The Voice and Its Doubles: Media and Music in Northern Australia
Mediating Kinship: Radio’s Cultural Poetics
This chapter explores the relationship between forms of Aboriginal incarceration, kinship, and emergent expressive idioms entailed by radio request programs. These programs draw together recorded speech with the poetics of country music and aim to reconnect kin dispersed across the prisons and hospitals of Australia’s North. In tying expressive speech to recorded song, request programs create possibilities for creative, intertextual reference across the speech-song boundary, allowing requesters and DJs to draw forms of kinship reference together with well-known, moving tropes of country song in maximally affecting, pointed forms of address. The chapter draws on sociolinguistic frameworks of social deixis and person reference to open an empirical, ethnographic window on two interdependent axes of Indigenous radio’s staging of the voice: its imbrication with networks of kinship relations and local epistemologies of “networked relations”; and the creative, expressive labor required to secure the immediacy of satellite radio’s mediation.