Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Large Ham Radio
"Helloooooooooo Capital Wasteland, this is Three Dog, *AUUOOOOO* comin' to ya loud and proud from Galaxy News Radio! Bringin' you the truth, no matter how bad it hurts."
Three Dog DJ of GNR, Fallout 3

Radio, especially the amateur variety, will always attract a certain type of DJ/Announcer, namely a Large Ham. At least in fiction.

Anyone put in front of a radio mic, even if he's never seen one before, will instantly switch into a confident DJ-persona, complete with nickname, Catch Phrases and a smooth baritone voice. Otherwise they might become an abrasive Dumbass DJ. Whatever style he chooses, there won't be a second's hesitation, confusion, dead air or any other problems you might expect of a NaÔve Newcomer.

If it's ham radio they're getting into, it's very likely they'll also immediately turn into a Soapbox Sadie Conspiracy Theorist convinced that the government wants to shut them down.

Another common variant, more popular in the United Kingdom, is the Tony Blackburn-esque (probably better known to younger generations as Smashie and Nicey-esque) cheesy 1970s pop DJ.

Not to be confused with Radio Voice. Closely related to Danger Deadpan, a similar effect caused by speaking over an aeroplane intercom. Compare Large Ham Announcer.


    open/close all folders 


     Anime and Manga  

  • There's a character like this in High School Musical.
    • The character of Jack Scott is endemic to the stage version. There's no such character in the movies.
  • Lee Jordan of Harry Potter, who regularly loses control of his temper when commentating at quidditch, becomes incredibly smooth when it comes time to be the Voice of the Resistance.
  • Pump Up The Volume
  • Robin Williams character in Good Morning Vietnam is the film embodiment of this trope.
  • Vince Fontaine in Grease is an expy of the Dick Clark archetype; a radio DJ fronting a Bandstand-type programme. Nearest UK analogue would be Tony Blackburn or other Radio 1 D Js, who fronted Topofthe Pops.

  • Rose, aka Mother, the communications officer of Phule's Company. In person, she's so cripplingly shy that hardly anyone has ever managed to speak to her face-to-face, but over radio equipment she becomes talkative and even flirtatious. Apparently she had a stutter as a child and became afraid of the sound of her own voice, but later discovered that she didn't mind so much when she was speaking into sound equipment.
  • Lee Jordan, the definitely-not-neutral Quidditch announcer from Harry Potter. Continues into his role as host of Potterwatch in Deathly Hallows.

     Live Action TV  
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • "Dr X," Ted's old College Radio alter ego on How I Met Your Mother. He's universally mocked for it.
  • Hal on Malcolm in the Middle does this when he buys a ham radio.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun had (usually mild-mannered Cloud Cuckoolander) Harry turn into an abrasive talk-radio jock when he and Tommy take over the college station for the holidays.
  • In Mash, the outfit obtains a mess of swing records. Radar (the normally timid type) takes the records and creates a makeshift radio station over the speakers, with him as DJ. That is, before Colonel Potter makes him play "Sentimental Journey" over and over and...
  • Sam spent one episode of Quantum Leap ("Good Morning, Peoria") as a DJ.
  • Leo LaPorte demonstrated his "AM voice" (Large Ham Radio) and "FM voice" (Smooth and sultry) on an episode of The Screen Savers.
  • The first episode of WKRP showed this happening twice in the first episode: Johnny's spontaneous transformation from a fairly bland top 40 DJ into "Doctor Johnny Fever, and I am burnin' up in here, fellow babies!" followed by Andy remaking Gordon Sims into "Venus Rising", which he partially forgot when he announced the new DJ to Carlson as "Venus Flytrap." Averted with Les Nessman, who pretty clearly would like to be this ("And now ... Les Nessman's Death Watch"), but just doesn't quite have the voice to pull it off.
  • DJ Sagara in Kamen Rider Gaim takes this as his stage persona and mixes it with extreme close-ups for his net radio show. When we finally see him off the clock he's considerably more subdued.
  • The FBI hostage negotiation series Standoff gives us Avery Steele, who fights for the common man. The episode he appears in revolves around a man cheated out of an adoption, and promos suggested he was all, "Rape the bitch you kidnapped then kill yourself like a man." True to the style he portrays the kidnapper as a victim, to the point of calling in listeners of his show to the crime scene and nearly instigating a riot by saying he should be set free.

