Media in Australia: Radio

This week’s readings talked about the development of radio. Griffen-Foley (2010) discussed in The Media & Communications in Australia the challenges that were facing radio (Griffen-Foley, B, 2010, pp. 82-112). There were legislative changes in 1986 and 1987 that had created restrictions on owning different media types (newspaper, radio and television), which allowed radio to slightly grow (Griffen-Foley, 2010, pp. 119). In 1988, the Hawke government introduced the National Radio Plan to try to improve the reach of radio. However, the radio industry was put in debt in 1990-91 which led to new stations to take the place of others (Griffen-Foley, 2010, pp. 120).

Early on in the radio’s existence in the 1930s, Johnson (1988, pp. 89) describes the marketing campaigns to expand the number of households that had radios in them (Johnson, L. 1988, pp. 82-112). Advertising focused on presenting the radio creating happiness for a nuclear family. It wasn’t that simple however as often stories circulated of family disagreements about which program to listen to. This was exploited by trying to convince consumers to have more than one radio in the house (Johnson, 1988, pp. 93). All this led to radio taking over traditional family rituals. Before radio, families “gathered around the piano, played cards, or read stories to one another”.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation website (2010) notes that digital radio and the internet has so far supplemented analogue radio services in this country. This is different to television, with the analogue signal soon being switched off in favour of being replaced by digital. Radio has somehow survived in contrast to the decline of the press and television.



Griffen-Foley, B. (2010), Chapter 7, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Johnson, L. (1988) ‘The Everyday Ordinary’ & ‘What Women Have to Listen To’, in The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio, London: Routledge, pp. 82-112.

Radio in Australia, 2010, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, viewed 3 September 2012, <>.


This is the fourth of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next  seven will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here:


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