The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Talk radio

Talk radio are radio stations and programs which focus on holding some sort of public discussions. Such shows always include an element of listener participation.

Listeners contribute to talk radio by calling a show's toll-free phone number, or in some cases, by participating in an Internet forum sponsored by the show. Contributions are usually screened by a show's producer.

The first radio station to adopt an all talk show format was KMOX, 1120 AM in St. Louis, Missouri. Legendary station manager Robert Hyland developed the format, which gave listeners the ability to phone in and ask questions on the air, after he became manager of the station in 1960. At the time, KMOX had seen its ratings slipping. This was due in large part to the popularity of AM "Top 40" music radio stations. Almost immediately, KMOX became the highest rated radio station in St. Louis, a position it has held for forty years.

In the late 1970s, as more and more listeners abandoned AM music formats for the high fidelity stereo sound of the FM radio dial, the Talk Radio format began to catch on in more large cities. Some think that if not for talk radio hosts AM radio might not exist today. Former legendary music stations such as WLW (Cincinnati, Ohio), WHAS (Louisville, Kentucky), WHAM (Rochester, New York), WLS (Chicago, Illinois), KFI AM (Los Angeles, California) and WABC (New York, New York) made the switch to all-talk as their ratings slumped from the listener migration.

Talk radio is not limited to AM frequencies; shows like Talk of the Nation and Car Talk can also be found on the mostly FM-based National Public Radio. Some commercial talk stations can also be found on the FM band in cities like Los Angeles and Boston.

In the United Kingdom, the leading talk radio station is talkSPORT, formerly called Talk Radio.

U.S. politically-oriented talk radio

The United States saw a large growth in the popularity of talk radio during the 1990s, primarily due to programs by political conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, G. Gordon Liddy, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, and Michael Reagan. Libertarians such as Neal Boortz and Gary Nolan have also achieved some success.

Liberal and progressive talk radio has also emerged, with programming from Air America Radio (with shows such as The Al Franken Show) and shows such as The Ed Schultz Show. Such shows follow earlier alternatives to conservative talk radio hosted by people such as Jim Hightower.

Variety of formats

Other topics of discussion in talk radio include:

Others specialize in talk radio comedy such as Phil Hendrie. George Noory and Art Bell take turns hosting the late-night talk radio show Coast to Coast AM, which deals with a variety of paranormal topics. Some shock jocks such as Howard Stern, Don Imus, and Tom Leykis, are also talk radio hosts.

Sports talk radio can be found locally and nationally (with the networks ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, and Sporting News Network). Sports talk stations like WFAN in New York City and WEEI in Boston have done well in the ratings (aided by baseball and football game broadcasts.)

See also

Last updated: 02-07-2005 01:44:19
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55