Analysis: It’s confirmed, radio is full of voice actors and fake calls

Posted by David Gomez

Have you heard an interesting on-air call on a radio show recently? It probably wasn’t real.

According to Gawker.com, there is an interesting new venture from Premiere Radio Networks that is offering radio shows "voice talent to take/make your on-air calls”; basically they are faking the radio calls we all know and love. Gawker has also talked to people in the radio business and they confirmed their suspicion that morning talk radio is full of voice actors pretending to be the wacky callers that entertain our ears.

Here’s a juicy little quote from the story: "Any time you hear something surreal on a morning radio show, it's bulls***," one veteran independent radio producer said. "The great prank phone calls—they're all fake. If it's top 40, and if it has a morning show, then it uses actors."

That’s right, and top 40 metrosexual giant Ryan Seacrest is a major practitioner, and entertainment legend Dick Clark is a major supplier.

Now Premiere's "On Call" service is relatively new, but there are several established services that provide wacky scenarios, story lines, and actors to hopeless local morning shows. It’s a pretty simple problem really, DJs have hours of programing to fill, and if anyone is really calling in, they are most likely unentertaining people with boring problems.

That’s where United Stations Radio Networks, a radio company co-founded by Dick Clark, who still serves as its chairman emeritus, comes in.

Get a load of this, United Stations is in the business of generating wacky characters and situations, basically mini-radio plays, and then they send them out to radio shows across the country.

"It's, 'Hey, can you pretend to hate black people for the next 15 minutes so we can get people talking?'" said the producer.

United Stations recruits actors from the theatre world and pays them $50 to make a call, which is usually around 45 minutes of work. Oh, and that stupid catch a cheating boyfriend segment, “War of the Roses”, that many stations across the nation use, that’s fake too. Mostly because the FCC requires broadcasters to have permission from participants to air a call, and who would agree to let a station air a call that catches them redhanded and humiliates them.

Yep, it’s much easier for the radio industry to engage in fakery, instead of you know, creating something interesting to listen to. Why work hard in radio when you can have someone with a decent voice put fake calls on air. Why should radio be real when you just can pay other people to make it entertaining?

Since wacky morning radio has now been exposed as a pack of liars, people have begun to wonder if other forms of radio are legit or not. Like political talk radio.

Before Glenn Beck was a Republican puppet boy, he was a wacky radio DJ. In his morning trash radio days, Beck used to use repeating characters that would lead him into wonderfully wacky discussions. But these days since he is a “serious” political talk radio guy, we are expected to take everything he says at face value. Right…

People have probably suspected for a while now that some of the crazy calls they heard on the radio were fake. Still, finding out that fake calls are used all across the nation is kind of depressing.

People listen to the radio because it’s entertaining, but a lot of people listen because they expect to hear real news. At this point the only proof we have is that crappy morning shows use the fake call service.

But it is fair to wonder if political talk radio is full of fake calls as well. Let’s be honest, most political talk radio is more or less the establishment’s talking points in little 15 minute segments. Do we have proof that political talk radio hosts use fake callers? No. Does it seem like something they might do? Yes.

Maybe the bloated political talking heads are not using fake calls at this time, that doesn’t mean they won’t do it in the future. As a matter of fact, doesn’t it seem like if anyone would want to use fake calls, it would be political talk radio shows?

Establishment political talk radio hosts are always looking to come across as the “good guys” or the ones who are right about everything. Political parties use shady tactics, is it a stretch to think that political radio shows might be shady as well? After all they love explaining the virtues of their position, don’t you think a fake call could help them in that effort?

If I were a Democrat political talk radio host for example, I would probably have a huge ego. I’d probably also use a fake call to make Republicans look like meanies and nutjobs, just to make my political beliefs appear to be that much better.

If political radio isn’t using fake calls, they probably will be soon. Of course they would probably never admit to it, but think about it, It's too good a method of captivating and manipulating an audience to not try. Also their corporate peers in morning radio are already doing it, so it makes it more likely that it will eventually happen.

Big media corporations do a lot of copying off each other.

I’ve known for a while now that the media is controlled by the establishment. I’ve also known that a lot of what you see in politics on TV is made up. I’d say that there’s a good chance that a lot of Republican and Democrat talk radio is fake. Just like sleazy morning shows.