LNI: Best Talk Show Practices

Talk shows serve an important role for the community of radio listeners. Whether the program is driven by newsmaker interviews, or issue-oriented debate, or tapping the views of the callers, you give people a place to gather.

News oriented talk shows on public radio set a high bar. They stand for accurate information. They prioritize significant issues and introduce important newsmakers and opinion-leaders. They help local residents grasp complex matters and prepare them to make local choices. Perhaps most importantly, by creating a regular time and space for discussion, they help people speak, listen and think out loud.

Tools to help managers and producers make the most of their talk show were developed by NPR’s Local News Initiative (now archived at PRPD website): Local News Initiative Talk Show Handbook