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


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