Music beats talkback and sports
Not everybody likes the same programmes on the radio, though. “Talkback radio programming was a bit divisive, some people like it and some people don't like it,” Amanda says. “The majority of the people I talked to liked music, while only few people liked sports.”
Some radio listeners were very aware about the role of the radio in their lives. “Some were saying that they were managing their moods through music. There were also people saying that it was something about the human voice that was special,” Amanda says.
“It's not simply music on the radio, there is something else that is special about the radio,” Amanda says. “I want to understand what that is and how we can capitalise on this to create radio programming that might be better for mental wellbeing.”
Wellbeing through music
In the course of her research, Amanda read over two hundred research papers about music and wellbeing. “There were more than five hundred different reported benefits ,” Amanda says. “That shows how much being involved in music is good for us.”
People reported benefits for mental wellbeing, social wellbeing and physical wellbeing. “There were also spiritual-related elements and quality of life elements,” Amanda says. “There's a whole range of benefits that are not mutually exclusive. You can receive multiple benefits from engaging in music.”
Connecting with people through the radio
Committed radio listeners also seem to create remote relationships with the presenters. “There is something about the regularity of hearing the same person speaking to you. We know that regularity is important for people, when involved in activities,” Amanda says, adding that looking forward to certain radio programmes is something that can create positive emotions as well.
“For example, on Wednesday at 3pm there might be this particular programme, so they tune in. It's a familiar voice, they know what's going on,” says Amanda. “That gives a lot of power to the role of the radio and the presenter.”
The radio presenter and the community
In this respect, Amanda is looking at what community radio presenters do to build relationships with their listeners. Being volunteers, community radio presenters don’t get paid for their work.
However, there are other benefits for all involved. “The presenters are conduits to creating wellbeing for the listeners and the communities they work in. They also get benefits to their own wellbeing, through that volunteering work,” Amanda says. “There is this really nice multiple layering of wellbeing benefits that are built through presenting on the radio.”
This is something that Amanda also noticed when she was working with community choirs . “It was that social interaction that people were looking forward to. The radio is offering something quite similar in that same way.”