A Media of Citizens : A Case Study of Community Radio in Montréal (Québec)  and Montevideo (Uruguay)

Evan Light (evan@theotherthing.org)
Département de communication sociale et publique, Université du Québec à Montréal
December, 2007
 
Evan Light is a doctoral candidate at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has been involved in community radio since 1995 as a volunteer, policy activist, and advocate. His current research examines water and radio spectrum policy in Canada and Uruguay.
 

Abstract

Popular notions of media use in North America are historically limited to commercial forms of media and consumption, focusing on consumption rather than communication. Community-based media, however, provide alternative approaches to media use and social communication that can be incorporated into the broader management structures of democratic society.

Community radio is the subject of study through which we explore this problematic. While our airwaves are recognized internationally as the property of mankind, current systems of regulation structurally privilege their use by private and commercial enterprise over that of citizens. In order to address this problematic, we consider the role of national media systems in terms of their communicational relationships with the social body.

This thesis seeks to explore the roles, potentials and limitations of community radio. Our objective is to provide an extensive evaluation of the current state of community radio in Montréal, Québec and Montevideo, Uruguay and to propose concrete and practical steps towards the further development of this form of media.

Our work has been conducted in the form of a comparative case study. We perform qualitative analysis of extensive sets of interviews from all licensed community broadcasters in Montréal, twelve recognized community broadcasters in Montevideo and interviews with local communication experts, community radio associations and communications regulators.

During our research, we have become equally intrigued by the potential of the communications researcher to function as a catalyst and intermediary actor in communications policy reform. Thus, our case studies have been performed from a necessarily critical and practical perspective.
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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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