was the occasion to offer some preliminary reflections on how our project is trying to support the communities not only to create their radio stations but also to co-design the tools that make these stations possible and close to their needs. The reactions have been very positive, and a lot of new inputs and stimulus have been collected to help the development of our community radio stations.
The Conference was held in Siena (Italy) from the 19th to the 21st of September with the title “Radio as a Social Media: community, participation, public values in the platform society”. The discussions took place in 37 different panels and 5 plenary sessions. Various aspects of the radio universe were on the agenda, for instance: the history, the future, the role of new digital technologies and social media, the evolution of community radio.
Here is the abstract of the paper presented:
Nowadays media management is increasingly a global phenomenon, subject to the dynamics of the platform society, plagued by a drop in independence, inclusiveness and pluralism. An attempt to resist this trend can derive from the inclusion of local communities in the governance of analogous broadcasting, as witnessed by the experience of community radio stations. In addition, the involvement of the communities also in the design of the technologies that allow them to access this media can foster the radio to become more and more a social/convivial tool. In this context, the Grassroots Radio project stands as a participatory design process aimed at the development and testing of an ICT technology for the creation of a network of FM community radio stations with geographical communities in Ireland, Portugal and Romania. A web platform allows the setting-up of FM radio stations, avoiding the costs of a real studio and expensive equipment: just a basic phone and a low-cost antenna are necessary. We will describe how digital technology can be used to support the existence of an inclusive and literacy-independent “old-school” social media. We will show that this can be possible through the co-design of a platform aimed at fostering cooperativism, citizen engagement, community deliberation, media pluralism and the free flow of information in local contexts. We will highlight how the intersection between new digital technologies and old analogue ones creates frictions within the institutional frameworks that regulate these dynamics, which, in turn, influence the definition of the communities and the design of the technologies themselves.