Radio madness: Voices of mental illness and the presentation of self on Australian commercial talkback radio

Warwick Blood, Kate Holland, Jane Pirkis

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


This study focuses on one specific news event – the death by suicide of a hospital patient in Adelaide, South Australia. The patient, who was on detention, left the hospital and walked in front of a passing truck on nearby busy commuter highway. The incident provoked much discussion on Adelaide talkback radio. The paper, using this incident as an exemplar, investigates the discursive struggle that takes place in radio talkback programs between host, audiences, topics of conversation, radio’s institutional characteristics and routines, and phone-in participants. In particular, we examine the discursive devices used by phone-in-participants to legitimate or authenticate their opinions. We sought to assess whether there were characteristic ways people diagnosed with mental illness presented themselves and their illness, and what devices these people used to authenticate their self-portrait and positions. We also sought to examine relationships between host and participant, and the nature of these relationships, as expressed in the radio interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreating Communication: Content, Control, Critique. The 57th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association
Place of PublicationOregon, USA
PublisherAll Academic Inc
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)Online
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventCreating Communication: Content, Control, Critique - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 24 May 200728 May 2007


ConferenceCreating Communication: Content, Control, Critique
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


Dive into the research topics of 'Radio madness: Voices of mental illness and the presentation of self on Australian commercial talkback radio'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this