Top-down Bottom-up or Both?: Successful Structures and Processes in Youth Radio Training Projects

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Beginning in the early 1990s, radio training projects aimed at teaching young people (aged 15 – early 20s) the basics of audio production began emerging throughout the United States. By decade’s end, these ‘youth radio’ training programmes mushroomed to about 40 different places across the country due to the availability of grants from individuals, foundations and state agencies with a variety of agendas. Despite more than a decade of experience, youth radio training programmes have received some journalistic attention, but little to no scholarly analysis. This article responds to this lack of scholarship of this robust area of media practice by examining the experiences of participants at four well-established, yet structurally diverse youth radio training programmes. Making sense of these experiences can be accomplished from multiple theoretical perspectives including media literacy, feminist criticism, cultural studies, etc. For the purposes of this research, however, theoretical contributions from alternative and community media and development communication will be used. The remainder of this article will review the alternative, community, and development communication literature in terms of the conceptual framework and the research questions that guided this study. It will then identify the research settings and methods of data collection and analysis. The bulk of the article, however, will present the findings from the research before turning to a summary discussion and conclusions section.

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Radio Journal

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