Peter Lewis

Peter was appointed Senior Lecturer in community media in May 2007, possibly the first such title in the UK. On his arrival, the Community Media Research Group (CMRG) was formed and its first task was to organise the international colloquium Finding and Finding Voices: the inner-city experience in September 2007 (Lewis 2008b).

Following the recommendations of the colloquium, the CMRG organised a number of workshops during 2008 and 2009, examining policy options for community media in London. Two of these were hosted by BBC London and Ofcom. The connection between the funding of community media and that of public service broadcasting is a topic Peter has raised within the MeCCSA Policy Network (MeCCSA and Lewis 2009).

The study of community media has been a long-standing interest of Peter's. After some years working in educational broadcasting in ITV, he helped set up and manage Bristol Channel, one of the local cable stations that piloted the practice of community TV in the 1970s (Lewis 1978). Subsequently, he has undertaken studies of community media in Europe and beyond for UNESCO (Lewis 1993) and the Council of Europe (Lewis 2008a). Peter was a member of a team that piloted in Sri Lanka the ethnographic action research approach to evaluation (Slater, Tacchi and Lewis, 2002; Lewis 2003), subsequently developed by Tacchi et al for UNESCO in South Asia.

Over the last 10 years, Peter has been a partner in a series of EU-funded projects concerned with training marginalised social groups in the use of community media (Lewis and Jones 2006), the most recent of these in which he was a member of the evaluation team was the Grundtvig-funded COMAPP project.

A related research interest is radio. The title The Invisible Medium (Lewis and Booth 1989) was a reference to the marginal attention given to the medium within media and cultural studies at that time (Lewis 2000, 2002). Since then, The Radio Studies Network, which Peter helped to found, has raised the profile of radio in the UK through its conferences and through The Radio Journal. Peter has been involved in similar initiatives at the European level through IREN (International Radio Research Network – Lewis 2004a) and the European Communication Research and Education Association's (ECREA) Radio Research Section (see below). He is currently a Principal Investigator in a three-year project, Transnational Radio Encounters(TRE), project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). Peter will be researching the ways in which ethnic, cultural and social minorities use community radio to maintain contact with similar communities transnationally. TRE, launched in September 2013, comprises six independent projects investigating the social, political and aesthetic dimensions of radio’s role in constructing national, European and minority identities.

Peter has also carried out research into BBC radio drama (Lewis 1991, 2004; O'Sullivan and Lewis 2006), criticised the limited public and academic access to radio archives (Lewis 2001) and is currently exploring the topic of remembered soundscapes. As a former broadcaster, he is specially interested in the involvement and collaboration of media professionals with academic research and teaching (Lewis 2004a, 1998).

Selected publications


  • Lewis, P M and Jones, S (2006) (eds) From the Margins to the Cutting Edge - Community Media and Empowerment. Catskill, NJ: Hampton Press
  • Lewis, P M (ed) (1993) Alternative Media: Linking Global and Local, UNESCO Reports and Papers in Mass Communication No.107, Paris
  • Lewis, P M and Booth, J (1989) The Invisible Medium: Public, Commercial and Community Radio, London: Macmillan
  • Lewis, Peter M and Pearlman, C (1986) Media and Power: From Marconi to Murdoch, London: Camden Press
  • Lewis, P M (1978) Community Television and Cable in Britain, London: British Film Institute

Chapters and articles

  • Lewis, P M (forthcoming) "Community media policy" in Atton, C. (ed) The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media. London: Routledge
  • Lewis, P M (2013) "Remembering radio" The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media, Vol 11.1 Lewis, P.M. (2012) ‘”It’s only community radio”: the British campaign for community radio’. In Gordon, J  (ed) Community Radio in the 21st Century. Oxford: Peter Lang
  • Lewis, P M (2011) "À la recherche des sons perdus", La Faute à Rousseau (Revue de l’Association pour l’autobiographie et le patrimoine autobiographique) No.57, June 2011
  • Lewis, P M (2010) "A Remembered Soundscape: a British Family Listens to the Wireless in the 1930s and 1940s", Oral History Forum d'histoire orale (online journal of the Canadian Oral History Association) 
  • Lewis, P M (2010) "Scenes from a community radio campaign, 1972-2009: un/masking objectivity" International Journal of Communication, 4 (contribution to US Social Science Research Council’s Making Communications Research Matter)
  • Lewis, P M (2009) "Digital Britain. Community media as local PSB: who pays?", three: D, the newsletter of MeCCSA, October 2009, Issue 13 
  • Lewis, P M (2008a) "Finding and funding Voices: the London experience", Information, Society and Justice, Volume 2.1, December 2008: pp 5-20 ISSN 1756-1078 
  • Lewis, P M (2008b) "De la piraterie à la pénurie: petites leçons sur l'histoire des radios communautaires en Europe" In Cheval, J-J. & Wuilleme, B. (eds) (2008) La Radiodiffusion aux tournants des siècles. Lyon: Universite Jean-Moulin Lyon 3
  • Lewis, P M (2007) "Community radio: encouraging the involvement of citizens in public spheres" in Peñafiel, C (2007) Transformaciones de la Radio y la TV en Europa. Bilbao, Spain: Servicio Editorial de la UPV/EHU
  • O Sullivan, S and Lewis, P M (2006) "Future directions for research on radio audiences". In Antoine, F. (ed), Nouvelles Voies de la Radio/The Way Ahead for Radio Research. Recherches  en Communication. No. 26. Louvain: Université Catholique de Louvain, Département de Communication
  • Lewis, P M (2004a) "IREN" Diffusion online EBU/UER 2004/26
  • Lewis, P M (2004b) "Opening and closing doors: radio drama in the BBC", The Radio Journal Vol 1 No 3.
  • Lewis, P M (2003), "Est-ce que ça marche? l'observation et l'évaluation des radios communautaires". In Cheval, J-J. (ed.) Audience, publics & pratiques radiophoniques, Bordeaux, éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme d’Aquitaine
  • Lewis, P M (2002) "Radio Theory and Community Radio" in Jankowski, N and Prehn, O (eds) Community Media in the Information Age: Perspectives, Findings and Policies. Catskill, NJ: Hampton Press
  • Lewis, P M (2001) "Buried Treasure: the case of British radio archives". The Researcher’s Guide. 6th Ed. London: British Universities Film and Video Council
  • Lewis, P M (2000) "Private passion, public neglect: the cultural status of radio"International Journal of Cultural Studies Vol 3 No 2, August 2000, pp.160-167
  • Lewis, P M (1998) "Media studies: playground or passport?" Ralph, S, Langham Brown, J and Lees, T (eds) (1998) What Price Creativity? Current Debates in Broadcasting - 7: papers from the University of Manchester Broadcasting Symposium, 1997, John Libbey Media
  • Lewis P M (1991) "Referable words in radio drama" in Scannell,P (ed) Broadcast Talk, London: Sage
  • Slater, D, Tacchi, J and Lewis, P (2002) "Ethnographic Monitoring and Evaluation of Community Multimedia Centres: a Study of Kothmale Community Radio Internet Project, Sri Lanka". Report of a research project funded by Department for International Development, UK (DfID), in collaboration with UNESCO


Professional affiliations

Current teaching

  • Media History (SM4003N)
  • Media Citizens and Communities (SM5004N)


  • BA and MA (Oxon)
  • PGCE (University of London)
  • PhD by Prior Output (London Metropolitan University)