Call for Papers

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY – CFP FOR 2023 ICA PRECONFERENCE20 Years of Podcasting: Mapping the Contours of Podcast StudiesWednesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 25, 2023
Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

With the support of the International Communication Association (ICA) Popular Media & Culture Division and Media Industry Studies Interest Group.
Deadline for abstracts: Friday, December 2, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. GMT

This, the first ever podcast studies ICA preconference, invites scholars to present, discuss and listen to a range of works focusing on podcasting as a cultural, aesthetic, and institutional communicative form. We aim to promote a broad, cross-field understanding of podcasting, one that is shaped by multiple forces and perspectives that go beyond the early notion of the medium as simply an extension of radio, and open the horizon to fruitful exchanges between media history research, sound studies, creative industries, journalism, platform studies, and more.
Podcasting is a relatively young medium: It has been 20 years since the first audio file was distributed online via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) in 2003. Thanks to software developer Dave Winer’s innovation of media enclosures within RSS feeds, podcasting became an audio distribution form that greatly expanded the utility and popular excitement around Apple’s iPod in the first decade of the 21st century. While podcasting was initially leveraged by broadcast radio networks such as NPR and the BBC to asynchronously retransmit their content online, the key to the medium’s early identity and development was the explosion of amateur content production, thereby opening up the medium to new voices and perspectives, unhindered by the presence of institutional gatekeepers.
The cultural significance of this medium has since been resonating through various corridors of communication, culture, and everyday life, and is evident in both the exponentially growing popularity of, and the scholarly attention given to, podcasting. As an audio medium, podcasting’s familiar cultural anchor is radio. However, from its very inception podcasting has presented a combination of traits that straddle a range of old and new media practices: serialization and syndication (Durrani, Gotkin & Laughlin, 2015; Haugtvedt, 2017), portability and customization (Berry, 2006; Menduni, 2007; Spinelli and Dann, 2019), autonomous scheduling and binge-consumption (Stitcher, 2016), the simultaneous democratization and egalitarianism of cultural production alongside the centralization and industrialization of the field (Sullivan, 2019).
Based on an open architecture of RSS that cultivates a culture of entrepreneurism and aspirational labor (Sullivan, 2018), podcasts allow for new modes and workflows of production (Rime, Francombe & Collins 2022), as well as new styles of delivery and sound aesthetics (Copeland, 2018; Florini, 2015; McHugh, 2016; Salvati, 2015). These coincide with new modes of audience engagement (e.g. Perks & Turner 2018), digital activism (Fox & Ebada, 2022) and para-social relationships (Schlütz, D., & Hedder, 2021; Sharon & John, 2019), that thrive in an era of attention scarcity that privilege sight over hearing (Sterne, 2003), making podcasting a unique site of inquiry in the current social media landscape.

This preconference seeks to bring together researchers and academic practitioners to explore questions such as: How can podcasts and podcasting be theorized? How can the study of podcasting enrich our knowledge of core issues of communication, both conceptually and methodologically? What types of content define the podcasting medium today and what does that signify? How can podcasts mediate complex topics and de-marginalize authentic, diverse voices? How do podcasts change our understanding of notions such as storytelling and narratives? What is the social economy of podcasting? How are major platform providers such as Spotify, SiriusXM, and iHeartMedia shifting the nature of podcast production, distribution, and consumption? What are the relationships between the practice of podcasting and the study of it? We invite works that may address the wide range of subject areas relevant to the study of podcasts, including but not limited to:

  • The state and future of podcast studies: Mapping the history of the field, theorizing what a podcast is, delineating the borders of podcast studies in relation to other media fields.
  • The political economy of podcasting: Industry power and control; processes of consolidation, professionalization and platformization of podcasting; monetization and datafication of podcast listening; commercial aspects and advertising in podcasts; podcasting in the age of streaming platforms.
  • Podcasting as a creative industry: The creative labor of podcasting; audience and production studies about podcast shows and communities.
  • Non-human podcasts: Generative podcasts, robot hosts, and automated transcripts
  • Podcasts diversities: The inclusive (and exclusive) nature of podcasts; diverse hosts and audiences; podcasting in the Global South; how podcasts amplify diverse perspectives; making podcasts more accessible; and more.
  • Podcasts as audio archives: Who is in charge of institutional and informal podcast archives? Who are the gatekeepers of podcasts? How do we preserve human speech and sound, and according to which categories?
  • Podcast studies methods: Analysis of podcast networks; models for studying podcast delivery modes; theorizing para-social relations between host and listener applying sound studies tools to research podcasts.
  • Podcasts and journalism: Podcasts and the public sphere; long-form audio news
  • Podcasts forms and new aural cultures: The rise of new audio genres, narrative and storytelling modes.
  • Podcasts as academic avenues: Podcasting as a form of intellectual and scholarly engagement; peer review of and through podcasts.
  • Podcasts as acoustic spaces

Given the auditory and often conversational nature of podcasting, this preconference welcomes several types of contributions:

