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CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES
Talk Radio

What Is This "Talk Radio Phenomenon?"

"Since 1990, the number of stations that devote the bulk of their day to talk has almost tripled, to 1,130 from 405," (Business Week, May 22, 1995).

Defining radio is no simple task. Most stations classify themselves by a particular format, such as classical, oldies, rock, news, sports, Christian, talk or "other." Even with narrowly focused formats, bear in mind that a single station can air as many as 20 different programs during any given day or week, and those programs may include a wide range of audiences. For example:

FM radio, on average, attracts more listeners. Stations on the FM band are usually more mass market, and formats tend toward music due to the stereo sound quality capabilities of the band.

AM radio usually specializes more, and the majority of the talk, all-news, all-sports and evangelical stations are found here. The much talked about "talk radio phenomenon" is mostly occurring on the AM dial.

Some FM and AM stations are public, part of the federally sponsored Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and rely upon government funding and listener donations for a substantial portion of operating costs. Commercial stations typically depend on advertising revenue for operating costs.

The different programs on a station are either nationally produced and syndicated by a radio network (similar in theory to a television network, but available on a show-by-show, paid basis) or produced locally.

In 1987, the Reagan Administration rescinded the fairness doctrine for radio and television broadcasters. In other words, this type of media is under no legal obligation to balance a political issue.

When participating in talk radio, you will most frequently be working with talk programs on the AM dial that utilize guest speakers and question and answer sessions. You will ideally be calling locally produced programs or national programs syndicated to your local stations.

From: 20/20 Vision, at: www.2020vision.org

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