110 | 30, pp. 107-125 | doxa.comunicación

January-June of 2020

From zine to podcast. Rethinking participatory culture from a comparative analysis of alternative media

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

operators, coexist together. (Pérez-Alaejos, Pedrero-Esteban and Leoz Aizpuru, 2018).Likewise, in the Spanish context in recent years much of the research oriented toward the medium has focused on the possibilities of the podcast as an educational tool as well as its effectiveness in learning subjects such as languages (Ortega, 2019), the history of music (García-Peinazo, 2019), and the dissemination of science (De Lara-González and Del Campo-Cañizares, 2018).

The academic scenario in the Anglo-Saxon panorama presents research from very different points of view. Markman (2011) developed an exploratory analysis on the profile of independent podcasters. The profile is one of men between the ages of 34 and 44 years of age with a high level of education, and with professions related to the arts, design, entertainment, media, computer science, technology and education. According to Markman’s study (2011), there are two reasons why these creative people started working in podcasting: media and technological reasons (e.g. having had previous experience in other media, especially in the field of radio); content-related reasons (filling a niche that traditional media does not cover); and personal and interpersonal reasons (joining a movement or community).

Sullivan (2018) adds another reason to the list, which is work related to aspirations, or in other words, the hope of starting as an amateur with the expectation of future economic benefit. Millette (2011) also focused her studies on independent podcasters who are able to build a medium that represents a true break compared to conventional radio. Their style is shaped by a unique level of familiarity between users and podcasters with the inclusion of a disruptive lexicon that defies radio conventions. From this perspective, independent podcasting is one of the participatory subcultures that have emerged with the rise of 2.0 practices and tools, set up around a specific use of Internet that serves as a form of expression for the Podcaster and is in conflict with traditional radio culture.

The participatory nature of the medium is capable of offering a performative feature involving the physical interaction of the listener with the space described in the podcast (Wilson, 2018).

Berry (2018) and Spinelli and Dann (2019) stress that podcasting should be perceived as a medium with its own identity, not as an extension of other diverse media practices. In a similar vein, Massarelli and Perrotta (2006), Cordeiro (2012) and Bonini (2015) have approached podcasting as a technology that challenges traditional media by allowing users to create their own content, while at the same time changing conventional radio listening habits.Indgren (2014) believes that podcasting is an ideal way to build first-person narratives, even when applied to the field of journalism. The movement toward this type of narrative would be intrinsically linked to the intimate nature of sound media, which explore this personal way of storytelling by using different genres and styles.

Studies carried out by McHugh (2016) focus on the impact of podcasting on non-fiction sound formats. His works have analysed the changing role assumed by public media, the growth of independent podcast networks, and the perceived differences between radio and podcasting as a means of distributing and receiving sound content. Along the same lines initiated by Millette years earlier, McHugh defends the idea that podcasting promotes a new, more informal genre of sound narrative focusing on strong relationships between broadcasters and listeners with content that is more spontaneous but less elaborate. For this author, one of the greatest challenges of the American podcasting sector is providing more resources without compromising its editorial independence, a problem that remains unsolved.