GTA Radio is an extensive Show Within a Show within the Grand Theft Auto universe. Although an early form existed in Grand Theft Auto 2, it started when radio personality Lazlow Jones was hired to produce the radio shows for the series. Starting with Grand Theft Auto III, he created a whole series of fake stations, with the only thing real being the music (either originally produced for the games or, more commonly, licensed). Otherwise, the commercials, DJs and shows are spoofs of those on actual radio (including where he spoofs himself).
The variety of stations in each game alone is enormous, covering talk radio, rock, rap, electronica, country, reggae, dance, and others. The DJs are just as colorful.
Now included with character sheet in the works.
The Fix FM — Techno, Apartment
The Fergus Buckner Show FM — Country
Head Radio FM — Pop, Rock
It's Unleashed on 93.5 FM — Alternative, Hard Rock
N-CT FM — Hip Hop, Rap
Radio '76 (on 197.6 FM) — Funk, Retro
Grand Theft Auto: London 1969/1961 (the first in the series to have licensed music)
Blow Up Radio
Out on Beat
Rockstar Radio — Pop, Rock
KREZ — Hip Hop, Rap
Lo-Fi FM — Oldies, Pop
Futuro FM — Dance, Jazz-Pop, Funk
Funami FM — Drum and Bass Acid
Lithium FM — Oldies, Dance
KING 130.7 (Rebel Radio) — Punk Rock
Osmosis Radio — Modern Dance
Heavenly Radio — Jesus-Pop, Soft
KGBH — Classic Rock
Flashback 95.6 — 1980s Pop note
Game Radio FM — Hip-hop
Head Radio — Pop and adult contemporary
K-Jah — Dub reggaenote
Lips 106 — Pop
MSX FM — Drum and bass note
Rise FM — Trance
Chatterbox FM — Call-in talk radio (first appearance by Lazlow [host] and Fernando Martinez [guest])
Radio Espantoso — Latin music
Fever 105 — Dance
Flash FM — 80s pop music
V-Rock — Hard rock and heavy metal (hosted by Lazlow)
Wave 103 — New Wave
Wildstyle Pirate Radio — 80s hip-hop and electro
K-CHAT — Celebrity talk radio
Vice City Public Radio (VCPR) — Talk radio, dominated by Pressing Issues political debate show hosted by Maurice Chavez
Contemporary Soul Radio (CSR) 103.9 — 90s R&B and new jack swing
K-DST — Classic rock
K-Jah West — Reggae
K-Rose — Classic Country
Master Sounds 98.3 — Rare groove, songs sampled in hip-hop
Playback FM — East Coast hip hop
Radio Los Santos — West Coast hip hop and gangsta rap
Radio X — 90s alt rock
San Fierro Underground Radio (SF-UR) — house
West Coast Talk Radio (WCTR) — Talk radio, divided into eight segments: WCTR News (hosted by Lianne Forget, with reporting by Richard Burns), The Tight End Zone (sports, with Derrick Thackery), The Wild Traveler (travel, with James Pedeaston), Entertaining America (showbiz; initially hosted by Billy Dexter, then after his on-air death during an interview, replaced by Lazlow), Gardening with Maurice (gardening, featuring the "Maurice" first mentioned in III), I Say/You Say (political debate, with Peyton and Mary Phillips), Lonely Hearts (love advice, hosted by Christy MacIntyre at first, hijacked by Fernando Martinez in the third segment) and Area 53 (conspiracy theories, with Marvin Trill)
Flashback 96.6 — Italo disco note
Head Radio — Pop and adult contemporary
K-Jah — Reggae note
The Liberty Jam — Late 90s rap (original incarnation of III's Game Radio FM)
Lips 106 — Pop
MSX 98 — Drum and Bass, Jungle
Radio del Mundo — South Asian and Middle Eastern music
Rise FM — 90s dance
