Need help with my writing homework on The Strength and Weakness of Talk Radio as a Forum for Political Debate. Write a 1250 word paper answering; The UK has BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Five Live, and talkSPORT which follow a talk radio format. BBC London uses the same format as well for quite a few of its programs. Independent Local Radio stations which came up after the removal of BBC’s monopoly in 1970 accept talk radio as the norm for the majority of their projects.
The radio itself has had ups and downs in terms of popularity with the public but in the present day and age, it is one of the fastest-growing forms of mass communication (Hendy, 2000). It is a source for understanding the popular culture of a region and a method to judge the penetration of certain ideas. For example, in the US there are more than 1,200 talk radio shows every day and the number of people reached by the shows goes into the tens of millions. Social scientists have gone as far as to say that it is as a medium more important than the internet since the use of the telephone it can allow for extremely cheap access to the opinions of others and the reception of many different ideas from a wide spectrum of society (Scannell, 1991).
Talk radio in particular is important as a medium for political debate since it allows people to get their say in. Of course, the words of an individual may not represent the consensus of a whole society but the debate caused by those words might be important for the whole world (Scannell, 1991). As opposed to simply watching a political debate on television where the opinions of a few experts are given, or even reading the newspaper where the opinions of only one person are received, talk radio allows anyone who has to drive to be a participant in a political dialog to be a contributor (Scannell, 1996).
In terms of the things which talk radio focuses on, it is a clear winner when compared to syndicated shows or the coverage of events on television. Issues that may be left alone by television due to a wide-ranging audience with conservative sensibilities are often covered with a lot of discussion and detail with talk radio (Hendy, 2000).