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Tuning with the listeners: portrait of citizens’ participation in the public opinion programmes Antena Aberta and Fórum TSF

Keywords: radio , citizens’ participation , audience discussion programmes

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Abstract:

Several studies have been able to identify the constant lack of interest of the scienti c community of communication towards the eld of radio (Antón & Serrano, 2007; Balsebre, 1994). This is probably a common aspect in some of the researchers who have dedicated their work in order to discuss several questions posed to the radio as a mass media profoundly connected with the social ecosystem. Probably it is harder though to nd identical perspectives regarding the current landscape of radio. Besides debating in certain way, how can we describe the actual state of this media, it is still important to focus on one of its historical characteristics: its connection with the telephone and, therefore, with listeners, as well as their eventual intervention. This has been a concern for some researchers as some of them have de ned participation as a especial format or genre within radio productions (Cébrian Herreros, 2001; Merayo Pérez, 2000). This represents the considerable importance that this concept has been able to gather in recent studies, as well as it contributes to reinforce the role of media institutions, in general, and radio, particularly, to draw ef cient strategies to integrate citizens’ intervention in a healthy and democratic way. From some theoretical approaches, notwithstanding citizens’ participation as a key concept of this paper, it will presented a case study which has basically tried to compare the dynamics of participation in two public opinion programmes in the Portuguese radio: Antena Aberta and Fórum da TSF. Hence these two formats will try to understand how Portuguese media productions are working presently to empower citizens to participate in these formats. Thus, some criteria have been drawn to establish this comparison, for instance, the available platforms to participate, selection of participants, schedules for the programme’sbroadcasting, or subjects discussed. Following the title of this journal, how structured are these new technologies in order to foster citizen’s participation in radio? Where is the actual place of telephone, which symbolized radio’s rst device of connection? Is it fair to suggest that all radio productions dedicated to citizen’s intervention are now taking advantage of these new technological and communicative platforms?

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