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Title: Freelance radio practices : producing music documentaries for commercial radio
Author: Coley, Samuel John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 2533
Awarding Body: Birmingham City University
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 2018
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This study considers the practice of freelance radio producers creating music documentaries for commercial radio audiences. Commercial radio is an underexplored field of study, while investigations into music documentary content for commercial broadcasters are even more uncommon. Previous inquiries into radio documentary production have focused on public service models of broadcasting. These studies often view the subject from a journalistic agenda, overlooking technical approaches and ignoring the commercial imperatives that inform freelance practices. I explore how advances in digital production tools and online technologies shape the work of radio producers. I address wider issues of debate surrounding freelance activities and question whether autonomous producers are capable of creating music documentary content of a calibre consistent with traditional team approaches to documentary production. As an experienced practitioner in the field of commercial radio, I use a practice-based approach to reveal the practices a freelance radio producer adopts to make music documentaries for commercial radio. I argue that this method is essential in order to capture an accurate, first-hand perspective of contemporary industry practice. It draws on a combination of data collection methods including iterative production research, industry interviews, and auto-ethnographic observations as a freelance radio producer across a five-year period of production. This data is interrogated using a theoretical framework that incorporates ideas of political economy, commercial broadcasting and documentary production. I find that the advances in digital production tools and online technologies have streamlined workflow processes and enabled the merging of a various duties into a single production role. I argue that political, economic and commercial considerations impact on the work of radio freelancers in the field by shaping their production output. I acknowledge this is a highly specialised field, as music documentaries are not commonly heard on commercial radio. Yet I assert the industry is favourable towards this form of programming, and recognises its ability to attract new audiences, strengthen listener loyalty and reinforce a station's brand.
Supervisor: Wall, Tim ; Carter, Oliver Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P300 Media studies ; P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation ; W300 Music