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Talk radio
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Talk radio

Talk radio are radio stations and programs which focus on holding some sort of public discussions. Listeners participate in the programs by calling a phone number (which is often busy due to a high volume of calls), usually speaking to a call screener - usually the program's producer and so forth - who selects the most interesting and insightful callers and waiting several minutes before reaching the actual talk show host. Many political talk radio hosts tend to antagonize their callers (and vice versa), often by engaging in shouting matches, putting them on mute, interrupting frequently, and simply hanging up on them.

The first radio station to adopt an all talk show format was KMOX, 1120 AM in St. Louis, MO. Legendary station manager Robert Hyland developed the format after he arrived at the station in 1960. At the time, KMOX had seen its ratings slip to the bottom of the St. Louis market, the result of the popularity of AM "Top 40" music radio stations. Almost immediately, KMOX became the highest rated radio station in St. Louis, a position it has held for forty years.

In the late 1970s, as more and more listeners abandoned AM music formats for the cleaner sound of the FM dial, the Talk Radio format began to catch on in more large cities. Many people think that if not for talk radio hosts, such as, Rush Limbaugh, AM radio might not exist today. Former legendary music stations such as WLW/Cincinnati, WHAS/Louisville, WHAM/Rochester, NY, WLS/Chicago, KFI/Los Angeles. and WABC/New York made the switch to all-talk as their ratings slumped from the listener migration. In addition to AM, many talk radio programs can be found on NPR (National Public Radio).

In the 1990s in the United States it grew to heretofore unseen popularity, primarily due to the popularity of programs by controversial right-wing political conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Matt Drudge (Los Angeles area), Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Reagan, libertarians such as Neal Boortz, Gary Nolan, and "shock jock" Howard Stern. Liberal left-wing (such as Al Franken) and centrist programs are gradually emerging.

There have been many other subjects of discussion in talk radio, including advice about morality (for example, from Dr. Joy or Dr. Laura), mental health (from David Viscott), computers (Leo Laporte, Kim Komando), cooking, consumer advocacy (e.g., Clark Howard), automobiles (for example, Car Talk), and finance (Bob Brinker's Money Talk, Dave Ramsey).

Others specialize in talk radio comedy such as Phil Hendrie. George Noory and Art Bell take turns hosting the late-night talk radio show Coast to Coast AM, which deals with a variety of paranormal topics.

In the United Kingdom, the leading talk radio station is talkSPORT, formerly called Talk Radio.

See also: talk show