Constructing Identity in the Talkback Radio Space

Jacqui Ewart, Julie Posetti

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution


    Talkback is a phenomenon of the talk radio format defined by the extension of an invitation from the presenter to the audience to participate in the program through phoning in, SMS messaging or emailing their views, opinions or contributions. Talkback programming has frequently been lambasted by researchers and the commentariat for its racist rhetoric and exclusion of minority voices. Attempts have been made to measure the political influence of Australian talkback presenters and in the wake of the 2005 Cronulla riots which were judged by some observers to have been fanned by irresponsible and racist talkback programs, researchers began to focus their attention on the social power of talkback radio. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of talkback in constructing Australian identity, both nationally and culturally. This paper examines how listeners and callers to a variety of talkback programs construct their own and others’ identity through talkback. We are interested in how some groups are included and others are excluded from the construction of Australianness in talkback radio. Our research reveals that talkback radio, regardless of its provenance, provides a homeland and heartland for its audiences and a space where they can perform their national and cultural identities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNCEIS Conference 2008 : Selected Papers
    Editors Saeed, Akbarzadeh
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    PublisherNCEIS, Melbourne University
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventChallenges to Social Inclusion in Australia: The Muslim Experience - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 19 Nov 200820 Nov 2008


    ConferenceChallenges to Social Inclusion in Australia: The Muslim Experience


    Cite this

    Ewart, J., & Posetti, J. (2008). Constructing Identity in the Talkback Radio Space. In Saeed, & Akbarzadeh (Eds.), NCEIS Conference 2008 : Selected Papers (pp. 1-21). Melbourne: NCEIS, Melbourne University.