Liberty City Free Radio (LCFR) — Talk radio, divided into five segments: The Electron Zone (technology, with "Bill" and "Steve"), Chatterbox (call-in talk show, hosted by Lazlow; his show would later take over the entire station in 2001), Heartland Values with Nurse Bob (counseling), Breathing World (spiritual enlightenment, with Melissa Chowder and "Crow") and Coq o Vin (cooking, with Richard Goblin)
Espantoso — Latin music
Flash FM — 80s pop
Fresh 105 FM — Oldschool hip-hop and electro (original incarnation of Vice City's Fever 105)
Paradise FM — Post-disco
VCFL — Funk and R&B
V-Rock — Hard rock and heavy metal (first chronological appearance of Lazlow)
Wave 103 — New Wave
Vice City Public Radio (VCPR) — Talk show, divided into five segments: Pressing Issues (political debate, with Maurice Chavez; this segment would later take over the entire channel in 1986), New World Order (conservative-oriented foreign affairs and call-in talk radio, with Dwayne Thorn), Bait and Switch with Larry Joe and Bobby Ray (fishing), Moorehead Rides Again (hard-boiled detective radio drama), and The Time Ranger (superhero radio drama)
The Classics 104.1 — Classic hip hop (IV-exclusive)
Electro-Choc — Electro house and club hits
Fusion FM — Jazz fusion (IV-exclusive)
IF99 (International Funk) — Funk and afrobeat (IV-exclusive)
JNR (Jazz Nation Radio) 108.5 — Jazz (IV only)
The Journey — Ambient, chillout (IV-exclusive)
K109 (The Studio) — Disco
LCHC (Liberty City Hardcore) — New York hardcore and crossover (IV), Extreme metal (EFLC)
Liberty Rock Radio 97.8 — Classic rock
Massive B Sound System 96.9 — Dancehall (IV-exclusive)
Radio Broker — Alternative/indie rock
San Juan Sounds — Reggaeton and Latin American music
Tuff Gong Radio — Reggae and dub from the Marleys (IV-exclusive)
The Vibe 98.8 — R&B (IV-exclusive)
Vladivostok FM — Eastern European music (IV) Western European dance music (EFLC)
RamJam FM — Reggae, dub (EFLC only)
Self–Actualization FM — Ambient and chillout (EFLC-exclusive)
Vice City FM — 80s Pop (EFLC-exclusive; hosted by Fernando Martinez)
Independence FM — User music (Exclusive for PC version)
Integrity 2.0 — Live talk radio (hosted by Lazlow). Unusually, in IV the station is not available from the start, it is unlocked after the bridges to Algonquin are opened
PLR (Public Liberty Radio) — Liberal talk radio, divided into three segments: The Séance (call-in psychic, with Beatrix Fontaine), Pacemaker (healthcare debate, with Ryan McFallon) and Intelligent Agenda (political debate, with Mike Riley)
WKTT (We Know the Truth) 1066 — Conservative talk radio, divided into three (with two EFLC-exclusive) segments: The Richard Bastion Show (call-in talk show), Just or Unjust (radio court, with Judge Grady), Fizz! (showbiz news, hosted by Jane Labrador, Marcel Le Muir, and Jeffron James), The Martin Serious Show (call-in shock jock, The Lost and Damned-exclusive) and Conspire (conspiracy theories, with "John Smith", The Ballad of Gay Tony-exclusive)
Television Shows — CNT
I'm Rich — Celebrity reality show, based on MTV Cribs
Princess Robot Bubblegum — Parody of seinen anime (EFLC-exclusive)
The Serrated Edge — QVC-esque infomercial show selling knives.
Television Shows — Weazel
Republican Space Rangers — Saturday morning cartoon, parody of The War on Terror (with EFLC-exclusive episodes)
Split Sides — Stand-up comedy
Venturas Poker Challenge — Competitive poker program, that desperately tries to invoke Mundane Made Awesome.
