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How community radio performs community identity

Patricia Cruz



The study “‘Just like us’: community radio broadcasters and the on-air performance of community identity” by Bridget Backhaus from Griffith University looked at an understudied sub-area in community media studies: community identity. The study is situated in Australia, a country with rich and diverse scholarship on the topic. 

The concept of community is foundational in community media studies. This third sector of media is separated from state-run and commercial models by being run by and for specific communities. Communities here can refer to geographical, demographic, cultural or interest-based communities. 

The traditional understanding of the term community encapsulated geographic and interest-based communities, while the more modern interpretations include communities of practice, interpretive communities and online communities. There appears to be no consensus on how the term should be understood, while the emphasis on community is clear. 

Collective identity, in order to become salient, needs to be performed by the community. The perception broadcasters have on their audience affect how they perform collective identity, which then feeds community building and the effect of community radio itself.

A key notion to defining community in this context is social contact. Carpenter, Lie and Servais (2007) consider it a defining feature of community. However, there is limited social contact from the community to the broadcasters, as the former are often merely in the audience role. 

How then, is a sense of community maintained by the broadcasters? The answer may lie in the concept of imagined communities, as explained by Anderson (2006). Anderson argues persuasively that all larger communities exist in the minds of the members, as most have no contact with each other.

This study was conducted by using critical discourse analysis (CDA) on the broadcast content of ten Australian community radio stations that were transcribed for the analysis. They were all from the Brisbane area in Queensland. 

The findings highlighted the key differences between the stations and two themes were identified: commercialization and the performance of local. Half of the stations were rather similar to their commercial counterparts, closely echoing their repertoires. 

In the study, music was the main marker of commercialization. The four local stations under analysis all opted for a mixture of 70s and 80s pop with some more recent hits in the mix. The author suspects this is due to the older demographic of the stations.

The other stations under the study had a much more specialized music selection. 4MBS is a classical music special interest station, 98,9 played more country, while 96,5 FM played more family-friendly fare with religious songs mixed in. 4ZZZ had an eclectic playlist combined with news on the music scene, and Switch FM played almost exclusively new music from the last couple of years. 

It was shown that stations with more clearly defined communities were able to more effectively target their audiences with music selections, while local radio stations serving an area were closer to commercial channels. The tendency toward commercial selection is termed by Forde, Meadows and  Foxwell–Norton (2002) as ‘creep of commercialism’.

The sense of localness was performed in several ways. The first way was overt repetition and reinforcement of place. This was seen in traffic and weather reports and advertisements. However, in addition some channels opted to use phrases like ‘Narangba, this is your station’ and ‘Toorbul, this is your station’.

According to the author, this emphasis on the local reinforces the radio’s role as a rhizome in the community. For example, in discussing building a business, local businesses were mentioned. 

Despite this local focus, however, in majority of the cases the engagement with localness remained superficial, in the level of traffic and weather. Eight of the ten syndicated news services produced out of state or even overseas. One channel had their own news service and one had no news at all. 

The second area for performing locality was the on-air discussions that took place on the channels. Of course, stations that had a disembodied broadcast role were ruled out. Stations with more than one presenter performed better in this regard, but even with one presenter it was possible to have on-air discussions. 

In the conclusion, the author raises an uncomfortable question: if a local station shares “no local news, does not create space for community voices and discussions, and echoes mainstream content, is it a community radio station at all?” Nevertheless, the results do not entirely support this negative view.

Through mediated self-disclosure, the local stations manage to sound ‘just like us’ and thus reinforce their localness and community identity. They build relationships and camaraderie through the discussions. 

The study ‘Just like us’: community radio broadcasters and the on-air performance of community identity” by Bridget Backhaus is in Continuum. (free abstract).

Picture: Untitled by Brisbane Local Marketing

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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