In recent years, numerous podcasts have emerged related to the critical study of sport and physical culture. Professors, scholars, and researchers increasingly engage with the podcast as a useful form for expanding the digital reach of their research projects, engaging with different audiences and publics, and illuminating the politics and power relations of the sports world through a more interactive, digital medium. The feminist sport podcast Burn It All Down, hosted by a group of activists, journalists, and professors, now has a total of thirty-two episodes, as they “bring an intersectional feminist view to the biggest stories in sports.” For some time, academic Shawn Klein has produced the podcast Examined Sport on his website, using the digital audio form to, among other things, “extend the reach of the philosophy of sport literature.” These are just a couple notable examples of sport scholars and researchers producing informative and insightful podcasts today.
This also does not take into account the plentiful podcasts available not only within mainstream sporting media, but podcasts specifically created to shed light on the political dimensions of contemporary sports (with Dave Zirin’s Edge of Sports podcast being a notable example). Meanwhile, within sports studies, sport sociology, and other related fields, an increasing number of professors, teachers, and researchers are embracing podcasting and digital audio forms within their pedagogical and research output strategies. The podcast is becoming a) one way of helping professors and lecturers engage with their students through multiple media and digital formats, b) an essential element of pedagogical strategies for increasing the accessibility of their learning resources for students outside the classroom, and c) a potential way of connecting with different audiences via the worldwide reach of the Internet—as of 2017, an estimated 3.8 billion people across the globe now use the Internet (Internet Usage Statistics, 2017).
The multivariate and emergent uses of digital audio and podcasting, both in contemporary global society and in the academic realm of critical sport and physical cultural research, offers a useful moment for reflection on its significance. What is the podcast’s potential role in helping researchers rethink their established modes of research expression and research outputs? How might podcasting and digital audio inspire a more affective or discursive form of conveying one’s stories, critical ideas, and research findings? At the very least, how can podcasting lead scholars and researchers to become even more aware and critical of their accepted “forms” (White, 1987) or “mediums” (McLuhan, 1994) of meaning processing and research dissemination?
In this episode of Somatic, we ask these questions about the importance of podcasting and digital audio for the critical sport and physical culture researcher. One key scholar who is asking such questions is Professor Brett Hutchins of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. As an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, Prof. Hutchins has been developing research on The Mobile Media Sport Moment: Markets, Technologies, Power. As an integral part of his research program, Prof. Hutchins developed his MediaSport Podcast Series, in which he interviews leading international researchers and scholars on the prescient sociocultural, political, and economic issues related to sport and media technology. Now with twenty-seven episodes, MediaSport has become one of the multiple successful sport studies podcasts available to listeners all over the world via online audio platforms such as iTunes and Soundcloud. In the episode, we talk at length with Prof. Hutchins about his experience with MediaSport and podcasting in general, as well as ask him for his insight on the significance of the current “digital media sport” (Hutchins & Rowe, 2013) moment and the importance of digital audio forms for researchers and scholars of sport.
Prof. Brett Hutchins has written and edited multiple volumes on digital media and sport, including Digital Media Sport: Technology, Power and Culture in the Networked Society (2013), and Sport Beyond Television: The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport (2012).
Also, below is an additional clip (a “deleted scene,” if you will) that didn’t quite fit into the show, but one we still want to share. In the clip below, Dr. Hutchins discusses his vision of the perfect podcast:
Hutchins, B. & D. Rowe (Eds.). (2013). Digital media sport: technology, power and culture in the network society. New York: Routledge.
McLuhan, Marshall. (1994). Understanding media: the extensions of man. Cambridge: MIT Press.
White, H.V. (1987). The content of the form: narrative discourse and historical representation. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Internet Usage Statistics. (2017). Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm.