Talkback radio is enormously popular in Australia. It’s a great way to reach a huge audience of diverse listeners. 

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

Most talkback radio programs have text lines, or you can tweet at the station. Some take live calls. 

It’s so important to prepare before you call. Notes on preparing are below the list of contact details.

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, 6–7.30pm

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

Triple J Hack
Monday to Friday, 5.30–6pm

  • Talkback number: 1300 055 536
  • Text line: 0439 757 555
  • Twitter: @triplejHack

ADELAIDE

ABC Adelaide 891

Five aa 1395: Talking Adelaide

BRISBANE

ABC Brisbane 612

News Talk 4BC 1116

CANBERRA

ABC Radio Canberra 666AM

2CC Talking Canberra – 1206 AM
Stephen Cenatiempo. Monday to Friday 5.30–9am
Leon Delaney. 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
Virginia Trioli. Monday to Friday 8.30am–12pm

3AW Melbourne 693
Breakfast. Monday to Friday 5.30–8.30am
Neil Mitchell. Monday to Friday 8:30am–12pm
Afternoons with Dee Dee. Monday to Friday 12–3pm
Tom Elliot. Monday to Friday 3–6pm.

PERTH

ABC Perth 720

News Talk 6PR 883
Gareth Parker. Monday to Friday 5.30am–9am 
Liam Bartlett. Monday to Friday 9am–12pm 

SYDNEY

ABC Sydney 702

2GB Sydney 873

Ben Fordham. Monday to Friday 5.30–9am 
Ray Hadley. Monday to Friday 9am–12pm 
Deborah Knight. Monday to Friday 12–3pm 
Jim Wilson. Monday to Friday 3–6pm 

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

REGIONAL AND LOCAL RADIO

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

Preparing

Find out about the show. Make sure you spend time listening to the show 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 are more serious. 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 (remember, you don’t need to convince the radio host to connect with the listeners).  

Prepare one or two key points. It’s easy to be misinterpreted on air, so think carefully about what you want 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. 

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 short delay and it’s quite distracting to hear your voice 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 read them out – speak 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! 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. Fill in the feedback form on the right to let us know which program you called and how it went.