The Importance of Talk Radio

| July 30, 2015

By Chris Stigall
WPHT, Philadelphia
Talk Show Host

 

stigallchris writerPHILADELPHIA — A listener called the show today to define talk radio as he saw it.  He called it a place where average Americans of all means, politics and professions can discuss and explore important issues.  It’s not a matter of being famous, or being a member of an editorial board or Congress.   It’s not a nightly news anchor reading the teleprompter, delivering their version of the news.  Talk radio is of the people, by the people, and for the people, he said.

Simply, it’s the purest form of honest dialogue available in all of media.

Earlier this week at a live event, a listener explained the importance of talk radio in her life.  Not only does it help her through her days as her parents’ full-time caretaker, but she honestly believes there would be no publicly available opposing view to most media coverage today.

Maybe you agree or disagree with those sentiments, but there can be no disputing talk radio is a dominant driver of national news and debate weekly.

Just this week, on the same day – the most famous and popular news aggregate website in the world – The Drudge Report featured Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s commentary and continued coverage of the Planned Parenthood scandal.  Mark Levin’s upcoming best-seller Plunder and Deceit was featured asking “Can Book Rescue America’s Youth?” Michael Savage’s interview and comments about Donald Trump as “the Winston Churchill of our time” furthered discussion about the billionaire’s role in the presidential race.

Among these titans of talk making Drudge headlines that day was our show, I’m humbled and honored to say.  An interview we’d conducted with Richard Kessler about his book The First Family Detail, featured some surprising (or not so surprising) allegations.  He quotes former and current Secret Service agents that claim former President Clinton is still unfaithful to his wife.  Further, Mrs. Clinton is so vicious and nasty to her protection detail that it’s considered punishment within the organization to be assigned to her.

Some likely dismiss these allegations as salacious gossip.  To me, it speaks to character and doubts surrounding the sincerity, authenticity, and trustworthiness of a woman who wants the most powerful office in the world.

But that’s neither here nor there.

My larger point is – it’s thanks to our passionate listeners and sponsors there is a hunger for our content in talk radio.  Thanks to the vigilant, pioneering work of The Drudge Report, this content is disseminated even more widely than our shows may carry.   News organizations worldwide don’t ignore Drudge.  And when Drudge respects our shows and content as news, other news media can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

In a democratic republic, it is required that multiple points of view and multiple sources of information are heard for the public to make informed decisions.  I believe talk radio, by and large, is deeply invested in the fearless pursuit of intellectual debate and truth.

Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors.  I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both.

Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.

I’ve never been more proud to work in the format or more bullish about its future.  Our nation, and “we the people” need and depend on it.

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Chris Stigall is the morning host on CBS RADIO-owned news/talk outlet WPHT, Philadelphia.  He can be emailed at chris.stigall@cbsradio.com.

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Category: Opinions