I enjoy good talk radio, it can be very informative, educational, moving and even funny. I listen to a number of Air America shows when I am in the car, and even well done right wing radio can be interesting.
On the other hand, bad talk radio is just painful.
Start with an ill informed and unchallenging host, even less informed cohost, a partisan regular guest who is not identified as partisan, then add a scientific issue, and you have a formula for an embarrassing disaster.
Columbia's progressive radio AM 1310(?) has the Andy Thomas show every weekday afternoon. Most days is it nondescript, on a few days it can be downright awful.
Yesterday I tuned in while headed home. They were talking about Plan B. Andy was on the air, as were a couple of his co-host (producers, interns?) and Joshua Gross, the SC head for the Club For Growth (a very right wing group who's right wing stand I have never heard mentioned when he is a guest, he seems to be presented as some non-partisan expert on SC politics).
During the few minutes that I had the show on they were focused on the Plan-B news. It started badly, they confused Plan-B and RU-486. The referred to Plan-B as an abortion pill and the total sum of insightful commentary involved reading from 1st a drug company web site about the pill, then reading from an anti-choice web site.
A few callers were brought on. They just continued to muddy the waters. One listed the possible side effects of RU-486 as side effects of Plan-B, and the host either didn't know enough to correct this, or approved of this misinformation being spread about. The whole segment was a mess that brought far more heat than light to the debate.
And this is how too many complex issues are handled. Fact checking is nonexistent, absurd claims and statements go unchallenged, and salacious speculation seems to be the only fuel for too of many of this 3 hour show's segements.
Andy Thomas Joshua Gross