Glossary (research)

 Acousmatic sound: A sound which you hear without seeing its source. Examples are: seagull cries (often), traffic outside the window, a bomb in the distance.

Apparatus Theory: The use of the radio apparatus related to user, space, 'listening zone'. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 4.3

Audile technique, or techniques of listening: 'a set of practices of listening that were articulated to science, reason, and instrumentality and that encouraged the coding and rationalization of what was heard'. Sterne, Julian, The Audible Past. Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, 2003, London: Duke University Press, p 23

Aural paradise (term coined by Alan Beck): Each radio programme, and especially radio drama, constructs an aural paradise for the listener where each element totally signifies, with complete aural 'focus'. This is a central theoretical concept in Beck's medium-theory approach. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 3.6. Beck, Alan, 1998, 'Point-of-listening in radio drama', Sound Journal

Aurality (term coined by Alan Beck): Part of core theory for radio. 'Aurality', matches film's 'specularity'. It has three aspects: the 'listening-to-ness' of radio reception, the 'heard-of-ness' of the broadcast speaker and other sound events on radio, and listening in itself. See Aurality as central to radio theory


Extra-radio world (term coined by Alan Beck): The world to which listeners have access through production and broadcast. This is the equivalent of film's 'pro-filmic event' and the 'extra-cinematic world'. It is the world out there at which the microphone points


'Mise en scène' (adapted from film and stage scenography): Locations, spaces and perspectives for all genres of radio, but also including style and mode (as realism, non-realism, etc.). For radio drama, this involves representation of the play scene, its composition, 'set dressing' and perspective, and the characters' behaviour in that environment and style.


Paraproxemics (media studies): Study of the way the media, especially film and TV, simulate the way people handle the space between themselves in real-life dialogue and hence induce a sense of belonging in the viewer/listener. In radio's case, this reproduces the apparent interpersonal distance between radio's performers and the listener.


Standard production (term coined by Alan Beck): Convention-bound radio drama directing style with limited use of radio's features. It successfully enables budget-controlled studio production: linear continuity of plot, dialogue- and protagonist-dominated, dialogue mostly in positions two and three, and strictly foregrounded above SFXs. Overall, a much plainer style - neutral acoustic or near-neutral (living-room) is common.


Suturing techniques (term derived from film): These 'bind in', 'stitch in' or position the listener as the subject addressed and facilitate attentiveness. They also seek to establish the 'the reality of the radio station and the broadcasters themselves' and deny 'absence' (Crisell). Examples: paraproxemic effects, address, station idents, description, narrator (radio drama), voice-over commentator (documentary, feature), the dominating protagonist in plays and phatic communion.

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Algorithm: The complex mathematic formulae that automate the compression and decompression processes around which streaming software is created. Gregory, 1987, 19 defines algorithm as 'a predetermined procedure or ordered sequence of instructions for carrying out an operation in a finite number of steps … computing is precisely the automation and execution of algorithms'.

Analogue data: Data represented by a physical quantity that is con­tinuously variable and proportional to the data.

Aporia: (Philosophy) A moment in a philosophical movement, especially metaphysics, when there are unconquerable obstacles in a tradition's understanding of its own intelligibility. (Ross, 1989, 3)

(Textual deconstruction) A moment when the illusion of determinacy collapses because of some internal contradiction. (Belton citing Derrida)

Opposite - determinacy

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 2.5

Artworld: (Visual arts theory) Arthur Danto's term for an artefact which can be defined as art providing it meets three conditions: (1) the historical, (2) an art-category condition, and (3) it is 'enfranchised by theory'.

Aurality (radio): (author's term) Part of core theory for radio. 'Aurality', matches film's 'specularity'. It has three aspects: the 'listening-to-ness' of radio reception, the 'heard-of-ness' of the broadcast speaker and other sound events on radio, and listening in itself.

Automated music channels: Automated stations play music twenty-four hours a day, and if paid for by subscription, are without idents, DJs and advertisements, and just track after track. The example of the 50-channel Music Choice is discussed in Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal,7.3.

Bandwidth: The data transmission capacity of a medium.

Broadband - (1) A high-capacity communication link, wired or wireless, capable of transmitting the equivalent of multiple TV signals. Opposite - Narrowband. (2) Any communication channel or medium capable of data rates in excess of what can be achieved with a telephone line and an analogue modem.

