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Film / Talk Radio

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Talk Radio is a 1988 film by Oliver Stone, adapted from a play of the same name by Eric Bogosian and Tad Savinar. It is a drama which is loosely based on the 1984 murder of Denver talk radio personality Alan Berg by white supremacists.

Barry Champlain (Bogosian) is a caustic, confrontational shock jock who revels in condescending to his listeners. The story unfolds over the course of a single broadcast, as his show is about to be picked up for national syndication. Yet despite his sense of humor and imminent success, Barry is depressed and isolated from his loved ones. And he plans to continue his pattern of self-destruction by subjecting his fans to a marathon of abuse.



  • Extremely Short Timespan: Events unfold over the course of one four-hour radio show.
  • The Hero Dies: Both the play and the film end with Barry being assassinated.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Pretty much the message of Barry's show, which he blames on his own listeners:
    Barry: This country is in deep trouble, people! This country is rotten to the core and somebody better do something about it!
  • Shock Jock: Barry's on-air personality is defined by his confrontational nature, and he frequently attacks callers whether they are (and because they are) gay, black, or neo-Nazis.