ECREA Precon 2019


On this page…

>>Workshop Overview<<

>>Preparation Instructions<<


>>Expert Topics<<

>>Complete Workshop Slides<<

For all inquiries please email

Full details of the ECREA Radio Research Conference 2019 located HERE.

Download Workshop Information here:



In this full-day workshop Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and postgraduate students will work in partnerships or groups to transform a radio/audio-media research idea proposed by a leading scholar or industry stakeholder into a research project proposal.

Participants will receive conceptual and practical guidance as they work through the process of turning a research idea into a project proposal that incorporates and integrates:
– research aims,
– research context/background,
– methodology,
– timeline of activity,
– resource requirements, and
– communication of results and impact.

The event is comprised of two activity types:
(1) Masterclasses
In the State of the Field masterclass a panel of leading scholars will discuss the current state of radio and audio media research, highlighting new directions in theory and practice, and responding to the radio/audio-media research ideas proposed by scholars and industry stakeholders. Expert topics are listed below.

Dr Chris K Wilson will outline the key elements of a research project proposal and the manner in which they can be effectively integrated in the Research Project Proposal Composition masterclass. He also will demonstrate a ‘fuzzy’ mapping process for dynamically developing a project proposal.

(2) Workshops & Mentoring
In the ECR Introduction workshop, participants will briefly introduce their research interests and methodological expertise and indicate a preference for one of the expert topics. This information will help establish effective partnerships and groups for the Research Project Proposal Composition workshops to be held in the afternoon. Preparation instructions for this workshop, including information on the expert topics, are provided below.

In two Research Project Proposal Composition workshops partners and groups formed over lunch will use the fuzzy mapping process to rapidly develop a project proposal outline. They will be assisted by an expert mentor.

In addition to enhancing research project proposal development knowledge and skills, the workshop aims to:
– Create ongoing partnerships between ECRs & Postgrads working in radio and audio media studies
– Introduce ECRs & Postgrads to experienced scholars who may act as mentors

The workshop is coordinated by Dr Chris K Wilson (Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University – Melbourne Australia).


Prior to the event please create a single PowerPoint slide using this downloadable template indicating your radio and audio media research interests, methodological expertise and an indication of the expert topic for which you would like to produce a research project proposal. Please note: the final expert topic list is now available below.

Submit your slides prior to the workshop via email:


09.30 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.10 Opening Remarks
10.10 – 11.10 Masterclass: State of the Field
10.10 – 11.10 – Introduction of expert research ideas
10.10 – 11.10 – Panel discussion
11.10 – 11.30 Morning Break
11.30 – 12.15 Workshop: ECR Introduction
11.30 – 12.15 – ECRs present single slide introductions
12.15 – 1.15 Masterclass: Research Project Proposal Composition
12.15 – 1.15 – Elements of the research project proposal
12.15 – 1.15 – ‘Fuzzy’ mapping for project proposal development
1.15 – 2.00 Lunch (partner/group formation)
2.00 – 3.00 Workshop: Research Project Proposal Composition 1
2.00 – 3.00 – Development session for partners/groups
3.00 – 3.20 Afternoon Break
3.20 – 4.00 Workshop: Research Project Proposal Composition 2
3.20 – 4.00 – Development session for partners/groups
4.00 – 4.30 Closing Remarks
4.00 – 4.30 – Outcomes
4.00 – 4.30 – Introducing the YECREA Young Scholars Network

Expert Research Topics

(1) Local content regulation in the age of streaming

In a number of European countries radio broadcasters are subject to quotas that seek to expose local audiences to local music. Streaming services (such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music) have not been subject to a similar quota system since their emergence. Following a recent European Commission ruling that televisual streaming services (such as Netflix) will be subject to a 30% local content quota, there has been interest in imposing a similar quota on music streaming services. A range of questions arise out of this issue. How could a content quota system be applied to streaming services? Are quotas the right regulatory tool for pursuing local content strategies or is there a better way to regulate across radio and other audio media services? Should a quota system be applied to podcast aggregation platforms?

