Erving Goffman deconstructed the term ‘speaker’ to clarify the varying orientations an individual takes in relation to the words he or she produces. Goffman proposes that a speaker may be animator (the person who expresses the words), author (the person who has composed the words), or the principal (the person whose position the words represent). In many instances the speaker will be all three – particularly when producing ‘fresh talk’. Fresh talk is a particular requirement for broadcast but Goffman cautions fresh talk is never quite as fresh as it seems. Radio presenters will disguise text that is read so that it still sounds fresh.
With such a high demand for ‘authenticity’ on air, this paper will examine how leading public service radio presenters, working on the speech radio networks for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reconcile their shifting status through animator, author and principal, to convey an authentic on-air self.