"Talk, Talk, Talk: Opinion or Fact?"

By Sims, Judy Rene | Journalism History, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

"Talk, Talk, Talk: Opinion or Fact?"


Sims, Judy Rene, Journalism History


"Talk, Talk, Talk: Opinion or Fact?" Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Golden Dome Productions, 1995. 28 minutes, color.

Addressing the radio talk show format, this video effectively examines whether radio talk shows are educating Americans about the world around them or merely contributing to an atmosphere of cynicism and paranoia. "Fact or sheer opinion," the video explores the conditioning of information in society and its impact upon the formulation of public attitudes.

Frequent video inserts, wellchosen photographs and effective graphics make good use of innovative technology without distracting from the video's purpose. Its context varies from the inside of radio stations to political gatherings. A wide range of historical video inserts, from black and white 1930s footage to up-to-date video gathered at the 1995 National Radio Talk Convention, add depth and interest to the script.

Providing the viewer with an insightful look at the nature and function of the talk radio format, the video features interview commentary from radio talk show hosts such as Doug Stephan, Alan Colmes, Jerry Williams, Mike Siegel, Michael Reagan, Ann Williams, and Blanquita Cullum.

Technically, the video is well produced. Shots of the diverse talk show hosts are well composed, audio is clear and well mixed, and shots of pictures, photographs, and graphics enhance the clarity of the message. Dissolves in and out of black and white historic 1920s photographs, shots of trade publications, and computer-generated graphics are effectively done. One male voice moderates the production, clearly presenting the video's message.

Beginning with a shot of an antique 1920s-style radio, the video provides the viewer with historic context. Explaining how the emergence of radio in the 1920s revolutionized society and affected the way Americans worked, played and communicated, the video then makes clear how radio has continued to influence the political views of Americans, their language, and their values. A photograph of Frank Crosiar provides evidence of the earliest days of talk radio when the format featured a host interviewing a celebrity guest or acknowledged leader.

The video questions and then explains the meteoric rise in the popularity of radio talk shows.

Although a source is not stated, the viewer is informed that "ten years ago only 200 radio stations relied on talk programming to attract advertisers and audiences. …

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