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Free Content Unbuttoning NPR: Assessing the music at the margins of All Things Considered

There have been few studies to date of the cultural work performed by NPR’s information radio programmes, and those that have been conducted have overlooked the role of musical interludes in those programmes. This article combines quantitative data analysis with textual and discourse analysis to elucidate the nature of the interludes and their function within the context of All Things Considered, NPR’s flagship afternoon newsmagazine programme. It argues that the structured diversity of the interludes embodies the homologous aesthetic and ideological dispositions of NPR’s personnel and its core audience. The interludes themselves suggest a tension between highbrow and middlebrow aesthetic dispositions that are manifested in the structured diversity and hybridity of the genre selections as they are deployed in the context of the programme.

Keywords: All Things Considered; NPR; buttons; cultural omnivorism; musical interludes; public radio; taste

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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