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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Can Talk Radio Pierce the Filter Bubble?

In recent months you may have noticed one or two LBC posts popping up in your Facebook feed – most probably featuring James O’Brien or Nick Ferrari, although there’s a good chance it may have been Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins.

Whoever your favourite LBC presenter is, we’ve been working really hard to ‘visualise’ radio, creating video formats that are captivating, thought-provoking and shareable. Some of these videos have reached over 20 million news feeds which I think, for a two minute slice of live radio, is pretty good.

Talk Radio has a central role in helping all of us understand the political landscape we now live in – and we’re very lucky to have such a brilliant team of presenters who can engage an audience and get them to contribute to the debate. And it’s the experience of listening to both presenters and callers that, I hope, will restore some of the basics around conversational etiquette that seems to have been erased through social media. As Socrates probably never said – if you want to reach a solution, you’ve got to listen and understand both sides of an argument.

Ok that’s enough academia. If you haven’t listened to LBC or seen us on Facebook yet (impossible!), I’ve chosen some recent clips. I hope you can join us soon.

Update: Buzzfeed published an interview with James O’Brien which touched on the role talk radio can play in a post-truth era. Some choice quotes below:

“Passionately held opinions that don’t stand up to the barest scrutiny kind of sums up a lot of Brexit supporters and a lot of austerity deniers, a lot of people who still somehow can be persuaded that doctors are against them, doctors are the enemy, firefighters are the enemy, teachers are their enemy. I think what I do, if I’m going to be self-aggrandising for one moment, is [taking on the fact that] in what they call the mainstream media, there aren’t many voices slagging off what the rest of the media is doing, and what 80% of the media is doing is encouraging us to punch ourselves in the face on a daily basis. And we are.”

“What Brexit has done is frightened people. I don’t want to necessarily suggest that the country has made a terrible mistake but I think the conflict, the tension between evidence and opinion, has never been more acute and that possibly lends itself to a phone-in show more than it does to other things.”

Is the success of this approach, and the monologues, simply of their time?

“It seems to be a combination of honest polemic to power, rather than all the other prominent commentators who seem to be putting the boot into people with… I don’t know, I honestly don’t know, I don’t even want to overanalyse it in case it slips out of reach, or in case it’s wrong. But I think everyone’s on Facebook now, everyone is sharing clips, everyone is looking for content, and that simply wasn’t true five years ago or even one year ago in quite the same way.”

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