How does radio talk influence young listeners’ perceptions?

Youlton, Emily (2022). How does radio talk influence young listeners’ perceptions? University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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Radio broadcasts provide an abundance of readily available data for linguistic analysis. This thesis investigates how the language used in radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4 influence young listener perceptions using discourse analysis of radio broadcasts and interview and survey methods. The study analyses the Radio 1 Breakfast show with Greg James and Radio 1’s lunchtime ‘Newsbeat’ with Radio 4’s Today Programme and Radio 4’s World at One. To investigate listener perception, 20 interviews and 32 survey responses were collected and analysed. The analysis focuses on key areas found to be important in broadcast talk, particularly how hard news and soft news engage an audience and how audiences feel addressed. I conducted a discourse analysis which considers personalisation, particularly Fairclough’s (1989) work on Synthetic Personalisation and Landert’s (2014) personalisation of mass media. I also conducted an appraisal analysis, following Martin and White’s (2005) framework, particularly how affect is shown across the four programmes. I also considered informality, analysing markers of informality including but not limited to, contractions, naming and active voice, building on Fairclough’s (2000) ideas of the informalisation of news and how informality is used across the broadcasts (Pearce, 2005). This discourse analysis conducted to compare how Radio 1 and Radio 4 use language to present selected news based programmes. This found that the Radio 1 programmes were generally more personalised using pronouns, particularly ‘you’ and ‘we’, were also more likely to utilise affect and more markers of informality in comparison to Radio 4. Based on reader response methods, the second part of analysis uses interview and survey data from participants to understand their preferences for the programmes analysed. This found that participants showed no significant preference for one programme or station over another and that participants tended to discuss between how informed they perceived a broadcast to be and how formal it was, the more formal being the most informative.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting


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