Talk radio is not limited to the AM band. "Non-commercial" usually referred to as "public radio," which is located in a reserved spectrum of the FM band, also broadcasts talk programs. Commercial all-talk stations can also be found on the FM band in many cities across the US. These shows often rely less on political discussion and analysis than their AM counterparts, and often employ the use of pranks and "bits" for entertainment purposes. In the United States and Canada, satellite radio services offer uncensored "free-wheeling" original programming, such as The Howard Stern Show and The Opie & Anthony Show, formerly featured on terrestrial, government-censored radio. ABC News & Talk is an example of "rebagging" for the digital airwaves shows featured on their terrestrial radio stations.
Starting around 2005, the technology for Internet-based talk-radio shows became cost effective. Now, it is possible for an individual to use a variety of services to host an Internet-based talk-radio show without investing any of their own capital.
Talk radio as a listener-participation format has existed since at least the mid-1940s. Working for New York's WMCA in 1945, Barry Gray was bored with playing music and put a telephone receiver up to his microphone to talk with bandleader Woody Herman. Soon followed by listener call-ins, this is often credited as the first instance of talk radio, and Gray is often billed as "The hot mama of Talk Radio."
In 1948 Alan Courtney--- New York disk jockey and co-composer of the popular song, "Joltin' Joe Dimaggio"---began a call-in program for the Storer station in Miami, Florida (WGBS) and then on Miami's WQAM, WINZ and WCKR the "Alan Courtney Open Phone Foru
Two radio stations—KMOX, 1120 AM in St. Louis, Missouri, and KABC, 790 AM in Los Angeles—adopted an all-talk show format in 1960, and both claim to be the first to have done so. KABC station manager Ben Hoberman and KMOX station manager Robert Hyland independently developed the all-talk format.
Radio Monitor on the NBC Radio Network was probably the first Talk oriented radio network. Broadcasting from its 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios. Personalities such as Joe Garagiola, Bill Cullen and a host of other top talent were heard "coast to coast."
In the 1970s and early 1980s, as many listeners abandoned AM music formats for the high fidelity sound of the FM radio dial, the Talk Radio format began to catch on in more large cities. Former music stations such as WLW (Cincinnati, Ohio), WHAS (Louisville, Kentucky), WHAM (Rochester, New York), WLS (Chicago, Illinois), KFI (Los Angeles, California), WRKO (Boston, Massachusetts), WBAP (Ft. Worth and Dallas, Texas), and WABC (New York, New York) made the switch to all-talk as their ratings slumped due to listener migration to the FM band.
The most successful pioneer in the 1990s talk radio movement was the politically conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh's success demonstrated that there was a nation-wide market for passionately-delivered conservative (and in many cases, Republican) commentary on contemporary news, events, and social trends. Other radio talk show hosts (who describe themselves as either conservative or libertarian) have also had success as nationally-syndicated hosts, including Sean Hannity, Jon Arthur, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. The Salem Radio Network syndicates a group of religiously-oriented Republican activists, including evangelical Christian Hugh Hewitt and Jewish conservatives Dennis Prager and Michael Medved; these are mostly distributed in a 24-hour network format among Salem's own stations, and they generally earn ratings much less than their syndicated counterparts.
In the Summer of 2007, conservative talk show hosts mobilized public opposition to the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill, which eventually failed. Conservative hosts Limbaugh, Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Hannity, Beck, Levin and Hewitt coalesced around endorsing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for president at the end of January 2008 (after Fred Thompson, the described favorite of some of the hosts, dropped out), in an effort to oppose the nomination of Sen. John McCain ; however, Romney suspended his campaign in February of the same year, and endorsed McCain. During the primaries, Limbaugh in particular had endorsed a plan to do whatever it took to prolong the Democrats' nomination by encouraging political conservatives to cross over to the Democrats and voting for the trailing candidate, a plan he calls "Operation Chaos."
Libertarians such as Jon Arthur, Host Of Jon Arthur Live! (based in Florida), Free Talk Live (based in New Hampshire), Penn Jillette (based in Las Vegas), Jay Severin (based in Boston, Massachusetts), and Mark Davis (based in Ft. Worth and Dallas, Texas) have also achieved some success. Many of these hosts also publish books, write newspaper columns, appear on television, and give public lectures (Limbaugh, again, was a pioneer of this model of multi-media punditry).
There had been some precursors for talk radio, such as the Los Angeles-area controversialist Joe Pyne, who would attack callers on his program in the early 1960s – one of his famous insults was "gargle with razor blades!"; the similar Bob Grant in New York City; and Wally George in Southern California. Grant remains on the air to this day.
Politically liberal talk radio aimed at a national audience has also emerged, although its ratings remain a fraction of conservative talk radio. Air America Radio, a network featuring The Al Franken Show, was founded in 2004. It billed itself as a "progressive alternative" to the conservative talk radio shows, although in contrast to most talk radio, it was a subsidized operation with wealthy backers buying airtime, and largely not able to support itself by selling commercial time to advertisers.