Truth+Soul — Jazz, Funk
Deadmau5 — House
Ticklah — Reggae and Dub
Alchemist — Hip Hop
Tortoise — Post-Rock (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
Anvil — Heavy metal (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
DJ Khalil — Hip Hop (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
SinoWav FM — Traditional Chinese (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
Turntables on the Hudson — Worldbeat (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
DFA — Dance-Punk (PSP/iOS/Android-exclusive)
blonded Los Santos 97.8 FM — PBR&B, hip hop and soul (Added in The Doomsday Heist update)
Channel X — Hardcore punk
East Los FM — Mexican music
FlyLo FM — Alternative electronic music and IDM
The Lab FM — Original tracks of various genres (Initially exclusive to PC version, added to consoles in the Ill Gotten Gains Part 2 update)
Los Santos Rock — Classic rock
The Lowdown 91.1 — Classic soul
Non-Stop-Pop FM — Pop
Radio Los Santos — Hip hop
Radio Mirror Park — Indie
Rebel Radio — Country
Self Radio — User music (Exclusive for PC)
Soulwax FM — Techno and house
Space 103.2 — Funk and R&B
Vinewood Boulevard Radio — Alternative Rock
West Coast Classics — Oldschool West Coast hip hop
WorldWide FM — Ambient and chillout
Blaine County Talk Radio (BCTR) 96.5 — Conservative talk radio, divided into three segments: Blaine County Radio Community Hour (conspiracy theories, hosted by Ronald "Nervous Ron" Jakowski), Beyond Insemination (agricultural advice, hosted by Duane Earl), and Bless Your Heart (cooking and politics, hosted by Bobby June)
WCTR (West Coast Talk Radio) 95.6 — Liberal talk radio, divided into three segments: Chakra Attack (alternative medicine, hosted by Dr. Ray DeAngelo Harris), The Fernando Show (current affairs, hosted by Fernando Martinez), and Chattersphere (call-in celebrity talk show, co-hosted by Lazlow and Michelle Makes)
Television Shows — CNT
Moorehead Rides Again — Animated hard-boiled detective show, based on the World War II-era radio drama first heard on Vice City Stories
The Underbelly of Paradise — Crime documentary, hosted by Steven Haines (replaced by Dave Norton after he is killed in Ending C)
Princess Robot Bubblegum — Returning from IV (PS4/Xbox One/PC only)
Television Shows — Weazel
Jack Howitzer is Jack Howitzer in Jack Howitzer — Reality TV fame vehicle for the titular washed-up celebrity and Arnold Schwarzenegger expy
Kung Fu Rainbow Lazer Force — Saturday morning cartoon, parody of Power Rangers and the evangelical Christian media
Republican Space Rangers — Returning from IV
The Loneliest Robot in Great Britain — Parody of dark British animation
Meltdown — Thriller about the Great Recession, parody of Hollywood blockbusters co-produced by Michael de Santa
This Show in a Show provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Nobody ever gets Lazlow's name right.
- Adam Westing
- Lazlow is written and voiced by real-life radio host Lazlow Jones, who delights in making his character as reprehensible as possible.
- Lazlow's real-life colleague and friend, Michael "Couzin Ed" Andrews, first appeared in Vice City as the previous host of V-Rock who crank calls his replacement, Lazlow.Ed: So you're calling me a "burnout," is that what you're saying?!
Lazlow: Well, I heard you applied for this job with a resume written on rolling papers. I mean, come on!
Ed: "Oh yeah, and you sent yours in hand-written calligraphy with a bouquet of flowers! That's not rock and roll, man!"
- In San Andreas, Forth Right MC, the self-righteous Malcolm Xerox host of Playback FM, is voiced by Chuck D of Public Enemy, a band famous for its militant lyrics.
- In IV, the host of Studio K109 is "DJ Karl", an arrogant eurotrash Cloudcuckoolander constantly ranting about fashion. He is voiced by fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld.
