Talkback radio is enormously popular in Australia so it's a great opportunity to reach millions of diverse listeners. 

Political staffers often track talkback radio to see which issues are simmering or boiling over and how voters are responding. 

Some talkback radio programs have text lines you can SMS a message to or you can also tweet at the station. Others invite you to leave a message to play on air. Some take live callers, but only a fraction of callers go on air, so it's worth being prepared.  

Before you call or SMS

Choose a radio station and talkback program. Here's a list of local, state and national programs to get you started:

NATIONAL

ABC Radio National – RN Breakfast
Fran Kelly. Monday to Friday, 6-9am

ABC Radio National – RN Drive
Patricia Karvelas. Monday to Friday, 6pm

  • Text line: 0418 226 576
  • Twitter: @RNDrive

Triple J Hack
Tom Tilley. Monday to Friday, 5.30-6pm

  • Talkback number: 1300 0555 36
  • Text line: 0439 757 555
  • Twitter: @triplejHack

ADELAIDE

ABC Adelaide 891

Five aa 1395: Talking Adelaide
Belinder Heggen. Monday to Friday 1pm-4pm 

BRISBANE

ABC Brisbane 612

News Talk 4BC 1116
Greg Cary. Monday to Friday 9am -12pm.
Gary Hardgrave. Monday to Friday 3-6pm. 

CANBERRA

ABC Radio Canberra 666AM

  • Talkback number: 1300 681 666

2CC Talking Canberra – 1206 AM
Tim Shaw. Monday to Friday 5.30-9am
Richard Perno. Monday to Friday 3-6pm

  • Talkback number: (02) 6255 1206
  • Text line: 0488 266 266 + "2CC" and your message
  • Listen online

HOBART

ABC Hobart 693

 101.7 7HOFM Hobart

  • Talkback number: 03 6216 1000
  • Text line: 0438 922 936
  • Twitter: @7hofmhobart

MELBOURNE

ABC Melbourne 774
John Faine. Monday to Friday 8.30am - 12pm.

3AW Melbourne 693
Ross & John. Monday to Friday 5.30 - 8.30am
Neil Mitchell. Monday to Friday 8:30am -12pm
Denis Walter. Monday to Friday 12-4pm
Tom Elliot. Monday to Friday afternoons

PERTH

ABC Perth 720

News Talk 6PR 883
Gareth Parker. Monday to Friday 8:30am -12pm. 
Simon Beaumont. Monday to Friday 12-3pm. 

SYDNEY

ABC Sydney 702

2GB Sydney 873
Ray Hadley. Monday to Friday 9am -12pm. 
Chris Smith. Monday to Friday 12-3pm. 

  • Talkback number: 131 873
  • Twitter: @2GB873

REGIONAL AND LOCAL RADIO

Find your local ABC radio station at www.abc.net.au/local

Find out about the show. You could do a quick internet search to see if any presenters are outspoken on your particular issue. Have a listen before you call to get a sense of the tone, audience and topics. Which calls get on air? What does the presenter like and dislike? Some stations like entertaining or eccentric callers, while others focus on diversity. Some programs invite callers to talk about any topic they like, while others have set themes you can respond to. 

Think about the audience. Who are this station’s listeners? Office workers, commuters, families, teenagers or retirees? Think about what will interest and convince these listeners (but remember, you don't need to convince the radio host).  

Prepare one or two key points. it's easy to be misrepresented or misinterpreted on air, so think carefully about what you'd like to say. You could share your personal story, community's experience or local concerns, or talk about why an issue matters to you.

Try to include the action you'd like to see – whether that's an MP doing something specific, or asking listeners get involved in a citizen advocacy campaign or come to a community event. 

Making the call

Make sure you have good phone reception. Stations often prefer people to call on landlines rather than mobile phones. If you’re on a mobile, make sure you have a good clear line. 

When you call you will first speak to a producer who will want to know what you plan to say. They will either put you on hold until there is a slot for you to speak or they might call you back. 

Once you’re in the queue, turn off your radio. Listen through your phone – most stations run talkback on a seven second delay and it's quite distracting to hear yourself delayed in the background.

Stay focused – don’t get caught daydreaming in the queue!

When you're on air

Stay calm. Use your key points, but don't just read them out – talk naturally like you're having a conversation with a friend. 

Talk to the audience, not the host. The host might try to provoke you – don't take the bait! Stand your ground and don't get distracted. Try to bring the conversation back to your key points. 

Be concise. You'll probably only get 30 seconds on air, so get to the point quickly and don't ramble. 

Tell us how you went!

Your experiences can inspire others in the ACF community to step up and get involved. We're keen to track our collective impact so we can demonstrate our community's power and push our elected representatives to listen – so fill in the feedback form on the right to share who you called and how it went!