The aim of this dissertation is to study the technological and cultural reach of internationally syndicated radio from the vantage point of the radio programme Solid Steel between 2000 and 2006. Solid Steel is a weekly two-hour music show originally produced and aired in London but today also broadcast by a large number of stations around the world, as well as via the Internet. The theoretical interest of the study lies in the tension and separation between communication as transmission and communication as ritual, as distribution in space and maintenance in time. This separation produces a number of subsequent conceptual pairs; technology and culture, material and symbolic, space and time, etc. Based upon these pairs the study explores the spatial and temporal organization of Solid Steel.
As a first step in the analysis the original context of production in London is studied, noticing a shift from being a local production to an international syndication, as well as from a live studio production to a pre-produced show. The stations syndicating Solid Steel are then mapped according to their geographical location as well as their organizational form. Next, the themes and values enunciated in relation to the programme are examined, both as expressed by the producers in interviews and by texts published on the programme’s website. The programme is then analysed with these values in mind, with particular focus on the temporal organization of the music played, employing the concepts of flow and changing same. This part of the analysis is carried out on two levels, first the programme structure and then the actual sequences of sounds and songs making up the music mix. The final chapter returns to the opening concerns over culture and transmission, suggesting that new forms of radio, here exemplified by Solid Steel, may help us further our understanding of time and space in relation to international media productions.