- In the PC version of V, The Lab is hosted by "Dr. No and The Chemical Bro", who are voiced by Oh No and The Alchemist, two of the people behind GTAV's original soundtrack.
- The Ahnold: Many of the Jack Howitzer films are Schwarzenegger movie parodies, such as Commando (Evacuator Part II; both are soldiers with their families kidnapped), Terminator (Annihilator, possibly in name only) and Kindergarten Cop (Special Needs Cop).
- All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: The Princess Robot Bubblegum anime on IV's CNT, which parodies many Japanese Media Tropes. There's also a trailer for a separate Humongous Mecha show with an equally Word Salad Title, Full Hickey Hurry Robo Mech Battlesuit.Princess Robot Bubblegum: [Smiling] Oh-oh! Monster, monster, rapey time!
- All-Natural Snake Oil: Waylon Mason, who appears on the Pacemaker segment of IV's liberal talk radio station Public Liberty Radio (PLR), promotes his "home remedies" and attacks the other two guests — Sheila Stafford and Wilson Taylor, Sr. — as agents of big pharmaceutical and insurance companies, respectively. The show ends with him giving both of them involuntary trepanations in order to remove the "demons that are controlling them."
- All Part of the Show: Spoofed with one of Lazlow's callers, along with The New Rock & Roll. A staunchly anti-video game mother claims that her very young game-addicted son witnessed his dog get run over in real life, only to look around for a reset button.
- Alternate Continuity: Averted. Even as IV jettisoned the established canon and started from scratch, GTA Radio's continuity went on, with Lazlow making a return and several gags and characters from previous games (Love Fist, the Epsilon Program, Marvin Trill) being referenced. The radio is arguably the only point of continuity between the III canon and the IV canon.
- Although V suggests that this may in fact be the case, and that the changes for the lives of the radio hosts are simply less major than the changes in continuity for the rest of the world. Notably, Fernando Martinez states in V that he's an illegal immigrant, where as in the III continuity, he was from upstate Liberty, putting on a faux foreign persona.
- Lazlow’s appearance in V however would raise a few questions if he indeed was the very same Lazlow from all the way back The '80s in Vice City, someone who has been in the business for almost 30 years would have shown visible aging by 2013, yet he doesn’t look quite old in V. Then again, it's Vinewood. Plastic surgery is par for the course.
- Ambiguously Bi: The Blind Swordsman gets even more flamboyant in the Princess Robot Bubblegum sequel for V, striking poses all the time, lisping more than ever, worrying about his hair getting messed with, liking boybands… and with that came the fact that he and Bubblegum became a couple; Hentai Master points out that Princess Robot Bubblegum’s fans are not happy with her dating this kind of guy, saying that he “plays at both sides of the sushi bar”.
- Anachronism Stew: Although the radio does a good job of being strict when it comes to keeping to the years the games are set in, there are occasionally a few examples of this trope:
- Vice City uses Crockett's Theme which is possible as it was composed in 1984, but it didn't get a commercial release until 1987, one year after the events of Vice City.
- On Wildstyle, Mr Magic claims that he is playing a world premiere of "More Bounce to the Ounce", a song which came out in 1980.
- San Andreas also has two songs by Ice Cube which were released in 1993. In addition, both "It Was A Good Day" and "Killing in the Name" were created in response to the 1992 LA Riots, the GTA equivalent of which doesn't occur until the ending.
- Episodes From Liberty City uses many songs created in 2009 despite taking place in 2008.
- The PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC versions of GTA V contain various songs created in 2014 onwards, despite the game taking place in 2013.
- The mobile version of Liberty City Stories adds songs from the 2000s despite the game being in 1998.
- The 2018 update to Vladivostok FM includes songs made after 2008.
- Ancient Astronauts: Mentioned occasionally by Nervous Ron in V when he mentions the "Anunnaki" mentioned by the Sumerians in their ancient tablets.
- As Himself: Lazlow and Couzin Ed, although the two are much friendlier in real life. Bas Rutten, though, is not much of an exaggeration.