Some prominent examples of liberal talk radio shows currently in national syndication include: Jones Radio Networks talk show hosts Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, and Bill Press; Fox News host Alan Colmes, First Amendment Radio Network Libertarian host Jon Arthur, Air America Radio hosts Lionel, Thom Hartmann, and Rachel Maddow, and Nova M Radio's Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes. In some markets, local liberal hosts have existed for years, such as the British talk host Michael Jackson (who was on the air at KABC in Los Angeles beginning in 1968 and is currently at KGIL); Bernie Ward in San Francisco; Jack Ellery in New Jersey and Tampa; Dave Ross in Seattle, and Marc Germain in Los Angeles. A few earlier syndicated programs were hosted by prominent Democrats who were not experienced broadcasters, such as Jim Hightower, Jerry Brown, Mario Cuomo and Alan Dershowitz; these met with limited success, and Air America has been faced with various legal and financial problems.
Air America was sold to a new owner in March 2007, hired well known programmer David Bernstein, and began its "re-birth." Bernstein subsequently left in early 2008, but the struggling network remained on the air with a revamped line-up.
Liberal opinion radio has long existed on the Pacifica network, though only available in a small number of cities, and in formats that more often act as a volunteer-run community forum than as a platform for charismatic hosts who would be likely to attract a large audience. Conservative critics have long complained that the long-format news programming on National Public Radio (NPR) shows a liberal bias, although the network denies any partisan agenda.
Clear Channel Communications, with nearly 1,300 radio stations under its ownership - along with other owners - has in recent years added more liberal talk stations to their portfolio. These have primarily come from the conversion of AM facilities, most of which formerly had adult standards formats. Many complaints (all radio stations are required by the FCC to maintain, in their public files, copies of all correspondence from the public relating to station operations - for a period of three years from receipt) have been received from fans of this musical genre (Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, big band music," etc.) - but the left-leaning talk programming leans toward a much younger demographic, a group that advertisers covet.
Sports talk radio can be found locally and nationally (with the networks ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, and Sporting News Radio. 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).
Talk radio expanded dramatically when the BBC's monopoly on radio broadcasting was ended in the 1970s with the launch of Independent Local Radio.
Some notable British talk radio presenters include Tommy Boyd, James Whale, Steve Allen, Jon Gaunt, Nick Abbot, James Stannage, George Galloway,Ian Collins,Brian Hayes, Nicky Campbell, and Simon Mayo. Pete Price on CityTalk is also known as the DJ who rushed to the aid of a regular caller who died live on air during a call Previously, he kept a suicidal teenager talking for 45 minutes before meeting him to convince him against that course of action .
The only nationally-syndicated, politically oriented weekday talk radio show in Canada is Adler On Line, hosted by Charles Adler and heard on eleven stations across the country. Until 2006, Peter Warren's Warren on the Weekend was heard Saturdays and Sundays. Both programs are or were distributed by the Corus Radio Network and, coincidentally, both hosts had hosted different morning call-in programs in the same time slot on Winnipeg, Manitoba's CJOB 680 before they became nationally syndicated (Adler's show still originates from CJOB and retained its original title, while Warren was based in Victoria, British Columbia.) Prior to Adler On Line, Corus had syndicated Rutherford, hosted by Dave Rutherford and originating from its Calgary station, QR77. Rutherford is no longer syndicated nationally but continues to air in Calgary, Edmonton, and London. Rutherford Show is only airing in Alberta and only for 3 hours due to the continuous low radio ratings in 2007.
Other Canadian talk radio programs which have been syndicated to different markets include:
The two largest talk radio networks in Canada are the publicly owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's English language CBC Radio One and French language Première Chaîne. These stations typically produce their own local morning and afternoon programs and regional noon hour programs to go along with the network programming that is aired during the rest of the day. Both networks are commercial-free.
Privately owned talk radio syndication networks in Canada are generally formed for the purposes of sharing programs across a group of stations with common ownership, although some are formed to distribute their one or two talk radio programs to a number of stations regardless of ownership. The largest of these is the Corus Radio Network. Others include the CHUM Radio Network and the Standard Radio Network.
Syndicated programs from the United States which air on Canadian radio stations include:
'Talkback' radio, using an eight-second time lapse mechanism, began in Australia in April 1967, simultaneously on 2SM, Sydney (with Mike Walsh) and 3DB, Melbourne (with Barry Jones).
Talkback radio has historically been an important political forum in Australia and functions much like the cable news televisions in the United States, with live and 'saturated' coverage of political issues.
Catholics find relevance in all-talk radio: Religious network carves niche as sole outlet in Chicago area catering to church's faithful.
Dec 30, 2005; Byline: Dave Wischnowsky, Chicago Tribune Dec. 30--Until a few months ago, Maureen Smolinske had never heard of Relevant Radio,...