Keynotes and Events


Up in the air: Where is radio studies now?

Keynote: Prof. Kate Lacey, University of Sussex

Ten years ago, a paper I gave to the Radio Conference in Lincoln was published in The Radio Journal as ‘Ten Years of Radio Studies: The Very Idea.’ A decade on, and the brief for this keynote came in the form of an invitation to reflect on another ten years of radio studies. The very idea indeed! 

Ten years ago it was already possible to celebrate the achievements of a revitalised field that was generating new and exciting research into a once neglected media form.  If anything, as the programme for this conference testifies, the field is now still more diverse and dynamic. But my position then, as now, was a certain ambivalence towards the idea of radio studies as a distinct intellectual enterprise. I called for radio to be radically decentred if it was ever to be understood in all its complexity and diversity, and if the study of radio were ever to come in from the margins. In this keynote I hope to revisit those arguments in the light of recent scholarship and the continuing adaptations of the media environment.

Kate Lacey is a Professor of Media History and Theory in the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. She has published widely on broadcasting history, the question of how emergent media forms are bound up in the formation of publics, and listening as political action. She is the author of Feminine Frequencies: Gender, German Radio and the Public Sphere 1923 to 1945 (University of Michigan Press, 1996) and Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age (Polity, 2013). She was a founding member of the Radio Studies Network and The Radio Journal, and co-organised the first Transnational Radio Conference at Sussex in 2001.

Levelling the playing field:
Informing citizens through radio

Keynote: Dr Graham Dixon, European Broadcasting Union

With public opinion becoming increasingly polarized, public media has an important challenge, ensuring societal cohesion and providing citizens with an informational ‘level playing field’. Radio is well suited for this important talk; both its history and its technologies have contributed to creating a uniquely flexible medium with strong community roots, well positioned to engender trust.

Graham Dixon is Head of Radio at the European Broadcasting Union in Geneva, having been Managing Editor of BBC Radio 3 until September 2015.  Previously, he held several editorial and production positions within BBC Radio.  While at the BBC, he chaired the EBU Music Group and Euroradio Users Group.  His current role includes advocacy for public media, specifically for the positive role of radio within society; he is committed to encouraging radio innovation, as well as promoting distinctive content for all audiences.  


Having spent time researching Italian Baroque music in both Italy and Germany, he was awarded a PhD from the University of Durham.  While working at the BBC, Graham responded to the changing media environment by studying for an MBA; this was awarded with distinction for his work on digital transformation, preparing radio production for the challenge of multiplatform delivery.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Asiatic Society.


The legacy of Free Radio in Italy

A panel discussion

The free radio movement of the 1970s is a common starting point for radio researchers thinking of Italy. The fight for media access against establishment and power has elicited romantic notions of communicative freedom with radio at the centre. The struggle to overcome media domination subsequently inspired similar movements throughout nearby Europe and as far off as Japan. However, as with any social movement, the excitement and explosion of new possibilities can quickly give way to compromise and concession. To open the conference, this panel will consider the legacy of free radio some 40 years later. It will bring together broadcasters, scholars and historians of Italian radio to discuss the lasting impact of this popular protest movement. The panellists are Marcello Lorrai a senior-broadcaster and manager at Radio Popolare, a successful and enduring free radio station in Milan; Giorgio Zanchini, the host of ‘Radio Anch’io’, a popular national talk-show that brings public figures together with everyday listeners; and Tiziano Bonini, a radio and media-studies scholar from the University of Siena (Tiziano will also chair the panel).

Tiziano Bonini

University of Siena

Giorgio Zanchini

Radio Anch’io’

Marcello Lorrai

Radio Popolare


Radio Atlas Screening & Drinks

Premiere screening of Der Brune Pakken  (Kari Hesthamar (NRK)

Eleanor McDowall runs Radio Atlas, an English-language home for subtitled audio from around the world. Radio Atlas has been featured at film and audio festivals around the world and received a Special Commendation at the Prix Europa in 2016. 


Eleanor is also a Director of Falling Tree Productions. She is the series producer of BBC Radio 4's Short Cuts, which won the Gold Award for Best Radio Podcast at the British Podcast Awards in 2017.

Please join us at the historical Buonamici Garden for the premiere screening of Den Brune Pakken (The Brown Parcel), a radio documentary produced by Kari Hesthamar for Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK.


The screening will be introduced by Radio Atlas director Eleanor McDowall.


Drinks and finger food will be provided.

Conference Opening Drinks

Drinks & Hors d'oeuvres in the garden

Please join us in the beautiful garden of the Monash Prato Centre for drinks and a selection of Hors d'oeuvres as we celebrate the opening of The Radio Conference 2018.


Conference Dinner

Convitto Nazionale Cicognini

The dinner will be held in the grounds and refectory of the Convitto Nazionale Cicognini (Cicognini National Boarding School). This is the oldest school in Prato (c.1692) with frescoes in the refectory completed by Giacinto Fabbroni in 1754. Carlo Stanghellini has produced a wonderful video displaying the beauty of the school here.


Dinner will include:

- Welcome drinks and canapes in the grounds

- A seated two course dinner and wine in the main refectory

- Coffee, dessert and desert wine in the grounds

We encourage you to attend the conference dinner. Guests are also welcome at the same price as registrants ($90AUD).

You can register as part of the conference registration process here or register separately (including for guests) here.