- Ass Shove: A caller leaves a message on Ron Jakowski's radio show that he followed his advice on preparing for an alien invasion by storing various rations in his ass.*
- Attack of the Political Ad: John Hunter and Michael Graves run these in IV, as do Jock Cranley and Sue Murry in V.
- Author Appeal:
- A disproportionate number of radio tracks were also featured on the 80s TV series Miami Vice - not only in Vice City, obviously, but in subsequent games such as San Andreas and V. Notably, these even include Don Johnson's largely forgotten song Heartbeat. This reflects the fact that the very first GTA game was at least partly inspired by the 1986 licensed video game of Miami Vice.
- Being that Rockstar is from Britain (more specifically, Scotland), Non-Stop-Pop features a disproportionate amount of British artists, even when it doesn't make much sense. While some of them are feasible as they have following stateside (Gorillaz, M.I.A., Naked Eyes, Wham!, Pet Shop Boys), quite a few are considered One Hit Wonders across the Atlantic (Dirty Vegas, All Saints), but others are almost completely unheard of despite being popular back home (Living in a Box, Moloko, Morcheeba, N-Joi, Jamiroquai, Robbie Williams, Sneaker Pimps, Bronski Beat, Mis-Teeq, Blow Monkeys). With the next-gen version, the British artists outnumber the Americans. The fact that it's hosted by the British Cara Delevingne adds to this. Moreover, many of the non-British artists are also European, which leaves Americans in an even bigger minority despite being a pop station set in the US.
- Bad "Bad Acting": The second claimant in the Crimson Spouse Indemnity Executive Service is clearly reading his statement out.
- Berserk Button: Jack Howitzer proves to be a very paranoid guest.I heard what you've been saying about me. You think steroids shrunk my genitals!
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Referenced and Played for Laughs.
- In Vice City's K-Chat, one of Amy's guests is Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy, an Australian biologist with an unusual love for animals.
- In San Andreas the Country Music station K-ROSE makes reference to it on some station IDs.K-ROSE — because if you spend more time with farm animals than your wife, you'll have a lonely heart and a nasty infection! [Sound of goat bleating]
- In IV, one of the commercial spots for call-in psychic show "The Séance" has this spiel from host Beatrix Fontaine:
- V's Beyond Insemination has Duane Earl getting getting a call from a guy who wants advice on cows so he can jerk off to them more easily. Earl is outraged at this and complains about his show attracting sexual deviants.
- One of V's commercials for Pißwasser lager takes this trope Up to Eleven, showing an obviously drunken man implicitly raping a pig.
- Bishōnen: Parodied in Princess Robot Bubblegum with the blind swordsman, to the point where he even has a effeminate-sounding voice.
- Blatant Lies: Mr. Magic of Wildstyle says the radio station has no advertisements, since it's a pirate station. However, a commercial for "Complete the Look" can be heard on the station.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Parodied in Princess Robot Bubblegum.
- Blind Weaponmaster: Averted to the point of parody in Princess Robot Bubblegum. The blind swordsman can only manage to hit a handicapped sign with his BFS.
- Blue Oni Red Oni: This is very distinct on both the music and the hosts of every radio station, the most notable being Lazlow himself who started out as a purple oni in 1984 in Vice City, then changed to blue in that next two years and lastly became a red oni at Liberty City in 2008. For a quick reminder of music genres, check the list of radio stations of the series on the top of this page.
- In the first GTA game, consisting of just music genres: Rock and hip hop is red whilst country, electronic, funk and dance is blue and chart and techno is purple.
- Grand Theft Auto 2: Phanny Joe Styles (blue) and Johnny Riccaro (purple) of Head Radio (blue); Venus Ordellia (purple) of Heavenly Radio (blue); Richie T of KREZ (purple); Jimmy Starrock of Rockstar Radio (blue); Marshall Nash of Rebel Radio (red); Dai (purple) of Lo-Fi FM (blue); Mama Doc of Osmosis Radio (blue); Spaz Funbags of Lithium FM (red); Bombatumba (red) of KGHB (purple) and Teriyaki-chan (red) of Funami FM (blue).
