On Talk Radio

In class, we covered several topics including TV ads, websites, and debates. There was one politically charge medium that we didn’t discuss: Talk Radio. Channel 98.5 FM delivers most of my radio news. It only takes a few moments to realizes that this particular channel is very much a right leaning (to put it mildly) channel, rhetorically. It is home to pundits such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who both have a lot to say. Their shows are very different from the traditional news show. The obviously one is that there is no video element. All you have is the host’s voice. Hannity is higher pitched than Limbaugh, who also come off as louder. Limbaugh in particular uses the absence of his voice to emphasize his points. He will make a statement and let it ring. If the point is of extraordinary importance, he will repeat himself, often adding in the pauses. Usually they are talking alone. This gives the monologues a soapbox feeling. They are often talking about how awful the liberal media is, which adds to that preachy effect, assuming you don’t agree with what they say. Otherwise, they seem like the guys who have the guts to say what no one else will. Another significant difference is the interactivity the show has. They often have callers to comment on what they said. In this sense, it is like a synchronous audio-only blog. The hosts talks about a topic, and the listeners chime in. However, they also control the calls heavily and will dismiss callers if they are too off base. In all, the talk radio shows provide a different avenue to get a take on the political world that beats to their own drums.

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