  1. Paper presentations (15 minute presentations)
  2. Audio work presentations (15 minute presentations)
  3. The audio work could be your own (completed or work-in-progress), or you might present the work of others (e.g. clips or sections from a published podcast) for listening and discussion.
  4. Theme-centered podcast episode recording
  5. Recording studios will be available to conduct podcast recordings related to podcast studies. Take advantage of this gathering of experts to get them into the studio! Studios can accommodate up to 6 participants including host(s) and include all necessary equipment. Recorded podcast episodes may be included in a special series of The Podcast Studies Podcast and/or you can release the recording as part of your own podcast if you have one. Technical support staff will be on hand to give you a quick overview of how to run the studio and to help if you run into problems.
  6. Leading a roundtable discussion (of ~20 minutes)

In these roundtable sessions, attendees will participate in three 20-minute roundtable discussions. Attendees may choose to move from one table to another at the end of each 20 minute stretch, or may choose to stay at a particular table to continue to engage with the topic at hand. As a roundtable discussion leader, you would determine the specific theme/topic, summarize the context of the topic, and encourage discussion amongst participants at your table.

  1. Workshops (of up to 90 minutes)
  2. Other: something you want to propose that isn’t captured in the categories above

For all submission types, the proposal format is a 500-word abstract (not including bibliography) submitted by Friday, December 2, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. GMT, through the preconference proposal form:

Abstracts should include the main idea/argument, a short literature review and/or theoretical perspectives, and an explanation of the work’s contribution. Aiming to broaden the scholarly imagination through the concept and practice of podcasting, we welcome different delivery modes and approaches, including discussions of literature, historical perspectives, empirical works, critical listening, and other creative forms of academic contributions that can fit with one of the submission types.Decisions on acceptance will be made by Tuesday, January 31, 2023.In general, authors of accepted abstracts are expected to attend the preconference in person. However, while we are planning to stream the event, we are exploring options for remote presentation, under certain circumstances.REGISTRATION FEE (TBC)

  • 100 USD / for registered participants: speakers and attendees who are faculty members
  • 50 USD / for students, and speakers and attendees with no employment

Fee includes: participation in the conference, two snack breaks per day and lunch for both days.The preconference is open to both ICA members and non-members. Note that you may attend this preconference even if you are not attending the main ICA conference.ORGANIZERS

  • Lori Beckstead, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)
  • Kim Fox, The American University in Cairo
  • Nicholas John, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Tzlil Sharon, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • John Sullivan, Muhlenberg College

Call for Papers – Journal of Radio & Audio Media Symposium Edition Editors on behalf of the MeCCSA Radio Studies Network: Janey Gordon, Josephine Coleman, Lawrie Hallett, Emma Heywood, Richard Berry, Deborah Wilson David.

Deadline for submission: February 1, 2023

On 18 October 1922 the British Broadcasting Company was formed in order to make use of the new technology of radio broadcasting for domestic use. The company started regular radio broadcasts on 14 November and in January 1927 it was formed into the British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC radio has continued to be a significant force in the cultural, entertainment and information sectors of the United Kingdom’s national, regional and local services and globally via the BBC World Service. It has often been considered world leading in broadcasting technological developments and has a consummate reputation for legitimacy, accuracy and impartiality. In 2022, a 100 years after its first broadcast, BBC radio retains a 50% live radio audience share in the UK, about 34 million listeners a week (RAJAR 1:2022). Its overseas services command weekly audiences of almost half a billion listeners globally (BBC Media Centre, November 2021). This tends to grow even higher during times of strife, conflict or disaster. This symposium edition seeks to celebrate BBC radio’s centenary and to examine BBC radio’s future in terms of reach, purpose and technologies.

The MeCCSA Radio Studies Network is inviting papers which may – though not necessarily – touch on some of the following issues:

The significance of 2022 as a watershed year in radio history
The impact of BBC radio news BBC World Services BBC local radio, on-line and digital services BBC Sounds
The role of BBC radio as a training ground for broadcasters
BBC School Radio and Bite Size
BBC radio’s impact on cultural forms, music, drama and the arts
BBC radio’s financial future
Broadcaster and audience diversity and inclusivity
The concepts of global, national, regional and local radio
The development of new production and broadcast practices, skills and technologies
The impact of technological developments on radio and its future
Digital technologies the changing nature of ‘audiences’
Appealing to new audiences, children, youth and young adults

Submitting a proposal Submissions for this JRAM Symposium Edition are due by February 1, 2023. Expressions of interest prior to submission are appreciated but not required ( subject line “JRAM BBC Radio 1922-2022”.

Submitted manuscripts undergo a blind peer review. Manuscripts should be submitted through Manuscript Central link on or Documents prepared in Microsoft Word are preferred and should be APA for style and citation. Manuscripts should not exceed 6500 words and should include an abstract of no more than 100 words. In addition to the manuscript bearing no reference to the author(s), the author(s) should include a separate attachment with contact information. Please fill in the manuscript information as directed on the site.

For more information on the Journal of Radio & Audio Media, click here. Please direct any questions in advance of your submission to the symposium editor: Janey Gordon (, subject line: JRAM BBC Radio 1922-2022.

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