Tonight’s Host: John Ziegler

talk-radioWhere to begin with this one? I would start by crediting David Foster for writing an incredible piece. He was able to bring the audience into the studio with poetic imagery of host John Ziegler’s reactions and movements, the studio setting, and a conversational story-line.

For me personally, the Host read like talk radio, talking about a talk radio show. What does that mean? Foster portrayed Ziegler’s conversations, the setting of the station, problems in the media(a la the OJ Simpson scandal, Scott Peterson trial), switching and back and forth between the mediums. In the text, Ziegler was the talk radio show host arguing and with his callers about substantial topics.

When the piece got into Ziegler’s conversations with callers, it was extremely moving. Perhaps the most interesting conversation he had was with caller Daryl from Temecula.

Arguing over the OJ Simpson murder and whether Ziegler was a racist, Daryl insists Mr. Z only talked about black men involved with crimes. Ziegler goes on to say

“As a matter of fact, Daryl, oftentimes when we go through who’s committed the crimes, there are times when the white people who control the media, we get together and go, ‘Oh, we can’t talk about that one, because that was a white guy.’ This is all a big conspiracy, Daryl.”

The most important thing I learned from the piece is the amount of advertising that goes into a radio show. 40% of each hour is alloted for advertisements alone! Foster’s insight on the logistics of radio shows, especially if it is journalism, was well researched.

After reading this, talk show hosts have some serious balls. For Ziegler to open a show by saying “we(Americans) are just better than they are(the Arab world),” is something most people would hesitate to say to themselves, never mind to thousands of listeners.



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5 responses to “Tonight’s Host: John Ziegler

  1. candace

    its interesting how some of the best writing — and most revealing information — were those hyperlinked lines of text that you had to click through to read more. if you didn’t click through them, definitely check them out — especially those that are surrounding the questions of whether or not Ziegler is “a racist.” some of the best content in the piece is hidden away…

  2. alix

    I definitely think it will be successful. I feel with this generation that we live it is the best way to appeal to us. As our generation starts reading the newspaper less, we would rather listen to someone that entertains us while still providing us with factual stories.

  3. Kevin Clerkin

    Candace, I completely agree with you about the hyperlinked lines. They provided the most revealing information in the text.

  4. ScottB

    David Foster Wallace’s work in print is usually accompanied by lots of footnotes. I find the hyperlinks version via pop-up to be a little less intrusive for some reason. I get to decide which ones to click on!

    Plus, they are like Easter eggs. Hidden pieces of extra info. Pretty cool.

    Kevin: Ziegler’s interaction with Daryl from Temecula was a highlight of this piece for a number of students. I am interested to hear in class what resonated about this particular exchange.

  5. Yes, talk show hosts have balls, but how much of it is an act? I feel that the longer hosts are in the business, the more their persona grows on them. I feel like Howard Stern was not as much of a pervert before his time on radio, like the reading said, but now I feel like it must have sunk into his personality to some extent.

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