Community radio in Ireland: building community, participation and multi-flow communication
Day, Rosemary (2003) Community radio in Ireland: building community, participation and multi-flow communication. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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The core aims of community radio stations foreground the principle of participation by the people in the communication process. Community radio stations broadcast to build the communities which they serve. Six Irish community radio stations are studied to examine the implementation of these aims. The study asks how community radio stations
• try to build the communities in which they broadcast?
• promote multi-flow communication?
• facilitate participation?
Three main frameworks are employed in the analysis of the research. The ideal construct of community is understood to be formed on the four bases of place, relationship, time and belief. Enzensberger’s dichotomy of repressive and emancipatory media is built upon to examine how multi-flow communication can be facilitated. A hierarchical model which identifies seven possible levels of participation in media is employed.
The key finding of the study is that it is the facilitation of participation which enables community radio stations to successfully implement their core aims. Irish community radio stations seek to build their communities. Many of them adopt a community development approach to their work. Irish community radio stations facilitate the human right to communicate. They do this by providing a communications link for their communities. This provides the basis for communication to flow in many directions rather than in the traditional, one-way flow of mass media generally. Irish community radio stations frequently target specific segments of their communities which enables the provision of multi, micro-public spheres.
Reflections on the observed practice of the community radio stations studied, when linked to the conceptual frameworks outlined, provide useful norms to inform the emerging communication theory of community media.
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