Dear Nicole and Chris, Nakakalurkey!: A Textual Analysis of the Counseling Segment of the Radio Program Tambalan ng Isang Balasubas at ng Isang Balahura


This thesis examines the counseling segment of 90.7 LOVE Radio’s Tambalan ng Isang Balasubas at ng Isang Balahura. Operating on Stuart Hall’s Encoding-Decoding Theory and Norman Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the study examined the counseling segment by specifically looking at the following elements: the problems being consulted in the program, the interaction among the hosts (counselors) and texters (counselees), and kind of language being used in the counseling process. Known for its comic approach in dealing with people’s problems, Tambalan, as an entertainment program, was also examined in the light of how Filipinos perceive humor.

This study, being a highly qualitative research, employed equally qualitative methods as well. The text, which is the counseling segment, was examined through textual analysis. As part of the study’s objectives, series of multiple focus interviews and a focus group discussion were conducted with the tambalanistas, the avid followers of the program. The tambalanistas who were interviewed for this study comprised of those who have participated in the counseling segment and those who are just keen listeners of the program. Interviews with an expert in Counseling Psychology and the hosts of the program were conducted as well.

Results of the study revealed that the usual types of problems being consulted in the counseling segment of Tambalan are matters connected to family, romance and self. The study’s findings also revealed that the host-texter interaction present in the counseling segment is characterized by the dominance of the hosts or the counselors over the texters (counselees). Even the hosts’ interaction with one another is also characterized by an unequal level of participation, with Nicole (Balahura) dominating the discussion over Chris (Balasubas). Meanwhile, the use of gay lingo, witty punchlines, and humor characterized the kind of language being used in the counseling segment.

Comic relief was the primary reason cited by the tambalanistas, both participants of the counseling segment and who are just avid listeners, as to why they continue to be avid followers of Tambalan. The value of the advice only came in as a secondary motivation. Despite being made objects of entertainment on-air, interviews with the tambalanistas showed that the counseling in Tambalan, especially the advices being given by Nicole and Chris, should not be taken seriously.

Meanwhile, an expert in Counseling Psychology explained this phenomenon of Filipinos resorting to counseling programs in media as simply a manifestation of Filipinos’ fanaticism over the media, especially that participation to programs like Tambalan become more and more accessible even to ordinary Filipinos through the technology of texting. The proliferation of counseling programs in media has further impeded the development of the professional practice of counseling in the Philippines. According to the expert, this has added to the long-standing Filipino stigma that counseling therapy is only for people who have psychiatric problems.

Key Words: textual analysis, counseling, radio

Maaño, D.R. (2011). Dear Nicole and Chris, nakakalurkey!: A textual analysis of the counseling segment of the radio program Tambalan ng Isang Balasubas at ng Isang Balahura, Unpublished Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

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