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Organisational structure in participatory media. MA in communications and cultural studies, 2001 Andrew Ó Baoill. Basic principles. AMARC Charter:

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organisational structure in participatory media

Organisational structure in participatory media

MA in communications and cultural studies, 2001

Andrew Ó Baoill

basic principles
Basic principles
  • AMARC Charter:
    • Community Radio Stations “Operate management … practices which oppose discrimination and which are open and accountable to all supporters, staff and volunteers”
  • How are we to measure the extent to which a station meets this commitment, specifically with regard to volunteers?
habermas lifeworld systems perspective
Habermas’ lifeworld- systems perspective



Economic System

Administrative System


the paradox of rationality
The paradox of rationality
  • Through Enlightenment, we move from norms to rational norms
  • Increased rationality can lead to colonisation by systems
  • We then move from rational norms to rules
the project
The project
  • Describe and critique the L-S perspective
  • Develop a practical model appropriate to community radio
  • Compare with the actual situation in Flirt FM
    • Does the model apply?
    • How does Flirt FM meet the ideal?
the case study
The case study
  • Flirt FM:
    • Galway’s Student Radio Station
    • “Radio by Students for Students”
    • Broadcasts for 35 hours per week
    • Started in September 1995
    • 1 Paid Employee (Station Manager)
    • Approximately 60-65 active volunteers
    • Station Manager reports to Board of Directors
flirt fm s structure
Flirt FM’s structure

Volunteers / programme teams

Station Manager

Board of directors

College campus radio ltd.

Board of management

the case study8
Field Work


Distributed by Keith

50 returned, of 62 names

Questionnaire Analysis



Structural Analysis

Existence of spaces

Volunteer Morale

Fair access for all

Rationality of Knowledge

Solidarity of members

System restrictions

The case study
results existence of spaces
Results - existence of spaces
  • The Board of Management is not currently active
  • There is no forum for communication or consultation with volunteers
  • Volunteers feel they receive little information on issues such as station accommodation and schedule changes
results volunteer morale
Results - volunteer morale
  • Volunteers are happy to be involved
    • 70% plan to be involved next year
    • 92% answered 6 or 7 to “I enjoy being involved”
    • 74% of students agree that they feel part of the station. 8% disagree.
  • Many volunteers value the informality of the station
  • Some say the lack of input into decisions damages their morale
results fair access for all
Results - fair access for all
  • Very few GMIT students are involved
    • Distance - especially in wet weather?
    • Different social interests?
  • 38% of volunteers are female, although 60% of NUI, Galway students are female
    • Socialisation of gender roles?
  • 70% of volunteers say their home residence is in Galway city or county
results rationality of knowledge
Results - rationality of knowledge
  • Volunteers have a confused knowledge of the station structure
  • Station difficulties are blamed on a vague ‘them’
  • ‘The Watershed’
  • There is little training, other than introductory training in studio use and media law
results solidarity of members
Results - solidarity of members
  • There are few opportunities for volunteers to meet each other and/or interact
  • Newer volunteers are less likely to feel part of the station
    • Only 75% of those who joined in the last 2 years, as opposed to all of those who joined in 1997 or earlier
    • One volunteer wrote that they had never been asked to train new volunteers
results system restrictions
Results - system restrictions
  • Many people mentioned IRTC/licence rules as preventing changes in the station
  • The current scheduling method, with individual slots for each volunteer, was seen by many as being the only possible means of arranging the schedule
  • ‘The Watershed’
  • Further involvement = committee membership