Peter Lewis

I was appointed senior lecturer in community media in May 2007, possibly the first such title in the UK. On my 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 I have raised within the MeCCSA Policy Network (MeCCSA and Lewis 2009).

The study of community media has been a long-standing interest of mine. After some years working in educational broadcasting in ITV I 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, I have undertaken studies of community media in Europe and beyond for UNESCO (Lewis 1993) and the Council of Europe (Lewis 2008a). I was a member of a team which piloted in Sri Lanka the ethnographic action research approach to evaluation (Slater, Tacchi & Lewis, 2002; Lewis 2003), subsequently developed by Tacchi et al for UNESCO in South Asia.

Over the last ten years I have been a partner in a series of EU-funded projects concerned with training marginalised social groups in the use of community media (Lewis & Jones 2006); the most recent of these in which I was a member of the evaluation team was the Grundtvig-funded COMAPP project.

A related research interest is radio. The title of The Invisible Medium (Lewis & 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 I helped to found, has raised the profile of radio in the UK through its conferences, and through the The Radio Journal. I have been involved in similar initiatives at the European level through IREN (International Radio Research Network – Lewis 2004a) and ECREA’s Radio Research Section (see below). I am currently a Principal Investigator in a three-year project, Transnational Radio Encounters – TRE project funded by HERA. I 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.

I have also carried out  research into BBC radio drama (Lewis 1991, 2004; O Sullivan & Lewis 2006), criticized the limited public and academic access to radio archives (Lewis 2001), and am currently exploring the topic of ‘remembered soundscapes’. As a former broadcaster I am specially interested in the involvement and collaboration of media professionals with academic research and teaching (Lewis 2004a, 1998).

Selected publications


Lewis, P.M. & 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. & Booth, J (1989) The Invisible Medium: Public, Commercial and Community Radio, London: Macmillan.

Lewis, Peter M. & 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 11.1Lewis, 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. & 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. & 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 radioInternational

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 & 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. & 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. available at




Lewis, P. (2008a) Promoting Social Cohesion: the role of community media. Report prepared for the Council of Europe’s Group of Specialists on Media Diversity (MC-S-MD)


Professional affiliations

Steering Group of the Radio Studies Network

Radio Research Section of ECREA (European Communications and Research in Education Association) (

MeCCSA (, and member of MeCCSA’s Media Policy Network

Community Communications Section of IAMCR(

Community Media Forum for Europe (CMFE) member of Experts Group

Community Media Association of the UK (

Member of the International Editorial Board of The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media (Intellect Books:

Member of the UK Radio Aarchives Advisory Committee

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)