Tim Wall

Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies

Birmingham School of Media
+44 (0)121 331 7265

Tim Wall is the Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. He has published extensively on radio and popular music culture in international journals and books, and he applies his insights in his teaching, and with doctoral research students.

Tim is Editor of The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, and until recently was chair of the Radio Studies Network, the lead organisation for international radio scholars. He has led five major collaborative research projects, was formerly an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow, and has worked with the BBC as well as a range of smaller radio and music businesses.

His two textbooks have become widely used in the subject. He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He is currently leading a research project on social media citizen journalism in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and with Syrian activists, developing work on jazz in Britain, and initiating knowledge exchange projects with arts and creative industry companies.

Areas of Expertise
  • Radio
  • Music Industries
  • Jazz Studies

Tim Wall researches into the production and consumption cultures around popular music and radio. He is particularly interested in the way that technology can be utilised for creative solutions to challenges in music and radio enterprises, and how the activities of these industries create important regional cultures. His work is often collaborative, with other members of the centre or in cross-university projects.

Many of his studies are historical - including Duke Ellington's late 1920s radio broadcasts, the birth of the transistor radio (with Dr Nick Webber), social dancing in the 1950s and 70s and the development of music radio - but he uses these insights as a means to understand contemporary technological and cultural change. So, his work also features studies of internet radio, and work with Andrew Dubber on online music sharing and the use of the internet for new forms of music practice.

He believes passionately that research has to be useful outside the university and he has been involved in many knowledge exchange projects with companies, public bodies and community organisations. He undertakes ethnographic studies of community interactions on and off-line, interpreted through discourse analysis, combined with political economic and historical analysis of media organisations and fan practice. Recent studies of the mediation of popular music studies have been prominent in his work with Dr Paul Long, and in recent years he has been developing an important theme with Dr Simon Barber around jazz practice.

Tim has published nearly 30 articles, chapters and books, and contributed to a similar number of international conferences. He has been co-chair of three Radio Conferences in the US, UK and Canada, and this year was invited keynote speaker at the International Radio Conference, University of Basque Country, in Bilbao, Spain. He has been able to apply his work with companies, public bodies and community organisations as diverse as the BBC, record companies and music festivals, and his achievements have been recognized by Research Councils UK, who have featured his work with Dubber, Long and Coley in their reports on research and knowledge transfer excellence.

Postgraduate Supervision

Tim Wall supervises doctoral students primarily in the area of popular music culture and radio studies. He is a leading international expert in these areas. You will be able to see from his biography, research outline and publication record that his own work covers a wide range from historical studies of twentieth century music culture, new forms of music and radio media and the distinctive forms of music radio in different countries.

He currently supervises students working on music history radio documentaries, online music heritage, reggae history, anarcho-punk and community radio. In recent projects he has worked with the BBC, arts organisations and community media activists. He works closely in supervisory teams with his colleagues Simon Barber, Andrew Dubber, Nick Gebhardt and Paul Long on a wider range of topics including jazz studies, music industries innovation, and community and activist media.

We are particularly keen to attract students who wish to work on projects related to European jazz, the British engagement with African American music and culture, mediated histories of popular music and the role of digital technologies in music and radio.

As part of the Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership BCU offers doctoral studentships in all these areas.


Wall, T. and Barber, S. (2015) Collective cultures and live jazz in Birmingham. In: The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music. Taylor and Francis Inc., pp. 117-131. ISBN 9781317672715 (ISBN); 9781138780620 (ISBN)

'Popular music and television', [with Paul Long] in Andy Bennett and Steve Waksman (ed) Sage Handbook of Popular Music, (forthcoming 2014).

'Discursive repertoires of blackness and transatlantic exchange: three moments in the making of British Jazz', Jazz Research Journal, (forthcoming 2014).

'Personal Listening Pleasures', [with Nick Webber] in Martin Conboy and John Steel (ed) The Routledge Companion to British Media History Routledge, (2013).

'Anarcho-Punk webzines: transferring symbols of defiance from the print to the digital age?', [with Matt Grimes] in Matthew Worley (ed) Punk, politics and resistance: Fight Back! Manchester University Press, (2013).

