Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies
- +44 (0)121 331 7265
Tim Wall is Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. His work focuses on popular music cultures and their mediation and history, notably those around jazz, soul and reggae. He has published extensively in international journals and books, and he applies his insights in his work with doctoral research students. He currently leads the Global Reggae Research Project.
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. He has also led research project on social media citizen journalism in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and with Syrian activists. Tim was formerly an AHRC Strategic Reviewer, was Editor of The Radio Journal, and chair of the Radio Studies Network.
His two textbooks have become widely used in popular music and media studies. His jointly-edited book on the northern soul scene has been very well received. He is currently jointly-editing a book on jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, writing the history of jazz on BBC radio, supporting popular music archives and developing work with the University of West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.
Areas of Expertise
- Popular music of black origin: jazz, soul and reggae
- Radio and the mediation of popular music
- Music Industries and production cultures
Tim Wall researches into the production and consumption cultures around popular music, radio and other media. He has a particular focus on the white British response to popular music of black origin, including jazz, soul and reggae; how popular music is mediated, especially by radio; and how the tangible and intangible culture of popular music is archived. His work is often collaborative, with other members of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, or in cross-university projects.
His earlier work dealt with 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.
Tim has published over 50 articles, chapters and books, with a further six forthcoming, and contributed to a similar number of international conferences. Tim has a body of 25 published studies of work on music radio and music culture, including: music radio programming; BBC radio specialist music; popular music television histories; the history of jazz, soul and reggae on radio in the US and UK, including Duke Ellington on US radio and on the BBC in 1933, and a forthcoming monograph on Jazz and BBC Radio 1922 to 1972 (Equinox, 2022). He has produced a similar scale of work on music consumption cultures, including those highlighting radio, the northern soul scene – including an edited book (2019) – and UK local jazz scenes (2012, 2015). I this research in my collaborative work with the University of the West Indies to develop a global reggae archive.
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.
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. His biography and publication record shows his wide range interests in historical studies of twentieth century music culture – especially in jazz, soul and reggae – new forms of music and radio media and the music industry in which they are embedded.
He has supported eighteen students to completion of the PhD. He currently supervises students working on print history, BBC music policy, jazz radio documentaries, UK and Jamaican reggae production cultures, and community music and media.
Current doctoral students include:
- Rebecca Howson
- Chris Marshall
- Alan Musson
- Ben Torrens
- Juan Pablo Viteri
Tim works closely in supervisory teams with his colleagues on a wider range of topics including popular music studies, music mediation, and archives. 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.
BCU offers doctoral studentships in all these areas as part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.
Jazz and BBC Radio 1922 to 1972 (forthcoming, Equinox 2023).
Rethinking Miles Davis [with Roger Fagg and Nic Pillai eds] (forthcoming, OUP 2022).
‘Miles on a Second Major: Locating Late Miles and Warner Bros Records’ in Roger Fagg, Nic Pillai and Tim Wall Rethinking Miles Davis (forthcoming, OUP 2022).
‘Re-imagining the music photographic portrait: Capturing the place of recorded music in our cultural identity’. A collaboration between William Ellis and Tim Wall (forthcoming, 2022).
‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Stories of gender, generation and political economy on the northern soul scene’ [with Sarah Raine] in Martin James and Chris Anderton Media Narratives in Popular Music (2020.
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll: Cars, Convergence and Culture’ [with Nick Webber] in Mark Duffett and Beate Peter [eds] Music & Automobiles Bloomsbury, 2019.
‘Co-operative Inquiry between research student and their supervisor’ [with Sarah Raine] in Geof Hill [ed] 10 ways to Investigate Research Supervision Practice SEDA, 2019.
‘“Out on the Floor”: The Politics of Dancing on the Northern Soul Scene’ in Sarah Raine, Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman-Smith [eds] The Northern Soul Scene Equinox, 2019.
‘Myths on/of the Northern Soul Scene’ [with Sarah Raine] Scene’ in Sarah Raine, Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman-Smith [eds] The Northern Soul Scene Equinox, 2019.
‘Interviews with Tony Palmer, Elaine Constantine, and Liam Quinn’ in Sarah Raine, Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman-Smith [eds] The Northern Soul Scene Equinox, 2019.
‘Introduction’ [with Sarah Raine and Nicola Watchman-Smith] in Sarah Raine, Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman-Smith [eds] The Northern Soul Scene Equinox, 2019.
‘Critical Reflection’ in Sarah Raine, Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman-Smith [eds] The Northern Soul Scene Equinox, 2019.
The Northern Soul Scene [with Sarah Raine and Nicola Watchman-Smith eds] Equinox, 2019.
