Radio: the tribal drum

Tynan, Liz (2011) Radio: the tribal drum. In: Bainbridge, Jason, Goc, Nicola, and Tynan, Liz, (eds.) Media and Journalism: new approaches to theory and practice. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 91-100.

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Listen to the radio; really listen to it. What do you hear? Voices talking, voices singing, instruments playing music, maybe machinery, maybe animals: the sounds of life in various forms. Your ear is picking up soundwaves that have been created and sent by some surprisingly simple electronic equipment into your brain, into your mind. You then construct the meaning according to your own unique brain 'wiring'; according to the sounds that have significance for you. This is the medium that Marshall McLuhan (1967) called a 'tribal drum' that turns society into a 'single echo chamber' and thus, he claimed, was more buried in our psyche than any other medium. Even the advent of digital recording and editing equipment in most Australian radio newsrooms some years ago hardly changed the medium, and radio remains a simple technology that works best when people understand its essential simplicity and therefore can tap into its strength. Notice that you imagine things when you listen to sound from the radio. You might picture the lead singer of the band whose music is playing, or you might imagine a forest or a beach or a cityscape or a farmyard depending on the sound that is being sent to you. You might picture the DJ or the guest who is speaking, even if you have never seen either of these people before. You might only be half aware that you are doing this, but in some way your brain is filling in the gaps of an enticing little world that is being created for you. All you have to do is provide the imagination.

Item ID: 23162
Item Type: Book Chapter (Teaching Material)
ISBN: 978-0-19-557410-4
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 00:35
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies @ 100%
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