A new, global, youth subculture obsessed with internet radio has emerged within Generation Y. The "Net Radio Generation" identified by Monash academic Ms Andrea Baker tends to be white, male, middle-to-upper-class, aged 18-24, urban-based, tertiary educated and in search of alternative music not found on conventional radio.
Net radio is radio programming transmitted over the Internet instead of the airwaves.
Ms Baker has compared the consumption of net radio by more than 100 tertiary students enrolled in media, communications and journalism programs at Monash University, the City University of New York and New York University .
She has found that a Net Radio subculture has clearly emerged and is thriving among North American tertiary students and is also developing in Australian tertiary students.
"North American and Australian tertiary students are disillusioned with public and commercial, conventional, terrestrial radio; and are fighting for, and building, new alternative media outlets such as net radio stations," Ms Baker says.
"The students argue terrestrial radio fails to provide access to the 30 new, alternative music genres on offer on web radio."
Such genres include Ambient Pop, Cowpunk, Boot scooting music; Doom Metal, Folktronica, Clipped computer noises; Hair Metal, Japanese noise; Queercore, Rap Meal; Columbian music and Yodelling Zydeco.
"Youths are huge consumers of radio and net radio is definitely the way of the future," she says. "Net radio streaming in Australia really began in 1999, but its uptake has been slow in comparison to the United States . By January 2001 there were 50 free-to-air traditional radio stations streaming their programs online and about 24 internet-only radio stations in Australia ."
Monash University's student radio station, DIY radio, is internet-only and began streaming in 2001.
Ms Baker says to nurture a more net-savvy youth sector in Australia; Australian tertiary media, communications and journalism programs need to reassess their multimedia training and curricula.
Want to know more? Mention your interest in this area when you speak with a StudyLink Counsellor.