Although my listening to terrestrial radio has dropped to something that rounds to nil, I do listen to a number of timeshifted and/or area-shifted radio programs. The newest one I have added is the syndicated Penn Jillette talk show on FreeFM. I’m subscribed to this RSS feed which originates from DC. I really enjoy Penn but from the promos they run during the commercial breaks I can tell there is nothing else on that station that I’d remotely be interested in. It sounds like Penn and then a bunch of knucklehead shock jock Stern wannabes on this format.
It’s very interesting to listen to how he handles the callers. On a recent show, he was talking about abortion and a woman called in with her arguments about where life begins. Penn did not agree with her position, but as they talked he didn’t ridicule her points but actually refined her arguments with her. He pointed out ways that she could clarify it to make it more persuasive to him. By the time they were done, she could restate her position in one sentence – “I believe the smallest right of the already born outweighs the largest right of the unborn.” Again, that is not necessarily his belief but he got her into the most well articulated and readily understood form of hers. It was kind of amazing to listen to. Lots of talk shows claim to be about discussion and discourse, but this might be the first time I’ve really heard that in action.