Hickeys, politics and the Mediated Public Sphere…

I have been sitting here in a state of procrastination wondering how I am to start this ‘mediated public sphere’ blog for the past 20 minutes, and when I think back to how I’ve spent this time I realise that I’ve checked Facebook, Instagram, and watched The Project. This made me realise that the notion of a mediated public sphere is embedded in our everyday lives without us even realising. Jurgen Habermas, a 19th century philosopher, can be credited with the imagination of the concept through his development of the “Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” which refers to an open place for the public to debate their opinions. Habermans “…argument rests on the idea that the very concepts of public and private changed through time.” Therefore as the education of society began to grow so did our need to express our opinions on the issues of our society, as a result of this we have seen the uprising of social media platforms, reality TV, talk shows and radio shows, these platforms provide us with both entertainment and an platform to educate and provoke thought.

Whether for trivial purposes or to debate serious societal issues, the radio is an excellent platform for the public to express their opinions and experiences. As Habermans argues the “concepts of public and private have changed throughout time” therefore the level of information about our lives that we are willing to share is increasing. However, many radio shows have a screening time and producers chose the callers they wish to take, therefore radio is a highly mediated platform. The “Hamish and Andy” radio show offers a mediated public sphere where the public can express their personal experiences and opinions on predominately trivial matters.

While the topic of ‘How to cover up your hickeys’ may not be an earth shattering debate and could be viewed as merely for entertainment value, it is still relevant to aspects of our society and is something the public can relate to. A few decades ago this information would be considered to be highly personal, however as time has progressed it is now a concept that many people feel comfortable with sharing, Hamish and Andy’s show offers a platform for people to share their experiences and offer advice to others.

Many radio stations also offer a platform which enables the public to debate and share their experiences about issues affecting our lives on a societal, national and international level.

ABC radio offers this ‘fair dinkum’ member of the public a platform to debate his concerns on the leadership of the Liberal party with Tony Abbott himself. His thoughts no doubt are reflected in many members of the public, meaning the man is representing a number of people from our society. Many radio stations take calls from members of the public, this enables everyday people to express how they feel about issues and concerns. It is also very common for radio shows to invite guests in to speak about their experiences, this enables people from all fragments of our community to express their opinions. Guests may often also accept questions from members of the public who call in, the radio station acts as a direct platform for these individuals to interact and express their opinions, when they may have not got even got chance to talk.

Radio is a mediated public sphere which is embedded into our everyday lives, allowing many people to express opinions to a nation that otherwise may only be heard by their close family members and some uninterested neighbours. When I think of all the comments I’ve read on Facebook, or the interviews I’ve heard on the radio and watched on TV, I can’t imagine my life without the information I’ve gathered from these sources, thanks Habermas for enriching my life with the depth of strangers opinions, trivial or not.



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