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When the dial goes Dylan: ‘premium’ radio, hybrid authenticity and Theme Time Radio Hour

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2021

Brian Fauteux
Affiliation:
University of Alberta, Music, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Corresponding
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Abstract

This article explores the construction of hybrid authenticity by Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, an XM Radio programme that aired between 2006 and 2009. Dylan's foray into radio presents compelling questions about the role of his star image in advancing a corporate strategy of premium radio that requires subscription access. Through narration and curation, a performed freeform radio format and fragments of radio history, Dylan's celebrity, voice and status as a vehicle for understanding the ‘American song tradition’ are solidified within the context of subscription satellite radio. In advance of the dominance of subscription streaming listening that companies like Spotify are now known for, Dylan's radio programme and recorded music of this period contribute to XM Radio's efforts to distinguish the satellite service from ‘traditional’ commercial format radio and to entice music listeners to become subscribers.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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