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Host power and triadic conversation management in Hong Kong talk radio

Autor: Miao Li & Francis Lap Fung Lee
Revista: ”. Discourse & Communication Nº 7 (2)
Link: http://dcm.sagepub.com/content/7/2/153.full.pdf+html

Past research on talk radio discourses has illustrated the crucial role of the hosts in managing the conversation and shaping the voices of callers.
However, past research focused mostly on dyadic host–caller interactions. Radio talk shows in Hong Kong, in contrast, often have more than one host.

This study is interested in the implications of the triadic setting of radio talk shows in Hong Kong. It uses Radio Television Hong Kong’s evening program Open Line Open View as a case study. Employing the techniques of conversation analysis, this study replicates some of past studies’ findings about the source of host power.

More importantly, the analysis shows that the second host in a triadic setting can play three important roles: the program conductor, the buffer, and the counterweight. The micro-level interactional patterns have important implications for the overall character of the program itself and the role of talk radio in the politics of public opinion in Hong Kong.

More generally, this study illustrates the utility of paying attention to the differences between dyads and triads in the microsociological analysis of conversations in broadcast media.