Hate radio - how much latitude does it deserve?

I know most talk shows run out of material in week one.
So they make up things to keep whatever audience they have at that point, mostly homebound or work bound losers who hang by wireless receiver set like the RCA Victor dog.
Sometimes they get mileage out of general frustration and topics like need to enforce laws about immigration, drugs, whatever.
Other times they get very specific and personal. If a sports figure is in a scandal, they may incite people to harass him on the field.
Or the reverse, harass the owners or cops or his accuser for not assuming his innocence.

Where’s the line? Does the host have more obligations than the callers? But what if he baits them into going too far?

Wow, I didn’t know that my listening to talk radio to and from work makes me a loser. Thanks for the insight.

Can you give a specific example of what you have heard that seemed to go too far? Have you actually heard a talk show host incite listeners to harass the police? I don’t think telling people to mock players on the field is going too far (legally anyway), it’s part of the game.

While I hate Tom Leykus’ constantly telling our daughters to “show their racks” (which is a crime if done in public as he advocates), the bottom line is we are all responsible for our own actions and must face the consequences if we take a suggestion and take action.

Did the DJs that baited that couple into having sex in that church of cathedral face any consequences or just the couple?

As you say, we’re all responsible for our own actions.

The DJs didn’t have sex in the cathedral, that couple did. It’s the couple who were fined, not the DJs.

(I believe they were fired for giving the station a bad name, BTW.)

That would be Opie & Anthony.

A few things about that incident.

  1. The couple were not baited by any strech of the imagination, unless you count doing incredibly asinine and perverted things in public in order to win some cheap radio prize.

  2. Opie & Anthony were fired and their radio show was pulled from syndication. Far as I know, they are still off the air.

  3. I believe the couple faced charges of indecent exposure/lewd behavior. Never heard about the outcome though.

They are, pending expiration of their contract with Infinity/Westwood One.


Speculation is they’ll move to satellite radio when they’re free.

Anyway, these guys are the Michael Savage of adult hot talk. Absolute garbage, a complete waste of time.

Welcome to the SDMB, Jjinn.

Talk radio shows do not run out of material in week one. If you do “know” this please provide a cite proving this claim. Most talk radio discusses current events so there is no end of material for them to talk about.

If the losers such as myself that listen to talk radio do it on the way to and from work, how can we be hanging by the wireless reciever set? Which is it?

Also, what exactly makes talk radio listeners losers? Might it be the fact that talk radio is generally conservative so the listeners probably are also. If so, you may want to consider narrowing your definition to include less people than simply everyone who disagrees with you politically.

We would be happy do discuss what lines there are for a radio DJ to cross but you need to be more specific. Do you have an example of somone encouraging the harrassing of a sports player on the field, or harrassing cops?

The recent topic is Kobe Bryant, where people are calling for the heads of his acuser, her lawyer, the DA…

This is too much, and there should be a policy of having a delay to allow blocking or muffling such talk while they switch to the next caller.

A policy by who? The station? I believe in many instances, there is already such a policy.

By the government? The First Amendment would prevent such a policy.

You are going to have to be a lot more specific. Are you willing to define anyone who believes Kobe Bryant is innocent as engaging in “hate speech”? Or is there some more specific line you would like to draw (and defend)?


Well, almost every talk show I know of does have a five second delay, so that, if a caller says something inappropriate (usually obscenity), the host can “beep” the caller and make sure what the caller said doesn’t go out.

Hate radio isn’t the same as Talk radio. There are quite a few talk shows that are pleasant, friendly, and non-political.

Hate radio doesn’t deserve the time of day. However, it enjoys the same constitutional protection of any other form of speech.

Political radio is also an interesting way to avoid campaign finance laws (the constitutionality of which, of course, can be debated…) Suppose that a candidate has spent his limit, and isn’t allowed to buy any more spots. That’s okay: his friends on a particular talk radio show will have him on as a guest and let him talk all he wants. They’ll also spend hours and hours denigrating his opponent in the foulest possible language. The show becomes, in essence, a 3-hour per day advertisement, mostly couched in language attacking the opponent.

Of course, we used to have a “fairness doctrine” in broadcasting, to try to put a limit on exactly this abuse…

By the way, it doesn’t only apply to radio…and it isn’t always legal… A newspaper editor of my acquaintance happily accepted under-the-table money from the supporters of a political candidate in return for which he published “news stories” about the campaign. The stories always showed the candidate in a good light, and quoted extensively from his platform – but it was news, not advertising… Right?

The only real answer is: search for the truth, avoid liars, and don’t buy products advertised by prominent spokesmen for public hatred.

(Almost typed “pubic hatred.” Don’t buy those products either…)



Were there legal reasons for doing this?

By the way, is Howard Stern still funny? His show played briefly in Montreal a while back, but was dropped and I haven’t heard him since.

And the OP hasn’t given nearly enough information to form a debate, by the way. Specifics, please.

And the RCA Victor dog was fixated by a gramaphone, by the way, not a radio.

Could you cite a specific example of this happening?


All’s I know is, if my local Clear Channel outlet isn’t being slipped money under the table by the Republican National Committee, they’re missing some sure income …

Sure: the ongoing three-hour hate-fest held daily by certain Los Angeles and San Diego radio stations, where the talk-show hosts unceasingly bash Gray Davis.

The Ryan: nope. It was a crime, pure and simple. (And the guy was sufficiently unashamed that he actually boasted to me of it…) The problem is that it’s so tenuous a crime, very difficult to prove (I guess you could set up a sting operation and try to catch the guy taking the money on camera…)

(My own personal opinion is that there should not be any finance spending limits… But that’s another kettle of prawns…)


Jackie the Joke Man left Howard’s show a couple years ago. Artie Lang took his place. Howard and Robin are still good, and Artie’s good for what he is, but the show just isn’t the same.

I beg to differ. Jackie didn’t really contribute that much to my enjoyment of the show. The ratings are higher than ever. Howard has a formula down for how to have an entertaining show.

Really? What law was he breaking? I can’t see how this would be Constitutional.

It was a violation of campaign finance regulations; the sponsor was, in essence, “buying an ad” under the pretense of supporting “news coverage.”

As in many crimes, prosecution would involve demonstrating intent, and that’s mighty hard to do.

Unconstitutional? A lot of us feel that all campaign finance limits are unconstitutional…