Edited by Ruth Towse
Glenn Withers and Katrina Alford There have been substantial ongoing technology-induced changes in broadcasting over the past decade and more. The broadcasting market has been transformed and boundaries between traditional broadcast media and the new digital media blurred. Digitalization, satellite transmission, broadband networks, online programme downloading and forums, mobile broadcasting and other developments have challenged the traditional definition of broadcasting as the television and radio component in a set of four neat and distinct media market pigeon-holes – free-to-air television, pay television, radio and print. This chapter defines broadcasting as the range of television and radio services for entertainment, educational and informational purposes, while recognizing that ‘broadcasting . . . [has become] a portmanteau bursting at the seams as more and more activities [are] stuffed into it’ (Inglis, 2006, p. 582). It reviews the changing broadcasting landscape in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and the analytic and policy responses to this. Technological change and broadcasting From the introduction of radio and television, the dominant technology for broadcasting programme delivery has been terrestrial transmission via an airwave signal sent from a broadcasting station transmitter to receivers owned by listeners and viewers. The technical quality of the transmission has depended on the frequency spectrum occupied, strength of signal transmitted, and topography and distance to the receiver. A second delivery platform emerged with the advent of the space age. Satellite technology enabled powerful transmitters (‘transponders’) in geostationary orbit above the earth to distribute signals over a very wide ‘footprint’ on the earth’s surface. A third...
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