'I've Got Friday on My Mind: BBC Four, Public Service Television and Popular Music Heritage', [with Paul Long] in Journal of Popular Music Studies special issue Sonic Visions: Popular Music On and After Television (2013).

'I was there (and you weren't): memorializing, mapping and mythologizing the live music experience', [with Paul Long] in Karen Burl and Stephanie Pitts (eds) Coughing and Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience Ashgate/SEMPRE, (2013).

'Music, radio and the internet', in Christina Baade et al Over the Waves: Music in Broadcasting, (2013).

'Jazz on BBC Radio 1922 to 1959', in Louis Niebur et al Music Broadcasting and the BBC Oxford University Press, (2013).

'The X Factor', in Peter Bennett and Julian McDougall (eds) Mythologies Today: Barthes Reimagined, Routledge, (2013).

'Mobilising specialist music fans online', in Helen Thornham and Simon Popple (ed) Content Cultures: Transformations of User Generated Content in Public Service Broadcasting IBTaurus, (2013).

'Jazz on BBC radio 1930 to 1980', in Louis Niebu et al Music Broadcasting and the BBC Oxford University Press, (2013).

'The transistor radio', [with Nick Webber] in Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music and Sound Studies, (2013).

'Tony Palmer's All You Need Is Love: Television's first pop history', [with Paul Long] in Benjamin Halligan, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, and Robert Edgar (eds) The Music Documentary, Taylor and Francis/Routledge, 2013.

Studying popular music culture,(second edition) Sage, 2013.

'Musica popular y radio en siglo XXI', in J. Ignacio Gallego y Ma Trinidad Garcia Leiva Sintonizando el future: Radio y producción sonora en el siglioXXI Madrid: Instituto rtve, 2012.

Media studies: texts, production and context (second edition), [ed with Paul Long] Pearson, 2012.

'Duke Ellington, radio remotes, and the mediation of big city nightlife, 1927 to 1933', Jazz Perspectives, 2012.

'The collective organization of contemporary jazz musicians in the UK', [with Simon Barber], Jazz Research Journal 5/1 and 2, 89-112, Equinox, 2012. ISSN 1753-8637 (print)/1753-8645 (online).

'Bienvenido a la nueva era de la radio: la comprensión de la actualidad de radio del pasado de la radio', (Welcome to the third age of radio: understanding radio's present from radio's past) Proceedings of I Congreso Internacional de Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad, 24 y 25 de Noviembre 2012.

'Constructing the histories of popular music: the Britannia series', [with Paul Long] in Ian Inglis (ed) Popular Music on British Television Ashgate, 2010.

'Jazz Britannia: mediating the story of British jazz on television', [with Paul Long] Jazz Research Journal 3/2, 145-170, 2010.

'Experimenting with fandom, live music, and the internet: applying insights from music fan culture to new media production', [with Andrew Dubber] Journal of New Music Research, 39/2, 159-169, 2010.

Media studies: texts, production and context, [ed with Paul Long] Pearson, 2009.

'Specialist music, public service and the BBC in the internet age', [with Andrew Dubber] the Radio Journal 7/1, 27-47, 2009.

'Rocking Around the Clock: dance crazes of the 1950s and 1960s', in Julie Malnig (ed) Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader, 2008.

'Finding an alternative: music programming in US college radio', in the Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 5/1, 35-54, 2007.

'David Murray: The making of a progressive jazz musician', Jazz Research Journal 1/2, 173-203, 2007.

Making money out of music: the development of regional music economies, Digital Central, 2007.

New broadcast technologies, [editor] UNESCO, 2006.

'Calling the tune: resolving the tension between profit and regulation in commercial radio', Southern Review 39/2, 77-95, 2006.

'Out on the floor: the politics of dancing on the Northern Soul scene', Popular Music 25/3, 431-445, 2006.

Online music enterprise: new technologies of music distribution and consumption, Learning Skills Council, 2006.

'The Specialist Radio Degree at UCE', [with Peter Windows] The Radio Journal, 2/2, 101-122, 2005.

'The political economy of internet music radio', The Radio Journal 2/1, 27-44, 2004.

Studying popular music culture, Arnold, 2003.

'Commercial radio and the construction of audiences', Electronic Working Papers in Radio, 2002.

'Policy, pop, and the public: The discourse of regulation in British commercial radio', Journal of Radio Studies, 7/1, May 2000.


