The Listening Post

The Right Frequency: Is talk radio dividing America?

In a Listening Post special, Flo Phillips travels across the US to ask what role conservative talk radio is playing in polarising American politics.

All day, every day, conservative talk radio hosts keep millions of Americans company as they commute, work and go about their daily lives.

The mix of opinionated, entertaining and unapologetically right-wing talk has proven a winning broadcast formula – a billion-dollar industry – one that has given a voice to an audience that long felt unheard.

But with partisan issues dominating today’s political discussion, is the controversial conservative commentary driving much of the division?

Ahead of the midterm elections, Reporter Flo Phillips and Producer Johanna Hoes travel parts of the country to understand the power of talk radio – the sway it holds over Americans, and the role it is playing in the division of the United States.


Dannagal Young – Author, Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear and Laughter in the United States, & professor, communication and political science, University of Delaware

Brian Rosenwald – Author, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States & scholar in residence, University of Pennsylvania

Michael Harrison – Founder & publisher, Talkers Magazine

Jeff Katz – Talk radio host, The Jeff Katz Show

Alex Brookhouse – Truck driver

Wendy Yohman – Restaurant owner

Shelly Perkins – Advertising and marketing consultant, & part-time Lyft driver