Friday, September 30, 2011

IMPORTANT: Project group formation info

As I told you at the seminar today, we will form the project groups next week, on Tuesday.

I have asked our guest lecturer to shorten his talk, so we will form the project groups that you will work in from October to December immediately following his (shortened) lecture.

I hope we can do this quickly, but please take into account that there is a high chance that we will not be finished by 15.00 but rather a bit later. If you can't come to this lecture, please ask a friend of yours to represent you and your interests at the group formation exercise.

After the last two seminars (seminars 3 & 4), we now have 23 suggestions for topics for the project group. I would once again like you to VOTE on Doodle and indicated which three ideas/project groups (listed below) you could consider working with for the rest of the term!

We do this vote for several reasons, but the main benefit is not primarily for me, but rather for you to learn which topics seem more likely to attract enough interest to form groups around. It will also help us to speed up the process on Tuesday by not bothering to try to form groups around less popular topics. DO NOTE that you can go back to the Doodle page and edit your selections after you see what other people have voted for. Also please note that you are not bound by your Doodle-selections - this is just a way to reveal and coordinate your interests and preferences.

We are aiming for project groups with 5-6 persons in each group. It is possible to form two groups working on the same topic, but it is then crucial that these group find a way to divide the topic up and coordinate their work (loosely) so that that they don't overlap too much!


Here are the suggested topics in order of popularity (number of votes) and with those topics that attracted two groups first.

1. School radio/podcasts
Some teachers have made experiments with using podcasts in education (for example Björn Hedin, some of you have taken his (Swedish-language) course on "Interactive media technology"). What is state of the art and what is the (future) role of radio broadcasts (in different countries) and/or of podcasts (or "enhanced podcasts" with powerpoint slides?) in (higher) education?

2. HCI challenges: always-present radio
How could technological/human-computer interaction (HCI) solutions allow us to always bring radio with us? How about tapping the phone against the computer to continue to play the podcast when you leave the office and tapping it against the car stereo to switch to the speakers when you sit down in the car and later to your home stereo? Sharing a podcast by tapping on someone else's phone? What other HCI ideas and challenges could make radio more useful in and fun?

3. The audio pool
Intelligent algorithms monitor your choices and add (similar) stuff to your "audio pool" based on your previous selections and feedback ("I like this", tags etc.) You can affect and alter the flow with a few "dials" and "buttons" (?); the proportion of talk/music, different "modes" (at-work, in-the-car, walking-the-dog, moods etc.). Perhaps people will subscribe to your audio pool or you to theirs?

4. Radio advertising of the future
Single advertisers (companies) could "own" whole shows at the birth of commercial radio, now they just buy time on popular channels. What is the history, the present and the future of radio ad formats, radio ad trends and the radio ad business? What kind of ads, or ad for what kind of products "work" on the radio? Could we see the return (development) of older radio ad practices with single advertisers owning or sponsoring a web radio channel or a podcast show?

5. Economic models of (future) radio
Skip the part about defining what radio is and what it will become (above) and jump right in to a discussion of how economic factors affect current and future changes in (the business of) radio! What new business models could/are arising? What formats will thrive in the future and which will be in decline (due to economic pressures of varying kinds)? What is the future of public service (license fees)?

6. Important message to the public - handling crises in a post-radio age
Radio/broadcast has and still does play an important role in times of crisis. How can the government reach citizens and a whole nation in a post-radio age? The hurricane "Gudrun" hit Sweden in January 2005. Around 75 million cubic meters of trees were felled by the storm and 100 000 persons had no electricity four days later (it took 40 days to restore electricity to everyone and it was fortunately a relatively warm winter). What is the role of radio in times of crisis and what will happen if radio itself will go through crises in the coming decades?


7. Finding a balance between active and passive listening
Some people want to have total control and might spend a lot of time deciding content they will listen to on the radio. Others prefer to press one button once and then lean back and let others do the selection (filtering). How can these two modes of listening to radio be combined; what are the ways of finding a "balance" between "active" and "passive" listening?

8. Glocal radio
Mass radio mixed with extremely local content, for example customized/personalized information about the traffic flow on the road or the subway line you use when you travel to work (but not other roads or subway lines), about the weather where you are /will be during the day (but not other parts of the country), about stuff that has happened nearby where you live, or related to the sports team you cheer for (etc.). How would such radio come true?

9. Radio channels in an age of abundance
If there is an infinite number of radio channels (or an infinite number of podcast shows), how do listeners find their favorites and how do radio channels (or podcasts) find their listeners? How can you create meaning and find/form a taste of your own in the flood of content that washes over us? Can radio channels or podcasts be "tamed", classified, organized, clustered, tied to specific interests ("user who like this podcast usually also listen to...")?

