A face for radio: on-air identity in broadcasting

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Every day, radio broadcasters go into a studio, sit in front of a microphone, and talk to their (imagined) audience in such a way that the (actual) audience feels addressed, and responds. Somehow effective radio broadcasters produce the indicators of friendship, sympathy and intimacy that a listening public will accept as authentic. This study asks how Australian Broadcasting Corporation talk radio presenters construct this on-air identity. It finds that this work is both more sophisticated and more authentic than orthodox answers imagine. Contrary to early assumptions, the study finds a real relationship between presenter and audience. Identity is built in the flux of that relationship: uncertain at first, more secure with time. In each interaction, fragments of information are used to create a fluid, dynamic and concurrent conception of the audience: ‘a collective mass, one at a time’.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of South Australia
  • Cook, Jackie, Supervisor, External person
  • Snowden, Collette, Supervisor, External person
  • McNair, Brian, Supervisor, External person
  • Crisell, Andrew, Supervisor, External person
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Radio broadcasters
  • Radio personalities
  • Radio stations
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Australia


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