• Radio 2.0: How Facebook is enhancing audience participation for Irish radio audiences.

      McMahon, Daithi; University of Limerick (Academic Conferences and Publishing International, 2014-07)
      As a traditional mass medium radio is proving its flexibility and resilience in an ever more digitalised mediascape by increasing its presence on one of the fastest growing digital platforms, Facebook. With the radio industry in Ireland as a case study, this project examines the use of Facebook by radio producers and their audiences as a medium for deeper interaction and explores the functions this contact serves for the audience member, for the radio producer, and for society as a whole. Based on recent findings, this doctoral research argues that radio producers are increasingly engaging with their audiences through Facebook for commercial reasons, in an effort to build audience loyalty and grow their audience share in a highly competitive industry. Radio audiences are following their favourite radio programmes on Facebook in growing numbers seeking an enhanced media experience and opportunities to exercise their agency as active audiences and participate in the on-air and online conversations. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that public spheres and virtual communities are created on radio station Facebook pages and that some users build social capital between one another through extended interaction. The convergence of radio with Facebook is thus allowing an old medium to remain competitive at a time when digital media is threatening the traditional mass media.The methodology involves both qualitative and quantitative research methods including interviews with radio producers and audience members combined with a survey of the latter, textual analysis of radio station Facebook pages and a longitudinal content analysis of Facebook interactivity across the Irish radio industry. The project is nearing completion and therefore this paper will present the main findings that demonstrate the capacity of radio as a medium to engage with and profit from the introduction of new digital technologies, particularly Facebook.