Clarification: Defining a medium as against the other media.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 5.2

Constructionism (constructivism): (Philosophy, especially metaphysics, politics) That an element of culture - a phenomenon - is historically and culturally defined and constructed. Opposite - essentialism.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 8.4

Convergence: The hypothesis that a single digital medium such as the Internet will replace analogue telephone and tele­vision media in the coming together of previously separate communications like telecommunications, internet, broadcasting, written media and so on.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 1.10-11

Culturalism: Another term for the tasks of cultural / media studies. These tasks are broadly deconstructing media institutions, considering the differences of race, ethnic heritage, class and gender/sexual preferences, mass culture and reception, and also the search for possible resistance (Gramsci). Culturalism is under attack from, among others, David Bordwell and Noël Carroll:

Doubtless culturalism instilled in media academics a sense of empowerment. By studying movies and TV shows one could purportedly contribute to political struggles on behalf of the disadvantaged. (Bordwell in Bordwell & Carroll, 1996, 11). Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 8.15

'Death of radio?': (author's term) Phrase to express the radical way radio and audio are changing in the digital age and to emphasise the rebirth of digital radio-audio in new forms along with the traditional, with new ways of broadcasting and new apparatuses (Internet radio, MP3 Players). See un-radio-like.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 1

Disappearing or phantasmagoric apparatus: Technology which 'hides' its apparatus. Opposite - 'disciplining' apparatus. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 4.8

Disciplining apparatus: Technology which positions and 'disciplines' the user. Opposite - phantasmagoric or disappearing apparatus. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 4.5

Domain (radio): (author's term) Term for each of the different categories which are key organisers of both form and content: the vocal, sound effects, atmoses or different conditions of ambience, music, noises from nonsentient objects, silences.

'Economy rule': (author's term) Radio filters out or excludes many sound events by comparison with the Lifeworld and with the sight/sound media. One of the specificities of radio. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 6.13

Essentialism: (Philosophy, especially metaphysics, politics) Some objects, no matter what their definition or description, have properties that are timeless and immutable, and these properties not only are requisite to their existence but are expressed in their definitions or descriptions. Under attack from poststructuralists.

(Film and media studies) The essence of a medium, such as film, determines what style should prevail in that medium. (E.g. André Bazin)

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 8.2 onwards

Extra-radio world: (author's term) The world to which listeners have access through production and broadcast. This is the equivalent of film's 'pro-filmic event' and the 'extra-cinematic world'. It is the world out there at which the microphone points.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, see 6.3

Features (radio): (author's term) Editing and production features of radio such as montage, cuts, balancing, fading, segue, mixing in a music bed, digital treatment, etc. Features are the formal strategies of radio and they are part of radio's articulation.

Figure-and-ground: The visual perspective composition of Renaissance painting where the human figures stand out from the background. Radio perspective is organised around a sound centre in terms of the sound picture, with voices predominating. Point-of-listening in radio plays - Beck, Alan, 1998, Sound Journal, 1.12, Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal Section 6 note to 6.12.

Genre (radio): (author's term) In radio, genres differentiate strands and formats such as music, radio drama, commercials, documentaries and sports commentaries. Usual radio term is formats.

'Hard' and 'soft' radio studies: Following on Gledhill 2000, a division into 'hard' radio studies, the core we know - media/cultural studies focused on issues of mass communications, political economy, public policy, representation, gender, ethnic issues, media imperialism, reception studies (ethnographic and so on), etc.; and 'soft' - widened reception theory, aesthetics, fantasy, desire, the body, performance theory, phenomenology, radio-philosophy, cross-overs to the film sound track and sound in performance.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 10-12

'Hear-view': Radio stations on the web with web cams in the studio or to be viewed on television. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 5 and 3.5

Hierarchy of sound: One of the specificities of radio. A strict layering of sound in broadcast based on filtering out and balancing.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.11

Hybridity: Where radio draws on the forms of other media, oversteps its boundaries and challenges its identities. Opposite - radiogenic.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 14

Lifeworld: Sociology term for reality. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.3

'Mise en scène': (Adapted from film and stage scenography) Locations, spaces and perspectives for all formats (genres) of radio, but also including style and mode (as realism, non-realism, etc.). For radio drama, this involves representation of the play scene, its composition, 'set dressing' and perspective, and the characters' behaviour in that environment and style.

MP3 files: For downloading and storage of sound files, a way of compressing into one twelfth the size of a WAV file.

Object-study: As an initial approach, it is possible to divide radio studies into two - object-study (what programmes are broadcast and how broadcast - approaches through cultural materialism, for example) and subject-study (who is listening - reception theory / studies).

