Independent Podcasting as a Specific Online Participative Subculture: a case study of Montreal’s podcasters

melanie Millette

Abstract


Based on a theoretical framework grounded in a sociological analysis of usage and the
subculture paradigmatic approach of Cultural Studies, this paper analyzes the socio-cultural
dynamic of online participation through the use of a technological device in a digitally literate
community, namely independent podcasters. I argue that independent podcasting should not be
understood as either a form of ‘radio-to-go’ or a simple online delivery system. Drawing on data
collected in a three-year period of research within the Montreal (Canada) podcasting
community, I propose that independent audio podcasting is a specific form of online
participation, with its own subcultural logic and a unique ‘style’ that is completely different
from the institutional and traditional radio model. To present the specificity of the podcasting
subculture, this paper demonstrates how a podcast’s distinctive style is formed, through a
singular level of familiarity among users, the subversion of lexical radio conventions and the
influence of DJing and blogging on podcasters’ practices. This paper illustrates the stylistic
repertoire of Montreal’s independent podcasters based on an online practice on the fringe of the
mainstream media production model, specifically with regard to commercial radio.


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