Get access

MEDIATING KINSHIP: Country, Family, and Radio in Northern Australia



In Aboriginal Northern Australia, request programs are a ubiquitous, marked format for Indigenous radio broadcasting. Emerging from the activist drive of Indigenous media producers, and often instrumentally geared toward connecting prison inmates with their families and communities, such request programs invariably involve performative “shout-outs” to close and extended kin. These programs bring together a lengthy history of Aboriginal incarceration and the geographic dispersal of kin networks with country and rock musics, the charged meaning of family in contemporary Indigenous Australia, and the emergent expressive idioms of radio requests. The essay discusses the performative, mediated interweaving of speech and country song in such request programs, analyzing their significance as recursive forms of an emergent, Indigenous public culture.