Local content remains an important regulatory concern. Technology and content consumption behaviour change has created a major challenge to existing regulatory systems. Further research on this topic would be of great benefit to a number of stakeholders, including regulatory agencies, broadcasters, podcast aggregators, podcast producers, and the music industry.

(2) Podcasting and radio crossovers

What are we to make of the fact that more and more radio programs are simply being repackaged, with very few changes, as podcasts? How does this complicate some of the central arguments about the uniqueness of the podcast medium, such as those made by Martin Spinelli and Lance Dann in their 2019 book Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution? Many specific podcasting characteristics (particularly those that deal with tone, attachment and engagement) seem to be feeding back into the way many non-current-events radio programs are being made. In simpler terms: “radio” is coming to sound more “podcast”?

Understanding more about the extent and impact of the crossover of radio and podcasting creative practice would be of benefit to broadcasters and podcast producers and also to media industry educators.

Note: This topic is derived from the “new sets of questions and further research opportunities” identified by Martin Spinelli and Lance Dann in the Afterword of Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution.

(3) New arbiters of quality? Podcasting and audio arts criticism

What, if any, are the future alternatives to Apple’s de facto role as podcasting’s tastemaker? Spinelli and Dann (2019) note that podcast review programs (that exist only to review and promote other podcasts) have recently been developed by virtually every English-language national public broadcaster. The question is whether this is an effort by public broadcasters to reclaim for themselves the position of arbiters of “quality” media, or whether this phenomenon is simply an organic answer to Johanna Zorn’s plea for a broader and deeper culture of well-defined audio arts criticism?

Understanding changes to the podcast tastemaking landscape will be of interest to podcast producers, podcast aggregators, public service media organisations and others.

Note: This topic is derived from the “new sets of questions and further research opportunities” identified by Martin Spinelli and Lance Dann in the Afterword of Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution.

(4) Is customised listening the future for radio?

Audience-directed and/or audience-led content and advertising program customisation is well-established in the visual entertainment, social media and music streaming sectors. There have recently been calls from some within the radio industry for radio to move in a similar direction if it is to remain relevant (see Marc Adriani [Talpa Radio], Charlotte Hager [Comrecon] and others discussing this at 17m.35s+ here). This raises a range of technical and cultural questions. Is this what listeners really want from radio? What would listeners desire in terms of actual customisation and what could be delivered? Would listeners be happy to provide the necessary data for customisation to occur as they do in other sectors? Will there be a place for ‘serendipitous listening’?

Further research on this topic would be of great benefit to a number of stakeholders, including commercial and public service audio-media companies, marketing and advertising agencies, and cultural policy makers.

Note: This topic is derived from outputs recommended by Charlotte Hager of Comrecon who recently completed the ‘Planet Audio 2025’ study for AS and S Radio, RMS and Radiozentrale. An overview of this research can be found here and a discussion video here. Charlotte’s work on the Planet Audio 2025 research is also featured as part of the Future of Radio documentary produced for the Radio Advies Bureau.

(5) Listening to podcasts – meanings and purposes

Increasingly, podcast audience behaviours are being mapped to measure impact and engagement, and in most cases, their ability to make money. Download metrics are complemented with listening patterns monitored through podcast apps (like the NPR One app) or via more traditional audience surveys. The data is predominantly quantitative with some qualitative questions added on. Current studies provide some in-depth knowledge about how listeners select podcast contents and how much podcast listening they do. However, there is still limited understanding of the role of podcast listening in people’s lives; what motivates podcast audiences to listen to podcasts, what is the purpose of listening to podcasts (where and how do people listen), what meaning to listeners ascribe to podcast listening? These are some of the questions that an anthropological study using observational and interview approaches could examine.

Podcasting continues to grow in popularity amongst listeners, producers and advertisers. This understanding would benefit all sectors involved in podcast production, including educational institutions and civil society which is increasingly engaging with podcast production.

Thanks to Mia Lindgren, co-editor of The Radio Journal for suggesting this topic.

