Is talkback radio out of touch? 280



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Anyone who listened to talkback radio this week might wonder if the country is operating on two axis.  On Thursday morning, just hours after Tony Abbott was ousted, talkback radio was awash with callers expressing their incredible displeasure at the selection of Malcolm Turnbull.  At the same time, pollsters were printing the numbers of people in the Australian community who were elated at the change of Government.

On Thursday, the Roy Morgan SMS poll asked 1204 Australian voters who they thought would be a better leader and found seven out of 10 respondents preferred Mr Turnbull. Bill Shorten was favoured by just 24 per cent of voters, while the remaining 6 per cent were undecided or preferred another candidate.

Meanwhile, on talkback stations like 2GB and 3AW, callers lined up to tell each other how extraordinarily dire the circumstances were for the Liberal Party.  Well-meaning radio presenters tried to inject a little reality but were overwhelmed by callers opposed to the new Prime Minister.  And yet, their opinions were seemingly not reflective of the majority of Australians.

There is no doubt that talkback radio’s listening audience is waning and changing.  2GB, Sydney’s strongest talkback station is said to have an average audience size of just 69,000 of which 53,000 were over 55 in the latest 2015 surveys, while its stablemate has 19,000 over 55 from an average audience of 26,000.

While in Melbourne, 3AW which has 67,000 average listeners have 47,000 of them over the age of 55.

And so it leaves us wondering whether talkback radio has become the bastion of the politically opinionated and politically opposed, as the only place they can be heard these days through a media environment that can easily capture mainstream opinions with live polling.

Peter Fitz at the SMH has today printed a terrific list of quotes from the radio voices on talkback that we all know:

“Malcolm, you have no hope of ever being the leader, you have got to get that into your head!”

Alan Jones to Malcolm Turnbull, a year ago, on 2GB. 

“Don’t forget that stupid [upturned] collar … It’s a bit of a wank … it’s an indication of someone being a bit up themselves.”

2GB’s Ray Hadley offers a reason why we shouldn’t have Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister.

“‘People don’t want to vote for Turnbull, and they don’t want to vote for [Labor leader Bill] Shorten. We’ve got a shit sandwich.’ And I think that’s most probably it.”

Alan Jones, reading an email from a listener, the day after Turnbull rolled Abbott.

“Bishop’s Pawn to Queen’s Knight …”



Do you still listen to talkback radio?  What is your station and preferred shows?Do you think it is losing touch with reality?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. No, I’ve never listened to them and I never will. Those shock jocks have always given me the impression of wealthy old white men, who think how important they are and a God given gift to all Australians, and that their opinion matter. Oh, please, chill out men and retire already. You’ve been replaced by the social media anyway.

    4 REPLY
    • Wealthy old WHITE men ?? Are you for real. ??
      That really is A very racist remark . You need pulling up sunshine !’

    • If a white person said ‘ wealthy old black man ‘ you would be at the court house already ‘ waiting for your pay out for being slurred by racism .

  2. Listen to talkback every night,and know many others who do also.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes, talk back is great for those who live alone, especially those who can’t get out and about easily. Evening talk back is company for thousands of folk. Some are very interesting, and its great listening to people from all walks of life. Certainly better than TV some nights.

  3. Yes listen each day and love it. 2gb. Informative, educational and great entertainment. Hear a lot of young people phoning in.
    Prefer it to the likes of Fitz, or TV.

    1 REPLY
  4. the problem is as they get popular they begin to believe their own hype, until they are convinced it’s true.

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