‘Jazz on radio’ in Nick Gebhardt, Nichole Rustin-Paschal Tony Whyton Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies Routledge, 2018.
'Radio Sound' in Michael Bull (ed) Routledge Companion to Sound Studies. Routledge, 2018.
‘Screening popular music's past – music documentary and biopics’. in Lauren Istvandity, Sarah Baker and Catherine Strong (eds) Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage Routledge,2018.
‘La Radio Musical Entra a Internet’ in post(s). Volumen 3. Agosto 2017. AKADEMOS
‘Participation and role in the northern soul scene’ [with Sarah Raine] in Paula Guerra and Tânia Moreira (eds.) Keep it Simple, Make it Fast!: an approach to underground music scenes (vol. 3) Porto, 2017.
‘Duke Ellington, the meaning of jazz and the BBC in the 1930s’ in Roger Fagge and Nicolas Pillai (eds) New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice Routledge, 2016.
‘Music Radio Goes Online’ in Christina Baade et al Music and the broadcast experience: performance, production, and audienceOUP, 2016.
'Collective cultures and live jazz in Birmingham'. [with Simon Barber] In: The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music. Taylor and Francis Inc., pp. 117-131. (2015)
'Sight and sound in concert? the interrelationship between music and television'. [with Paul Long] In: The SAGE Handbook of Popular Music. SAGE Publications Inc., pp. 456-474. (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).
'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).
'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 Review39/2, 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.
Opening keynote Documenting Jazz Birmingham City University January 2020.
‘British Radio Broadcasting and the idea of European Jazz 1962 to 1972’ Jazz and Cultural Identity – In and Out of Europe, University of Central Lancashire June, 2019.
‘“Since Tommy Atkins Taught the Chinese How To Charleston’: what is jazz in Jack Payne’s BBC Dance Orchestra 1928-32’ Sixth Rhythm Changes Conference: Jazz Journeys, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria April .2019
‘Reggae on British Commercial Radio’ 6th Global Reggae Conference: Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture II University of West Indies, Jamaica February 2019.
‘Exploring the documents of the documenting of jazz: understanding the BBC’s role in making British jazz in the jazz age’ Documenting Jazz Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin January 2019.
‘Duke Ellington, Radio Remotes, and the Mediation of Big City Nightlife, 1927 to 1933’ In the Beginning, Duke: The Three-Day Ellington Summit Birmingham City University May 2018.
‘Co-Production as Research into UK Reggae Culture’. Reggae Futures University Of London, November 2017.
‘Jazz on the BBC in the interwar years’ The Impact of Jazz: Britain in the 20s and 30s London Jazz Festival, November 2017.
‘Negotiating Between Trads and Moderns: BBC jazz radio broadcasting 1947 to 1967’. Rhythm Changes: Re/Sounding Jazz Amsterdam, September 2017.
‘Jazz on BBC Radio 1923 to 1973’. Continental Drift: A Century of Jazz on Record. Edinburgh Napier University / Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival July 2017.
‘Reggae on British Commercial Radio 1973 to 1996’ Reggae Research Network Expanding the Field Symposium Liverpool, May 2017.
‘Miles On A Second Major – Locating Late Miles And Warner Brothers Records’ Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect University of Surrey, Guildford October 2016.
‘Creation myths of / on the northern soul scene’ [with Sarah Raine] Keep It Simple, Make It Fast! (KISMIF) DIY Cultures, Spaces and Places Porto, Portugal July 2016.
‘Imaging a British Jazz 1945 to 1975: Jazz on the BBC and the pursuit of cultural nirvana’ Rhythm Changes: Jazz Utopia Birmingham City University, Birmingham April 2016.
‘Radio One on the Road: creating that festival spirit for live radio broadcasts’ keynote address, Festival Cultures: Media, Place, Music University of East Anglia, Norwich, May 2015.
‘Popular Music and the BBC: three moments in the history of the BBC’s relationship with popular music’ Salford Music Seminar Salford University June 2015.
‘On Screen Off Record: Media Discourses of War, Political Filmmaking and Ethical Practice’ [with Dima Saber] Artistic practice as an alternative to news media CARISM – IFP – University of Panthéon-Assas, Paris II, Paris June 2015.
‘The line between jazz and not-jazz: music broadcasting and the BBC 1923 to 1953’ The Jazz Beyond Borders Conference, Conservatory of Amsterdam, September 2014.
‘The X Factor vs the Cobweb Collective’ keynote address, PopLife: The Value of Popular Music in the Twenty First Century, The University of Northampton, June 2014.
‘City culture and cultural identity and its role in economic success’ Birmingham Made Me Birmingham City University, Birmingham June 2013.
'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 SocialOpen 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.
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