10. Niche podcasts
What is the future of (amateur, zero-budget) producers of niche podcasts and their audiences? Who spends their leisure time doing weekly 90 minute long podcasts about recent events in World of Warcraft or about the Electric Vehicle scene (and why)? Who listens and how does producers and audiences find each other? What are the options to commercialize such podcasts as a supplement to or as a main source of income for producers? What does the world of (niche, amateur) podcasts look like, and what will the future bring?

11. Music radio and talk radio
What is the relationship between music and talk on the radio? What is the role of talkaboutmusic (for example in-between songs) on radio? Is it a nuisance, or is the talk, the point of view and the contextualization of music ("that was a great song from X and here is the latest from upcoming Norwegian trash metal band Y...") something that adds value (and that makes radio different (better?) than Spotify playlists)? Does talk about music bridge music and talk radio? Is there a role for music on the radio in the future? If so, which?

12. Listening habits of the young generation
Commercial radio forces public service to mind their quality, to not lean back and take it easy. Commercial radio also fosters a new generation of radio listeners to develop radio habits. These radio listeners might at a later point develop public service habits - so public service "loves" commercial radio. But what happens if/when young people stop listening to radio? Is that, or how is that a loss for society, democracy etc.? Could (or how could) radio become more popular among young listeners in today's saturated media landscape?

13. The death of radio
Radio is dead, long live radio! Radio as we know it (broadcast of electromagnetic signals through the ether - be they analog or digital) will soon be dead and it will be replaced by [please specify]. What will a post-radio world look like? Where (how) will we listen to music and talk formats (news, weather, documentaries, radio theater, sports etc)?

14. The comeback of the radio set
Radio was one furniture and later smaller (portable) radio sets. Now radio is everywhere, in our cell phones, in our iPods and in our cars. But could the radio set as a stand-alone gadget be revived, perhaps combing super-easy and convenient access to "long audio" podcasts, web radio and other sorts of "non-traditional" radio content and distribution channels (preset/programmable buttons? automatic subscriptions to favorite podcasts? - think of the audio equivalent of a digital photo frame)? Could it be customized in the manufacturing process according to different users' varying needs? What would such a radio set look like and what functionality would it encompass?

15. Pay for performances
Daniel Johansson indicated a shift when it comes to music from paying for recordings (a CD) to paying for performances or actual music "use" (concert, Spotify). In Spotify, a flat fee is divided into small pieces and sent off to the artists you listen to (although, as we have heard, most of the money stops at the record company). Flatter ("flatter" + "flat rate") allows you to donate an amount of money that you decide and divide it evenly among all the great content providers on the Internet that you like. What would a payment model that rewards "performances" on the radio (or podcasts or web radio) look like? This topic is related to the seminar 3 topic "economic models of (future) radio".

16. Future radio defined?
What is radio today? What will radio be in the future? A combination of distributions channels (FM, podcast, streaming, satellite etc.) and formats/genres (sport, news, weather, music, documentaries)? Is an editor (a filter) that/who chooses content for you important (excludes Spotify)? Does it make sense to talk about "radio" any longer, or should more fine-grained and specialized terms be used? Which distribution channels (transmission of signals through the air and/or Internet convergence) and formats will thrive in the future and which are doomed?

17. The future of digital radio
Is digital radio broadcasting dead before arrival? DAB+ (ongoing experiments being conducted in Sweden) is technically superior to both DAB and FM, but will that matter? Will digital radio make inroads and eventually take over, will FM broadcasting be terminated, or will we just stay with FM and go for Internet radio instead?

18. Bringing the Internet to radio
There is a lot of talk about bringing radio to the Internet, but little talk about bringing the Internet to radio. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter create "waves" of information cascading across the Internet. How can dispersed and potentially unreliable information be vetted/audited and broadcasted, bringing the latest Arabian spring news or the latest political chatter to a truly mass media channel by monitoring, summarizing and reporting on what is happening on the Internet right now?

19. Social networks and radio
Radio reached the masses (before). Today social networks reaches the masses. How can/might social networks + radio become a hit in the future?

20. Place-bound glocal radio
There was a glocal radio topic last week, but what if glocal radio was not something that just customized the radio content according to where you are at the moment and your personal habits, but rather tied to "places" that you could actively subscribe to? Perhaps people could subscribe to different geographic places or areas in different parts of the world to follow what is happening there?

21. Public service of the future
What is the role of public service in the future? More important than ever? A relic, a dinosaur looming towards its extinction? What is public service? Radio and TV, or, using available media/tools (including blogs and the Internet) in order to do [something important]?

22. Radiotwitter
Should they be 10 seconds long, or 20? Who should manage them (if not SR)? What connections to other existing networks, big or/and small, could attract meaningful soundbites? What kind of limitations would help keep quality high?

23. Radio for the deaf?
People who are deaf should not be excluded. Also deaf people want objective news and information about a crisis. Is there some way of bringing, or creating radio for people who can't hear? How can everyone be part of the community of radio listeners?


  1. When's the final presentation? Is it the 5th of december?

  2. The date has not been set yet but it will be as late as possible before Christmas, i.e. for sure later than Dec 5.