Ordinary People and the Political Pull of Talkback Radio
Talkback radio in Australia has been identified as a space used by politicians to communicate with the public. The political power wielded by talkback radio programs and hosts has also been explored (Griffen-Foley, 2007; Faine, 2005; Ward, 2002). However, relatively little is known about how Australian audiences who listen to talkback radio receive and react to the political content and, more importantly, how these audiences use talkback to engage with politicians. This article explores these issues, with a focus on the latter theme, through the words of some of the people who listen to and call talkback radio programs in Australia. It examines the role played by talkback radio for these audiences in facilitating access to politicians and how some individuals use this access to achieve solutions to their problems and issues. To some extent, its findings counter existing research, which has positioned talkback radio as the tool of the politician, revealing that in some instances it can be a powerful tool for the citizen.
Communication, Politics & Culture