Conservative talk radio accused of using actors as callers
March 5, 2011
Allegations are being made, accusing conservative talk radio show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, of using paid actors to portray angry callers into their nationally syndicated programs. [Columbia Journalism Review]
Published reports suggests that the call-in shows use actors provided through Premiere On Call, a subsidiary of Premiere Radio Networks. Premiere, which is the largest radio syndicator in the country, currently offers the broadcast trinity of Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity to thousands of stations across the country.
“Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,” read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported. “We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won’t hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners.”
The talk show actors had to audtion to be considered. According to one man who participated in the charade, if the actor passed the audition he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio. He would never be identified as an actor, and his scenarios would never be identified as fabricated—which they always were.
Premiere Radio Networks is owned by Clear Channel, Inc. Conservative talk radio shows can be heard locally on KPRL (Paso Robles), KVEC (San Luis Obispo), KUHL (Santa Maria), and KSMX (Santa Maria).