Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Is Talkback Radio Important for Democracy in Australia Essay

Is Talkback Radio Important for Democracy in Australia - Essay Example Talkback radio, in its present function is not working as it should be to facilitate democratic practice in Australia. Commonly known as talk radio, talkback radio is a type of radio format giving Australian listeners a venue to discuss political and other current issues (en.wikipedia.org). 1 Democracy is government of the people, for the people and by the people. Given the context of both, it is not unexpected to assume that the prior supports the latter. Talkback radio ideally is democracy in action.Talkback radio's history in Australia dates back to the mid 1920's but was not made legal until the late 1960's. It was not officially permitted as, in radio; there is a difficulty to screen libelous and offensive calls. Following the lifting of previously strict regulations and the development of a tape delay system, talkback radio started being visible once again in 1967. It, however, grew bigger in the 1992 when the Broadcasting Act brought commercial radio deregulation and instead o f its news and current affairs programs being hosted by "journalists", these were handled by "entertainers." 2Why these radio personalities who were considered stars in their own right were classified as entertainers is clearly explained in Adam's and Burton's TALKBACK: Emperor's of Air. Adam's and Burton explained that the infamous talkback radio hosts are, in fact, only presenters. By this, it means that "their involvement is [that] few moments of autocue reading (11)." In this type of arrangement, there are reporters and producers who gather, interpret and develop the data. The final product shall then be broadcasted by the talkback radio host, the figurehead of the show (Adams and Burton 11). The implication of this is that figureheads wield power. While it is plausible that some, although not all, radio show hosts have a limited knowledge of a topical issue, their stand and their opinions greatly influence that of the general public. Two of the most popular radio stations broadcasting talkback radio in Australia, credited mostly to its right-wing hosts, are 2UE and 2GB. The previous began its broadcasting stint 26 January 1925 and was originally called 2EU. The station offers current affairs program in the mornings with and in the afternoons and evenings a more relaxed programming. 2GB that started its operation in 1926 runs on a similar format as that of 2UE. While both are widely accepted, 2GB is considered the more influential of the two. 3 It will be incomplete to mention the two rival stations without considering the major role of their popular programs' figureheads in the growing popularity of both talkback radio stations - John Laws and Alan Jones. Radio Manager of 2UE even, confidently, stated that Laws and Jones "were the two most powerful men in the country, after the Prime Minister (qtd. fr TALKBACK: Emperors of the Air)." 3 For more information please refer to and . John Laws who has worked for various radio stations and even had a short stint at television before settling at 2UE. 4 Laws' return to 2UE propelled the station's rise to the number one spot. Laws' programs are syndicated in Australia and are very much popular in the rural areas. His programs tackle newsworthy issues; even then, he is not a journalist per se, merely a presenter. Notwithstanding Laws' seeming lack of in-depth knowledge of the issues he is tackling, given that he only echoed to the public what was gathered by station reporters, his appeal was nothing short of astounding. His authority influenced much of the listeners' opinions and actions. The same is true for Alan Jones' control over the affairs of the masses and even the political units. According to

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