Satellite Sounds and the Transnational Circulation of Music
2012 – present / SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Combining cultural history, sound studies and critical policy studies, this project investigates the development of satellite radio broadcasting in North America and explores the ways in which satellite radio broadcasting organizes programming. This research is currently exploring spatial transformations in policy-making and business strategies in the satellite radio industry. Specifically, how has satellite radio moved from emphasizing its spatial advantages over terrestrial broadcasting to being in competition with mobile and digital listening devices and practices? A second key component of this project involves hearing the ways in which satellite radio continues a tradition of radio transmitting cultural and musical centers to private spaces. Only now these spaces are increasingly mobile and individual. Yet, within these mobile and individual spaces there are new ways in which transnational listeners are interacting and engaging with content, radio hosts, and musicians. This program of research began in the Department of Communication Arts at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, supervised by Professor of Media and Cultural Studies Michele Hilmes.
Canadian Campus Radio and the Shaping of Sounds and Scenes
2008 – 2012 / PhD in Communication, Concordia University
This SSHRC-funded doctoral dissertation – supervised by Dr. Leslie Regan Shade and Dr. Charles Acland, the Concordia University Research Chair in Communication Studies – focuses on Canadian campus radio broadcasting and local music-making. Specifically, I am researching three different campus stations in cities or towns of varying size and population, from a small town on the East Coast of Canada (Sackville, New Brunswick) to a medium-sized city in the middle of the country (Winnipeg, Manitoba), to a large metropolis on the West Coast (Vancouver, British Columbia). Following extensive analysis of policy and archival documents, as well as interviews with radio station staff members, volunteers and local musicians, I argue that a campus radio station does not simply respond to federal broadcasting regulation by ensuring programming differs from that available on commercial and public radio – although policy is critical in ensuring the operations and sustainability of the sector. Rather, stations are inherently connected to the individuals and various cultural institutions within their broadcast range, and these connections largely determine a station’s programming and operations. Moreover, campus radio stations are significant institutions that have resources and technology such as record collections and recording equipment that helps to educate and train cultural producers – whether radio hosts, musicians, DJs, singers, writers or producers. I also argue that campus radio practitioners, staff members and volunteers play an integral part in policy debates surrounding the sector, and have been central in the sector’s development.
The Radio Preservation Task Force
2014 – present
The Radio Preservation Task Force is an international research project initiated by the Library of Congress’s National Recording Preservation Board. My involvement is as a Faculty Research Associate who is tasked with locating radio and radio-related archival holdings in Ontario. Goals of the Task Force are to develop a comprehensive inventory of existing archival collections with significant holdings of radio program recordings and supporting documentation and to encourage the development of additional archival efforts such as digitization, online access, and metadata analytics. The project has a specific interest in local and educational radio. As part of the project’s goal of communicating the state of radio research, I am also contributing regular posts to Radio Survivor‘s Academic Series.
The Cultural Capital Project: Radical Monetization of the Music Industry
2011 – present / www.cultcap.org
Cultural Capital is a collaborative research project between myself, Andrew deWaard (Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA) and Ian Dahlman (Law, McGill University) that explores the historical antecedents, theoretical trajectories, legal ramifications and technical components involved in the creation of a non-profit patronage system and social network uniting musical artists and fans. The system will harvest user-generated data of listening and sharing habits, and then use an algorithm to allocate equitable compensation via distributed micropayment. Incorporating the multitude of individuals who propel the cultural industries with their creative labour, including fans, photographers, artists, labels and others, the Cultural Capital project aims to establish a ‘radical monetization’ of the music industry based on equity, connectivity and sharing. Integrating the ideas of Bourdieu, Attali, Lessig and more, this research will explore new avenues of development for the digital cultural industries and assess potential opportunities for innovative cultural labourers to facilitate this transformation. In March 2012, the project was awarded an Art+Exchange Planning Grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.