Talk Shows: Splitting the Core

Listener: They said later they were going to take calls from the audience
Moderator: Is that a good idea? 
Listener: I never think so.

In the 2006 “Sense of Place” research study done by PRPD and NPR’s Local News Initiative, we found that the call-in format itself tends to alienate an important segment of public radio listeners.  Here are some listener verbatims  that illustrate:

I can’t stand call in shows because my time is valuable I don’t want to listen to somebody who doesn’t have expertise.

You’re not really learning anything. It’s entirely insignificant.

I like the person being interviewed to have good credentials and the person with the cell phone who pulls over on the side rarely does

I don’t like listening to people formulate their opinions right in front of me. I like to be informed by people who’ve had some time to think about it and maybe do some research.

I don’t really give a crap what someone has to say. I want to listen to the experts on particular issues. I don’t care what my neighbor has to say about it.

Sometimes I wish they would just not take any callers and let the guests talk a little more. I don’t really want to hear what my neighbor thinks. I can go across the street and ask my neighbor. I want to hear what their guests have to say because they have so much to offer and they have such interesting guests!

That’s usually what turns me off…idiot after idiot calling in – people that can’t form a coherent sentence.

They’ve got a point of view and when the point ends….once they’ve said it… I’m not sure that they move the content forward.

I really enjoyed the host’s intro and was dreading the moment the conversation started. I always turn it off because I feel like it’s kind of a lazy way to do the news. I feel that guy gave us a whole lot of information in the space of a minute or two. And as soon as people start talking and he starts talking, it’s just very repetitious and often they don’t have much to say.

I’m not someone who listens too much to call-in type talk shows and this is just the same kind of thing where somebody’s just chattin’ away.

They have the same callers sometimes. (groans). There’s this one guy who irritates me so much and as soon as I hear he’s on the phone I’m like “Oh brother!”

Sometimes the listeners who call in can set (the host) adrift on another point and he goes off on that tangent.