“What is radio?“ asks Alasdair Pinkerton at the beginning of his newly published book “Radio: Making Waves in Sound”, in which he answers this question a dozen times or more. Depending on time, place and perspective, it can mean the discovery of the natural occurring electromagnetic waves, the technological inventions that make use of these waves or a means of communication that has had tremendous effects on our lives since more than a century. It can also mean a medium of news and entertainment or the little box itself that we turn on to tune in. Alasdair Pinkerton’s “Radio” touches on all these aspects and shows beautifully that they are entangled on various levels. He tells the history of radio as stories of bold inventors, of uncanny coincidences and of political oppression and liberation.
In this Superscience Me special edition in celebration of “World Radio Day 2020”, the author shares his personal story of how he came to listen and love radio. He talks about surprising, improbable facts and anecdotes he came across during his book research and how “Radio” is connected to his academic work as a geographer and reader in geopolitics. In conversation with Julia Grillmayr, he reflects current ways of consuming, but also practicing radio and explains why writing “Radio” has made him “listening to the radio the hard way”.
Alongside the interview, you will hear some quotes from “Radio”, some radio philosophy and some love letters to the medium in form of field recordings.
Superscience Me is a monthly broadcast on the Viennese Radio Orange 94.0., created by cultural studies scholar and science communicator Julia Grillmayr. Superscientific obsessions range from ants, sewage sludge and fungi to jellyfish, feminist scifi and cyberpunk.