Talkback radio – #killmenow

Thursday, November 7, 2013 Permalink

I didn’t really touch on it in Tuesday’s post, but the reason I’m not starting my new job for two weeks is because a cousin had asked if I’d help out in his office while he’s on holidays. He has a couple of staff but as he and his wife will be away he really needed someone to help answer phones etc. His offer came in before I had my other job and I’d thought ‘Why not?’ especially because he’d told me I could continue with my own writing while here.

The idea of working full-time for 2 weeks was a bit overwhelming, but as I’d signed up for NaNoWriMo, I figured I could actually dedicate several hours a day to working on my November novel.

I’m also going to have a look at his website (and do a bit of rewriting) and focus my wit and expertise to his existing radio ads.

I’m only a few days in and – so far so good – well in terms of the office. The novel’s going nowhere fast, but I’ve managed the phones, started rearranging the files and haven’t alienated my fellow employees too much.

radioHowever… like many small offices, we have a radio on during the day. Mostly I zone out until a song I like stirs me out of my reverie. But… as the days have progressed I’ve become increasing aware that the local station is affiliated with a network renowned for its scary talkback radio hosts!

Oh. My. God!

I know the shock jocks get their name for a reason and their ratings come from stirring the pot, but seriously they cannot believe all of the drivel they espouse.

I’ve existed in this world long enough to know there are those out there whose beliefs differ from my own. And while they’re OBVIOUSLY wrong and far less-evolved ;-), I know it’s sensible to accept the fact and not let their idiocy (re. immigration, government legislation, politics, same sex marriage etc) impact significantly on my mood.

bang headHowever, there are many malleable minds out there who believe everything they read or hear. I don’t get the allure of talkback radio or current affairs shows so I guess I’m not their target audience, but it worries me that even sane people* can be influenced by what they hear.

In a perfect world I could happily avoid such programs. Indeed, I’m one of those people who hates others whining about inappropriate content on TV shows.

“Just bloody turn it off!” I’ll say. But… for a change I’m not in control of my current situation. It may not be *ahem* appropriate to rip the cord from the wall in response to the verbal garbage I’m forced to absorb.

I’m a little worried that it’s like some form of torture or worse – brain washing!


After 10 days of being indoctrinated with hate, ridiculous conservatism and general lunacy my mind will perhaps narrow to the point of closure and I’ll want to live in some sort of shiny white bubble.
(Or on the outskirts of a town, with a yard littered with rusting car skeletons, overgrown grass and old children’s toys.)


As I figure it, my choices are thus:

1. Confess to my colleagues that I can’t stand the drivel and hope I don’t insult them (given we still have over a week together!). Perhaps it’s my cousin who likes the show, or perhaps they believe it will appeal to their clients?!
2. Sneakily change the channel and hope no one notices.
3. Wear headphones, although that would be problematic given that I’m supposed to be answering the phone and watching for customers.
4. Tune out as best I can (it IS only a few hours each morning) and avoid absorbing anything I hear!

I should point out that I don’t hate all radio hosts. Indeed I do listen to shows when in my car in the afternoon, and have enjoyed ‘some’ breakfast shows.

Which choice do you recommend?
Any other suggestions?
Or perhaps you’re a talkback radio fan? 

* My mother (a sane, sensible and smart woman) often relays stories to me which she’s seen on TV or in an email. Thankfully however, she hasn’t taken to wrapping her credit card in alfoil to thwart nefarious types who wander about scanning cards through people’s purses or wallets, but… she’s quite concerned about internet fraud and the like (which I guess isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

  • Char
    November 7, 2013

    Ear plugs under the headphones are even more effective as a drivel-filter.

    • Debbish
      November 7, 2013

      Hee hee… true, but not being able to hear the phone or front door opening could be problematic!

  • Jess
    November 7, 2013

    It is hard I think it would be hard to do much without offending someone. Ironically there is probably others in the office who dislike it too as I’ve heard many people complain about the same thing. Whatever you do at least you only have to deal with either the radio or offended colleagues for a week!

    • Debbish
      November 7, 2013

      Hmmm…. yes sadly you’re probably right!

  • Dr. J
    November 8, 2013

    I’ll go with number 4! In life we often have to allow others their insanity and in return, they will allow us ours 🙂

    • Debbish
      November 8, 2013

      So true. They’ve refrained (so far!) from laughing at my vanilla diet coke habit!

  • Jo Tracey
    November 8, 2013

    Listen and laugh. I find these guys & most of their extremely conservative views completely offensive, yet they have a huge audience (my parents included). But, I guess everyone has the right to their own opinion- however ridiculous (in my view) it might be…

    • Debbish
      November 8, 2013

      Oh, the laughing’s hard Jo. I think trying to ‘zone out’ is the best option…

  • Satu
    November 8, 2013

    Oom, does talkback radio mean the kind of program where ordinary folks can express their views? If so, my condolences. (My father loves it, I can’t stand it. )

    I was about to suggest you wear earplugs to work, plus the earphones, but that might be awkward if you have to answer the phone and serve the customers. It would look weird if you had to dig those earplugs out of your ears every time someone comes in…

    In my last job, I was lucky to share my room with an ideal roommate. He didn’t have any annoying habits and was good company in many ways, supportive and fun. I still miss him!

    • Debbish
      November 8, 2013

      That is talkback radio Satu, but while there are some good hosts, there are a few hosts who have EXTREME views and love to share them again and again. I listened to an interview yesterday in which the host basically sucked up to the interviewee constantly. #Argh!

  • Lou Lou
    November 11, 2013

    Oh I said turn it off and throw it out the window! I cannot stand talkback radio!

    • Debbish
      November 12, 2013

      I’m 7 days into the 10 now and bizarrely I didn’t ‘hear’ it at all yesterday as I found a spot at the back of the office. Or perhaps I’m getting better at zoning out.

  • Jacques P. Patton
    November 18, 2013

    In New Zealand , as in Australia, the talk radio format is popularly known as talkback radio. The major radio networks broadcasting in the talk radio format are Newstalk ZB and Radio Live . Their sports sister networks, Radio Sport and LiveSport also largely broadcast in talk format. Other stations such as Radio New Zealand National have a large component of talk-based content, but do not have talk-back (i.e. listener phone-ins).

  • Iva Cardenas
    November 22, 2013

    yes !! I remember Rob Pharazyn ! Cripes theres a blast from the past. I used to work late shift and would always take a while to wind down and listened to him on talkback. Thought he was marvellous until that one night when there was a stand in and they said he wasn’t coming back… such a shame as he was one of the best. what did they call him ? the black knight I think it was….that was a few years ago ….!

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