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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5750M Radio Technologies, Industries and Cultures

30 creditsClass Size: 38

Module manager: Dr Stephen Lax

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will study the role of radio in contemporary society. From its emergence as the first broadcast medium some 100 years ago, radio remains popular across the world today. We will examine the technologies and institutions which have shaped its development and its continuing role in the online era. Its varying functions as an apparatus of the state, as a public service, as a radical and accessible medium and as a commercial product will be explored. Different radio forms and programme genres will be analysed.


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
This module aims to give students a critical understanding of the role of radio in contemporary society. It examines its history as the first broadcast medium and the technologies and institutions that shaped it as an industry. Its international cultural impact and its varied role as an apparatus of the state, as a public service, a radical and accessible medium, and as a commercial product will be explored. Radio’s continuing role in an online world, and its future in this new era, will conclude the module.

Learning outcomes
At the end of the module, students should be able to:
- describe the social and technological origins of radio and give a critical evaluation of the role of institutions, audiences and regulators;
- demonstrate an understanding of different programme formats and their significance for the industry and audience
- critically reflect upon the roles of national and international institutions and users in shaping the development of radio as a mass medium;
- analyse the relationship between technological development, institutions, audiences and regulators in relation to radio;
- apply this knowledge to give a critical analysis of current developments in the radio industry.
- apply research techniques, theoretical concepts and academic conventions in written assignments


This module will cover the origins of radio communication; the transition from one-to-one to mass communication; the regulation of radio; policy and technology; ideology & radio forms (e.g. public service, pirate radio); audiences; international broadcasting and propaganda; radio news and journalism; formats (talk, feature etc.); radio drama; music radio; digital radio; and new radio platforms, including online radio.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Reading & preparation for seminars: 100 hrs
Research in preparation for essays: 100 hrs
Writing essays: 50 hrs
Writing literature review: 15 hrs
Programme analysis exercise: 15hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance will be monitored in accordance with School policy.
Students will be required to work in groups to present results of seminar exercises.
Written assignments (literature response/programme analysis) will be due mid-semester.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 - 3,500 words40.00
Essay1 x 4,000 - 4,500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/06/2018


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