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Free Content Going commercial: Navigating student radio in a deregulated media marketplace

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This article describes an unusual form of student instructional radio, which is organized to run as a fully commercial broadcaster. Drawing on the case of a New Zealand student station, Mode 96.1FM, we look at how it functions in a highly competitive commercial environment. The student-run station reformats itself every year and attempts to emulate the styles and success of much larger national and local commercial music stations. We investigate two aspects. First, the tensions this creates between commercial, industry and educational objectives. Second, how students become located within the commodified speech practices intrinsic to marketing and branding. We also discuss how the station attempts to reconcile these in terms of seeking out diverse listening publics.

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Keywords: Internet broadcasting; commercial radio; immersion learning; marketing; radio industry; student radio

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology 2: Otago University

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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