Call for Papers: BBC Local Radio 50th Anniversary Symposium

14 March 2017
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Call for Papers: BBC Local Radio 50th Anniversary Symposium

Saturday 18 November 2017 at the University of Westminster, Regent Street, London

 This one-day symposium, presented by the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster, with support from the Radio Studies Network /MECCSA, is to mark the 50th Anniversary of the launch of BBC Local Radio.

In 1967, an important milestone in radio history was laid down. The BBC, after much deliberation and research, began to build a network of local radio stations across the nation. Notwithstanding its ambivalent relationship with the ‘nations and regions’ service, the BBC has, through its local broadcasting provision, made a profound contribution to the radio ecology of the UK. Indeed, BBC Local Radio continues to be a significant feature of the contemporary media landscape in serving local audiences in the 21st century.

We are inviting papers for presentation and panel discussion which take a critical look at local radio broadcasting, drawing on comparative perspectives and current research into local media studies, and which may – though not necessarily – touch on some of the following issues:

  • The significance of 1967 as a watershed year in radio history
  • The contribution of key individuals and pioneers to local radio and broadcasting history
  • Parochialism and/or the public sphere in action – BBC Local Radio, community and civic engagement
  • Conceptions of ‘local’, ‘locality’ and ‘localism’ and how these can or cannot be realised, addressed and mediated by local radio
  • The intersection between local and regional broadcasting, across the sectors of the BBC, commercial radio and community radio
  • The contribution of BBC Local Radio to the representation and participation of minority groups and under-served audiences/communities
  • The development of new production and broadcast practices, skills and technology, pioneered in the field of local broadcasting
  • The importance of creating archives of local radio content
  • Policies and potential – the extent to which BBC Local Radio achieves its aims
  • The impact of technological developments on local radioand its future


Submitting a proposal:

  • We welcome proposals for 15-20 minute papers or presentations relating to any period or locality
  • We seek wide participation and welcome proposals from independent researchers, archivists, postgraduate students, academics, and broadcast professionals
  • We welcome papers submitted together, but reserve the right to organise panels as we think best.
  • Please use the following format for proposals:
    • Name, contact details
    • Title of paper or presentation
    • 250-word paper summary (max 1 page A4)
    • 50-word contributor biography
    • Send proposals as a Word doc or PDF attachment by email to Dr Matthew Linfoot:
  • DeadlineFriday 5th May 5pm
  • Tickets for the Symposium will be on sale to all participants later in the year
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