1st Edition

Music Documentaries for Radio

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 17, 2021
ISBN 9780367226220
November 17, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
198 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Drawing on both academic research and ‘real world’ practice, this book offers an in-depth investigation into the production of music documentaries broadcast on radio.


Music Documentaries for Radio provides a thorough overview of how the genre has developed technically and editorially alongside a discussion of the practical production processes involved. Digital production equipment and online tools used in music documentary production are discussed in detail, outlining how the development of these technologies shapes the output of producers operating in both the public service and the commercial sectors of the industry. Drawing on his own experiences as an award-winning music documentary producer, the author also looks at how the industry views this form of radio documentary and considers how innovation and technical advances, as well as governmental regulation, have shaped the field. The book demonstrates how changing practices and technical innovations have led to the emergence of multi-skilled, freelance radio producers and how previously separate production roles have merged into one convergent, multi-faceted position.


Music Documentaries for Radio is an ideal resource for students and academics in the fields of radio studies, media production, documentary-making and journalism studies.

Table of Contents



Defining the music documentary

The music documentary in academic studies

The radio producer

Authenticity in radio production practice



Chapter One: Historicising the music documentary Defining the radio documentary and the music documentary

Online opportunities

The changing role of the radio producer



Chapter Two: Public service and commercial radio

Academic investigations in the field of radio studies

The political economy of radio The viability of music documentaries



Chapter Three: Music

The use of music within music documentaries

Track selection in music documentaries

‘Beat matching’ in music documentaries

The music ‘bed’ in music documentaries



Chapter Four: Production practices

Comparisons between audio and visual forms of documentary production

Radio production practices



Chapter Five: Interviewing

Securing interview talent for music documentaries

Interviewing for music documentaries

Recording on location interviews

Recording online and remote interviews



Chapter Six: Presentation

The voice

Structuring and presentation

The role of the presenter in documentary commissioning

Scripting for radio documentary presentation



Chapter Seven: Editing

Editing music documentaries for radio

Structuring music documentary content

Representations of truth



Chapter Eight: Commissioning

Commissioning music documentaries to build radio audiences

Audience considerations in commissioning radio documentaries

Programming considerations in music documentaries

Educational and compliance considerations in the commissioning process

Alternative funding streams for music documentaries

The value of radio awards



Chapter Nine: New technologies

Online audio platforms and distribution

Online engagement with contributors and audiences

The re-appropriation of online content

The visualisation of radio content



Chapter Ten: Freelance practices

Freelance radio production in the cultural industries

Workflow in freelance music documentary production

Commissioning opportunities for freelancers



Chapter Eleven: Final thoughts



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Sam Coley teaches audio production at Birmingham City University and continues to work as a freelance music documentary producer. He has written about popular music, fandom and new participatory cultures in radio documentary production. Dr Coley is a Trustee of the Charles Parker Archive Trust and serves as a Grand Jury member for the New York Festivals Radio Awards.