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 7

Paraproxemics: (Media studies) Study of the way the media, especially film and TV, simulate the way people handle the space between themselves in real-life dialogue and hence induce a sense of belonging in the viewer/listener. In radio's case, this reproduces the apparent interpersonal distance between radio's performers and the listener. Proxemics are the study of body-to-body relationships.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 5.5

Phantasmagoric or disappearing apparatus - see disappearing apparatus: Opposite - disciplining apparatus

Phenomenology: The set of theoretical strategies associated with the philosophical tradition founded by Edmund Husserl and including Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, and Paul Ricoeur. Its aim is summarised by Garner, 1994, 2:

… to redirect attention from the world as it is conceived by the abstracting, "scientific" gaze (the objective world) to the world as it appears or discloses itself to the perceiving subject (the phenomenal world); to pursue the thing as it is given to consciousness in direct experience; to return perception to the fullness of its encounter with its environment.

Phenomenologists make the point about the essentially embodied character of perception and the tacit, background awareness of one's body, the presence-to-the-world. Beck, Alan, 1999b, 'Is radio blind or invisible? A call for a wider debate on listening-in', World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE), electronic publication, http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/WFAE/library/articles/beck_blindness.pdf, 1.4.c.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 4.3

See Phenomenology (philosophy)

Pro-filmic event: (Film) Term used for all that the camera shoots. Also pro-filmic reality and the extra-cinematic event.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, extra-radio world and 6.3

Prosthesis: The radio apparatus as an extension of the human body. Other examples are the wheel as the extension of the foot, the book of the eye. (Merleau-Ponty and Marshall McLuhan)

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 4.3 and phenomenology

Public good: A good or service, such as a TV program, whose quantity or value is not reduced by consumption.

Radiobility: (Coinage by Jo Tacchi) 'Recent technological developments have been designed to achieve usability, mobility, accessibility and radiobility. By radiobility I mean the technical ability to be radio, or to be radio-like or 'radiogenic'. (Tacchi, 2000, 292) Compare radioworld.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 2.4, 7.1

Radioworld: (author's term) A portmanteau word to include all instances of radio and the radio-like across history and to come. See radiobility. (Radio lacks an essence though there is an interdependency upon one another of a set of practices - repeated-use instances - in the network of radio or what could be called the radioworld.)

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 7.1

Reality: See Lifeworld

Referentiality: The ways the fiction work points outside of itself to the Lifeworld. Beck, 2000a, Introduction, Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.5

Scruton question: Is listening to a CD music track and that on broadcast the same?

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 5.8

See Scruton question - Listening to a CD and broadcast - the same?

Sonic continuity: (author's term) Radio's constant need to fill the sonic space of broadcast. One of the specificities of radio.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.17

'Soft' radio studies - see 'Hard' radio studies

Specificities of radio: The 'inherent features of radio' (Shingler & Wieringa) or repeated-use instances across radio suggesting universal practices. Examples are - hierarchy of sound, the 'economy rule', sonic continuity and the verbocentric.

Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.8

Standard production: (author's term) Convention-bound radio drama directing style with limited use of radio's features. It successfully enables budget-controlled studio production: linear continuity of plot, dialogue- and protagonist-dominated, dialogue mostly in positions two and three, and strictly foregrounded above SFXs. Overall, a much plainer style - neutral acoustic or near-neutral (living-room) is common.

Streaming: A real-time bitstream conveying audio or video information.

Subject-positioning: How each media text (film, radio programme etc.) constructs its reader (viewer, listener) in relation to the apparatus and the question of the implied audience. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, suturing techniques and 4.11

Subject-study - see object-study

Suturing techniques: (Term derived from film) These 'bind in', 'stitch in' or position the listener as the subject addressed and facilitate attentiveness. They also seek to establish the 'the reality of the radio station and the broadcasters themselves' and deny 'absence' (Crisell). Examples: paraproxemic effects, address, station idents, description, narrator (radio drama), voice-over commentator (documentary, feature), the dominating protagonist in plays and phatic communion. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 4.10

Transparency: The claim that a medium 'mirrors' the Lifeworld. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 5.6-7

Un-radio-like: (Tacchi's term) Examples of broadcasting that may be reckoned no longer similar to radio or radio-like. They do not fit with our present understanding of radio. Examples are automated music stations on satellite and cable, MP3 files, and 'hear-view'. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, Introduction 3

Verbocentric: Radio's focus mostly on words. One of the specificities of radio. Beck, Alan, 2002, The Death of Radio? An essay in radio-philosophy for the digital age, electronic book published by Sound Journal, 6.25

 

 

 

 

 

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