This weekend the University of Oregon’s George S. Turnbull Portland Center will play host to the What is Radio? conference. (Last year, it held a similar event focused on television.) The idea is to explore ideas related to "the changing nature of radio."
Things begin Thursday night with an opening reception and the Johnston Lecture delivered by Charles Jaco, a long-time broadcast news correspondent perhaps best-known (career-wise) for his work with CNN during the first Gulf War, and who more recently made headlines as the interviewer to whom former Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin made his infamous "legitimate rape" comment.
This kicks off two full days of plenaries and panel discussions covering a wide range of radio-related issues. I’m particularly looking forward to Christopher Terry‘s overview of changes in media ownership regulations since the passage of the Telecommunications Act; Lawrie Hallett‘s presentation on pirate radio enforcement issues in the United Kingdom; Ivy Glennon’s examination of "canned" radio; Marko Ala-Fossi, Per Jauert, and Stephen Lax‘s update on the status of Europe’s digital radio transition; and the variety of presentations addressing the morphing identity of "radio" from on-air to online and points in-between, just to name a few.
Radio Survivor‘s Matt Lasar and Jennifer Waits will also be in attendance, making presentations on the new ways DJs communicate with listeners and the "secret history" of Haverford College’s radio station, respectively.
I’ll be presenting my first-ever book talk (forthcoming from Routledge) during the last round of panels on Saturday, providing a comprehensive and critical overview of radio’s digital transition in the United States. It’s hard to boil down ~250 pages covering >20 years into 20 minutes, and in a very real sense, this is the coming-out party for Radio’s Digital Dilemma, so I’m both excited and terrified of this coming weekend.