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Video clip synopsis – Tim Bowden describes how radio continued to prosper after the launch of television. John Safran reveals what attracts him to television production rather than radio. Corinne Grant talks about the link between the soap box and talkback radio.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 1min 56sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, identity, media, popular culture, radio, talkback radio, television, see all tags


Effects of TV on radio

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About the Video Clip


The interviews with Tim Bowden, John Safran and Corinne Grant were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Tim Bowden is a broadcaster, radio and delivision documentary maker, oral historian and author. John Safran is a filmmaker and self-proclaimed media hooligan. Corinne Grant is a comic, writer and actor. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Inquiry Questions
What have been the major social and cultural features of a post-war decade?

A student:
5.1 explains social, political and cultural developments and events and evaluates their impact on Australian life
5.2 assesses the impact of international events and relationships on Australia’s history
5.4 sequences major historical events to show an understanding of continuity, change and causation
5.5 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources
5.6 uses sources appropriately in an historical inquiry
5.7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past.

Students Learn About:

Post-war Australia:

The impact of changing technology on everyday life in post-war Australia:
– home appliances
– entertainment
– communications

Students Learn To:
outline the impact of the main technological changes over time on everyday life in post-war Australia, based on a selection of sources.

Decade Study
The social and cultural features of ONE post-war decade including:
– entertainment
– British or American influences on popular culture

– describe the main social and cultural features of the chosen decade
– outline the main influences of Britain or the USA on Australian popular culture of the chosen decade
– assess the impact of the chosen decade in shaping Australian identity

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


The introduction of television services in Australia brought vast changes to the radio industry. Radio’s serial dramas, variety and quiz shows – the mainstay of evening programming – appealed less to listeners when they discovered they could watch similar formats on television. Many listeners would rather watch films and shows imported from the United States than sit in a room and listen to a locally produced, original play on the radio. Some radio broadcasters predicted that television would be the death of radio altogether. But radio reinvented itself, and fought back powerfully on two fronts.

First, radio could report news instantly, while television news was initially slower to produce. So radio increased its news reporting. Radio stations bought more cars and fitted them with two-way radios, to get to the scene of news stories and quickly report back to the newsrooms. Radio promoted itself as the medium for the news 'scoop’.

Secondly, radio introduced a format termed 'talkback’. With television up and running in Australia, listeners still continued to tune in to their favourite talkback shows on radio. So radio stations looked for ways to enhance the format and invited their listeners to 'phone in’. Previously illegal, the break for radio broadcasters came in 1967 when Federal Parliament authorised the broadcast of material via the telephone. At 9am on 17 April 1967, radio host Mike Walsh on 2SM opened the lines to listeners’ calls, making him the first presenter to have his own legal talkback program on Australian radio.

Classroom Activities

  1. According to Tim Bowden, what did people think would happen to radio after the introduction of television?
  2. Explain the ways in which the introduction of television changed radio. Also include any reasons why the introduction of television did not mean the end of radio in Australia.
  3. According to Corinne Grant and John Safran, why does talkback radio continue to be popular?
    Find out more about the history of talkback radio in Sydney.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.