Talkback radio under the spotlight

Why do people listen to talkback radio and why do they call radio stations and contribute to public debate?

A joint Griffith University and University of Canberra study will investigate these questions with the help of five radio stations in Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra and Victoria.

Griffith University journalism lecturer Dr Jacqui Ewart said the researchers were interested in the process callers went through when deciding to interact with talkback programs.

“There’s a great deal of research on talkback radio hosts, but not a lot on the people who call in or listen to the programs, particularly in relation to what motivates them to do so,” she said.

“There also seems to be an increasing reliance by some sections of the news media to use talkback radio callers as sources of comments on news issues.”



“The study will give journalists a better understanding of the processes by which callers engage with talkback and a context for their comments.”

The findings will be used to develop resources for journalists, journalism students and teachers about the motivations of those who call talkback radio.

The researchers are looking for volunteers to contribute to discussion groups on their experiences with talkback radio. Call 07 3735 5592, free call outside Brisbane 1800 703 895, or email j.ewart@griffith.edu.au for more information.