  • Peter Gabriel hams it up in in the song "On The Air". "Bozo is here!"
  • The David Bowie song "DJ".
    "I am a DJ, I am what I play/I've got believers believing me!"
  • My Chemical Romance's Danger Days has one of these providing narration.
  • Harry Chapin's bittersweet ballad "WOLD", in which a middle-aged crisis plays itself out.
    ''I am the morning DJ
    on W-O-L-D;
    Feeling all of forty-five,
    Going on fifteen...''
  • The Blue ÷yster Cult's ironic song about a dreamer whose ambition outstrips his talent, The Marshall Plan, has a spoken interlude from veteran DJ and music presenter Don Kirschner.
    • Their song When The War Comes was co-written by controversial New York DJ Howard Stern.
  • One of the earliest musical examples: Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper "HELLOOOO BAY-BEE!!!!!"

     Video Games  
  • Three Dognote  of Galaxy News Radio from Fallout 3 is the very definition of this trope.
    • Galaxy News Radio's competition, Enclave Radio, features "President" John Henry Eden, who has a delivery more reminiscent of Casey Kasem than Three Dog's Wolfman Jack. Three Dog occasionally parodies either his style or his megalomania ("Oh wait, that's the other station.")
    • And Best Friend Tabitha from Fallout: New Vegas note  takes it one step even farther than that.
    • Mr. New Vegas (Wayne Newton) is an inversion, speaking in a calm, friendly tone more appropriate to a DJ for a station that plays music from the 40s and 50s.
    • Fallout 3 also features an aversion: if Three Dog is killed, his replacement, Margaret, drops the news segments and prefaces the music with annoyed comments about just being a technician and the actual DJ having been killed. Apparently, just being put in front of a microphone is not sufficient for this trope to kick in in the Fallout universe.
  • Bobby Ricks in Silent Hill: Downpour.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has Super Rockin' Mister Magic, the DJ of the pirate radio station. "You can't find us, you can't stop us!"
    • It would probably be easier to list the DJ's in GTA Radio that aren't this trope.

     Web Original  
  • Done in Homestar Runner, with Strong Sad, whose usual droning, whispery voice changes to a rapid-fire shock jock when on the radio, during one of the Strong Bad Emails.

     Western Animation  
  • Homer Simpson, as a ham radio operator.
  • Timmy used magic to do this on an ep of The Fairly Oddparents. He had a magic mic that made anyone who spoke into it have a smooth baritone voice.
  • Parodied in Phineas and Ferb, Isabella is given the chance to announce P&Fs Monster Truck Rally and does so in a deeper, louder, male voice with standard huckster dialog. In one deep breath.
  • Double subverted with Family Guy: One episode had Brian end up with a radio show after criticizing the local Dumbass DJs. His show started off intelligent, NPR-ish, and performing poorly with listeners. After Stewie prank calls him a couple of times, the executives force Brian to add him to the show, at which point it devolves into exactly the kind of thing he was complaining about earlier, complete with Howard Stern-esque antics and annoying sound clips from films including Sixteen Candles, Animal House, and the Crosses the Line Twice example of Philadelphia.
  • Sealab 2021, "Radio Free Sealab": Captain Murphy starts a pirate radio station out of sheer boredom, adopts the DJ persona "Howlin' Mad Murphy", and conducts the usual on-air hijinx until the FCC blows him (and the rest of the station)up with a depth charge.
  • In the Hey Arnold! Halloween special, this is apparently the case with the local radio station's DJ. Only when he's in front of the mic does he produce the deep voice required for his job.
  • Garfield and Friends had a recurring theme of Garfield hating disc jockeys. Then in one episode John got a job as one, cheesy '70s persona and all...

     Real Life  
(The voices other examples are parodying)
  • Big radio personalities in general need to be self-promoters. Radio shows don't get the same kind of marketing push that TV shows and movies get, so successful radio hosts tend to be very comfortable with blowing their own horn.
  • Gary Owens is the "announcer" voice for which everyone strives these days (unless he's trying to copy the In a World guy).
  • Don Pardo. "Live, from New York!" The booming voice you're hearing in your head right now, saying "It's Saturday Night!" is Don Pardo.
  • Wolfman Jack.
  • Casey Kasem.
    • His American Top 40 replacement Shadoe Stevens too, but Stevens had a more self-aware, tongue-in-cheek sensibility.
  • Averted by NPR, which has the exact opposite reputation of its hosts being very soft-spoken. As Family Guy put it:
    "This is NPR, the station where we talk very softly, directly into the microphone. Can you hear us? We're right inside your head..."
    • Robert Siegel is probably NPR's hammiest host. He's not boisterous or loud, but he has a tendency to take the appropriate tone of a story and turn it up to, if not eleven, maybe eight or nine.

Large Ham AnnouncerDialogueLast-Second Word Swap
Excuse QuestionRadioNarrating the Obvious
Laconical List of Subtle Trope DistinctionsJust for PunLast Disrespects

alternative title(s): Hammy Radio
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy