The Power of the “Audience-Public”: Interactive Radio in Africa
MetadataShow full item record
Scholars of media and politics mostly recognise that audiences and publics are constructed, but fall short of explaining precisely how their indeterminate and imagined nature can be the basis of their political significance. Interactive broadcast media provides a valuable empirical lens for inquiring into why this may be case. The convergence of newer digital communication technologies with more established radio and television broadcasts is shifting opportunities for news media to affect citizen-state relations. These possibilities are pronounced on the African continent, where mobile telephony and increasingly plural media landscapes have given rise to popular and widespread interactive talk shows. The involvement of audience voices alters the nature of the media space where political communication happens. Through a comparative study of interactive shows in Zambia and Kenya, this article interrogates what audience participation means for the political nature and possibilities of the interactive radio and TV broadcast. Ict shows how the indeterminate audience is the basis for competing ideas about power, authority, and citizenship among the different participants in the show, including politicians, media professionals, and audience members. The power of the “audience-public,” brought into being through the interactive broadcast, it is argued, arises from in-between these participants in public discussion, who each invest in multiple and competing imaginaries of the elusive audience in pursuit of diverse ends.
CitationSrinivasan S, Diepeveen S. The Power of the “Audience-Public”: Interactive Radio in Africa. The International Journal of Press/Politics. 2018;23(3):389-412. doi:10.1177/1940161218779175
Rights holderCopyright © 2021 by SAGE Publications
- Governance