Reginold Royston on Podcasts and new orality in the African mediascape

23 Aug, 2021

Reginold Royston on Podcasts and new orality in the African mediascape

BCNM alum Dr. Reginold Royston's article on podcasting in African cultures was published in New Media and Society. Dr Royston obtained his Master's and PhD in African American Studies from UC Berkeley. He obtained his PhD with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. Dr. Royston's article highlights the role podcasting has taken in forming what he terms "new orality", which describes the way podcasts extend oral performance through their aural and sonic configurations. Podcasts and other electronic broadcast media are in the lineage of more traditional forms of African narrative storytelling.

From the article:

While podcasts as a storytelling media have exploded in popularity in the West since 2014, the uptake and consumption of this sonic new media was relatively slow in Africa until recently. This article explores amateur and start-up entrepreneurship podcasts that came to dominate the African mediascape during the medium’s coming of age moment between 2014 and 2018. I extend Walter Ong’s observation that broadcast and electronic media recreate the experience of oral performance, to show how the oral and aural dimensions of podcasting represent a set of approaches that can be described as new orality. This article also draws connections and distinctions between what I term the “dialogic schema” of African tech podcasts and “traditional” forms of narrative storytelling in African public cultures, as well as the emerging forms of mobile digital practices that, like podcasting, challenge easy distinctions between written and oral and literacy.

Read the full article here!