'Rethinking 'European jazz' through the work of Steven Feld', Rhythm Changes II Conference, Salford University, April 2013.

'Jazz collectives and the political economy of local music scenes', Severn Pop Network inaugural Conference: The small economies of the 'new' music industry, University of Bristol, March 2013.

'Jazz Britannia', Rotterdam Film Festival, January 2013.

'Stomping Ground: How Northern Soul Built a Dance Community', keynote address, Northern Soul: Community, Memory and Place, Manchester Metropolitan University, June 2012.

'Rock 'n' Roll: cars, convergence and culture', [with Nick Webber] Popular Music and Automobile Culture, University of Chester, June 2012.

'Live Jazz in Birmingham', [with Simon Barber] Interesting Times for Local Live Music Live Music Exchange, Leeds College of Music, May 2012.

'How could (and should we) we study music consumption?', [with Nick Webber] Music, Methods and the Social Open University/Curve Theatre, Leicester, May 2012.

'Welcome to the third age of radio: understanding radio's present from radio's past', EL I Congreso Internacional "The Radio is Dead. Long live the Radio! University of Basque Country, in Bilbao, Spain November 2011.

'Locating British Jazz Under Milk Wood', Rhythm Changes: Jazz and National Identities Conference, Amsterdam, September 2011.

'Contemporary live jazz scenes in the UK regions', The Business of Live Music Conference, Edinburgh, June 2011.

'Using social media in music promotion' Jazz World Meeting, Amsterdam, December 2010, November 2010.

'Northern Soul: there's nothing northern about it (and while we're at it, it isn't soul and the dancers aren't break dancers)', Rare Records and Raucous Nights Conference.

'Discursive repertoires of blackness and transatlantic exchange:  three moments in the making of British Jazz', Jazz and Race, Past and Present Conference, Open University, Milton Keynes, November 2010.

'Public Service broadcasting, archives, and cultural television' On, Archives! Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, July 2010.

'Radio remotes and the nightlife of the big city', Broadcasting in the 1930s; radio, television and the Depression, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, July 2010.

'Creating British jazz archives: experimenting with online media', [with Simon Barber] MeCCSA Conference, London School of Economics, January 2010.

'Jazz and new media', Mediating Jazz Conference, Salford University, November 2009.

'Ken Burns' 'Jazz': popular intellectuals and the vox populi', Leeds International Jazz Conference, March 2009.

'Mediating popular music heritage: British television's narratives of popular music's past', [with Paul Long] IASPM 2009.

'Specialist music, public service broadcasting and the challenge of new social media', The Radio Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada, July 2009.

'Jazz Britannia: mediating the story of British jazz's past on television', [with Paul Long] Salford New Jazz Histories Seminar, November 2008.

'BBC jazz radio listeners online', Leeds International Jazz Conference, March 2008.

'BBC specialist music radio listeners online', MeCCSA, January 2008.

'Music programming on college radio in the USA', The Radio Conference, July 2007.

'Studying popular music culture', inaugural professorial lecture, University of Central England, April 2007.
David Murray: inside and outside jazz' Leeds International Jazz Conference March 2007.

'College radio in the USA', MeCCSA Conference, January 2007.

'Consuming online music', MeCCSA Conference, Leeds, 13-15 January 2006.

'Jazz on UK radio: a historiography', Leeds International Jazz Conference, Leeds, March 2006.

'Ofcom's radio consultation and the future of over-the-air radio in the UK', Radio Studies Conference, University of Central England, Birmingham, March 2005.

'National regulation in an age of global radio', Public and Alternative Broadcasting Conference, Seville, February 2005.

'The internet and changes in the structure of the international radio industry', Radio Studies Network Conference, January 2004, University of Luton.

'The political economy of internet radio', The Radio Conference, Madison-Wisconsin, July 2003.

'Rethinking audience research through the Radio Research Project', MeCCSA Conference, Sheffield University, January 2000.

Media Work

Tim Wall is one of the University’s dedicated team of trained media champions, and can comment on a range of subjects including:

  • Popular music
  • Radio

To arrange a media interview, please contact Birmingham City University Press Office on 0121 331 6738, 07967 271532,
email press@bcu.ac.uk or via Twitter @BCUPressOffice

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