Remember when the listener had an opportunity to voice his or her opinion on the radio talk show? There was either a specific subject to be debated, or it was “Open Line,” which meant the listener could speak about whatever was on his or her mind.
Joe Pyne had one of the popular national talk shows, taking listener calls after ranting about a topic. KGO San Francisco is another station that many west coast listeners were familiar with. Locally, KTW featured several talk shows, KIRO had Public Pulse, KING-AM had Irving Clark Jr.
Talk radio is now a 3-hour rant session for the hosts, take it or leave it. There is no interaction, except text messages which are sometimes read on-air. The spontaneity is gone.
The original form of talk radio might be politically incorrect. The average Joe is not PC and doesn’t hold back when vexxed. People tend to be more rude and easily ticked off. They misbehave in public, losing their tempers over everything from airline flight delays to a mistake in their McDonald’s drive-thru order. It is such a spectacle that videos of their antics abound on YouTube.
Poor customer service, it’s everywhere. Let’s bitch about that for three hours on a talk show. That is a great way to vent and share. Call-in with your stories. You could run with that topic for a whole week. The harried listener who tackles the issues of everyday life, has only social media to turn to. Life can be so frustrating that it is almost comical.
There is no end to hot topics, with so much wrong with our nation. Political chat can get heated. Stations would need a seven-second delay and someone to field the calls for the host.
Listener interaction might give listeners a reason to tune in and help struggling talk radio stations play the ratings game. Though it might be cost prohibitive in the eyes of corporate bean counters, it would be entertaining. Maybe more so than the 3-hour grandstanding by some of the hosts on the radio each day.