(6) The future delivery of radio services

Over the past three decades there has been substantial diversification in radio distribution technologies. Existing AM and FM technologies have been complemented by satellite and digital terrestrial distribution systems, while the public internet emerged as a new non-terrestrial distribution system. Although a single technology is yet to become dominant at a global scale, there has been a contraction in the range of distribution technologies available in certain countries. For example, the Netherlands turned off in AM transmission in 2015, while Norway switched-off national FM radio in December 2017. In Australia, the broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, recently presented a scenario in which “free-to-air terrestrial radio progressively migrates to online streaming” as part of a consultation on the future delivery of radio services. In presenting this provocation the regulator has asked respondents to consider the technical implications of such a transition in relation to coverage, capacity and governance, as well as the social and cultural implications. This scenario presents a number of avenues for future research.

Knowing more about the technical and social and cultural implications of changes to radio distribution systems would be of great benefit to operators in all media sectors and to regulatory agencies. It is certainly a key policy issue in Europe—for example the Association of European Radios (AER) continues to argue for a continuation of multi-platform radio, noting that “ensuring reception of terrestrial free to air analogue and digital broadcasting, complemented by IP, is crucial to maintain a healthy radio market in Europe”.

Thanks to Michael Ireland of Radiocentre for pointing to current interest in the issue of the future of radio distribution in Europe and pointing to recent material published by the Association of European Radios.

(7) Audio Revolution: Radio’s future in an age of tech giants

The arrival of huge competitors from the tech world such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Spotify, etc. has the potential to outbid traditional radio players in access to content and talent, as well as to generate gatekeepers in the access to traditional radio content. What are the consequences (pros/cons) of the arrival of these big players for audiences and for established players? How is radio working / competing with new digital actors (market analysis)? What are the possible responses from traditional players? Is there a need for policy intervention in relation to this change to the sector?

Thanks to Francesca Fabbri, Association Manager for AER – Association of European Radios, David Fernandez Quijada Manager of the EBU Media Intelligence Service and  Graham Dixon, EBU Head of Radio for pointing to this important issue.

(8) Radio user experience (UX) and in-car consumption

Given that radio can now be consumed in a variety ways (live, on-demand, through screen devices, through voice-control, on different kind of devices, with or without headphones, etc.), research is needed on what users value in relation to each of those different experiences. What are the reasons people choose or prefer different devices, interfaces, etc. to listen to radio?

One very illuminating topic is how radio is now consumed in cars. We need to understand more about what people value in their radio/audio/media interface in the dashboard.

Thanks to David Fernandez Quijada, Manager of the EBU Media Intelligence Service and  Graham Dixon, EBU Head of Radio for this topic.

(9) Public Service Broadcasting radio in a superabundant audio world

In a world of superabundant audio offer, including more linear broadcast stations (through DAB+, for instance), linear internet streams, on-demand radio/podcast, how does Public Service Broadcasting radio become the chosen option? This raises issues of the prominence and public service value of some content.

Thanks to David Fernandez Quijada Manager of the EBU Media Intelligence Service for this topic.

(10) The impact/effects of radio and radio’s current ‘perception’ problem

Although radio continues to have huge reach (the highest of all media in some countries, such as the US), there is a perception that it is no longer relevant. There is a need for research that examines the value that radio brings to audiences in a diverse media media landscape including how it might play a particular role in raising awareness of important topics and empowering audiences to change behaviour or take action. A related research topic would address how the impact of radio can be communicated to change perceptions of the medium – what can be done to offer a picture of the medium that reflects more clearly its use and value in people’s lives?

Thanks to David Fernandez Quijada Manager of the EBU Media Intelligence Service for this topic.

(11) Young people and radio: beyond content demands

What do young people hope to get from radio listening? This question is not just about identifying demand for particular types of content, but building a better understanding of how young people use (or seek to use) radio in meeting certain psychological needs.

Thanks to Graham Dixon, EBU Head of Radio for pointing to this important issue.

(12) Radio and the contemporary news landscape

How is radio positioned in the contemporary news and information media landscape? How does the depth of news/information coverage on radio compare to other media?

Thanks to Graham Dixon, EBU Head of Radio for pointing to this important issue.

Complete Workshop Slides

The complete set of presentation slides (including ECR Slides) can be downloaded here.