- Grand Theft Auto III: Michael Hunt (red) of Head Radio (purple); Morgan Merryweather of Double Clef FM (blue); Toni of Flashback FM (purple); Horace Walsh of K-Jah (blue); Andee (purple) of Lips 106 (blue); Andre the Accelerator of Rise FM (red); Stretch Armstrong (red) and Lord Sear (purple) of Game FM (blue); MC Codebreaker and Timecode (purple) of MSX FM (blue); Lazlow of Chatterbox (blue).
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Maurice Chavez of VCPR (Vice City Pressing Issues); Amy Sheckenhausen of K-Chat (purple); Pepe (red) of Espantoso (purple); Mister Magic of Wildstyle (blue); Oliver "Ladykiller" Biscuit of Fever 105 (blue); Toni of Flash FM (purple); Adam First of Wave 103 (blue); Lazlow (blue) of V-Rock (purple).
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Forth Right MC (red) of Playback FM (purple); Julio G of Radio Los Santos (blue); Funktipus (red) of Bounce FM (purple); Mary-Beth Maybell (red) of K-ROSE (blue); Hans Oberlander of SF-UR (blue); Marshall Peters and Johnny Lawton of K-Jah West (blue); Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith of K-DST (blue); Philip "PM" Michaels of CSR-103.9 (blue); Johnny "The Love Giant" Parkinson (purple) of Master Sounds 98.3 (blue); Sage of Radio X (blue); WCTR - Marvin Trill (blue) of Area 53, Maurice (red) of his gardening show, Billy Dexter (purple) and Lazlow (blue) of Entertaining America, Christy Mac Intyre (red) and Fernando Martinez (purple) of Lonely Hearts, Mr. Philips (blue) and Mrs. Philips (red) of I Say, You Say, James Pedeaston (purple) of The Wild Traveler and Lianne Forget (blue) and Richard Burns (red) of WCTR News.
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: Sergio Boccino (purple) of Double Clef FM (blue); Reni Wassulmeier (red) of Flashback FM (blue); Natasha Walsh of K-Jah (blue); Andee (red) and Cliff of Lips 106 (blue); DJ Clue of The Liberty Jam (blue); LCFR - Nurse Bob (red), Bill (blue) and Steve (red) of The Electron Zone, Melissa Chowder (blue) and Crow (red) of Breathing World, Richard Goblin of Coq 'O' Vin (purple) and Lazlow of Chatterbox (blue); Boy Sanchez (blue) of Rise FM (purple); MC Codebreaker (purple) of MSX FM (blue); Panjit Gavaskar (purple) of Radio Del Mundo (blue).
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories: VCPR (Vice City Public Radio) - Bobby Ray (red) and Larry Joe (purple) of Bait And Switch, Chris Murney (blue) of New World Order, Maurice Chavez (blue) of Pressing Issues; Luke Campbell (red) of Fresh 105 (purple); Hector Hernandez (red) of Espantoso (purple); Trish Camden (red) and Adam First of Wave 103 (blue); Teri (red) and Toni of Flash FM (purple); Paradise FM (blue); Lionel Makepeace (blue) and Fernando Martinez (purple) of Emotion 98.3 (blue).
- Grand Theft Auto IV: Ruslana of Vladivostok FM (blue); Carl Bradshaw of Tuff Gong Radio (blue); Bobby Konders of Massive B Soundsystem 96.9 (purple); Premier (purple) of The Classics 104.1 (blue); Mister Cee, The Evil Genius (purple) and Green Lantern of The Beat 102.7 (red); Vaughn Harper of The Vibe 98.9 (blue); Daddy Yankee (red) of San Juan Sounds (purple); The Journey (blue); Lazlow (red) of Integrity 2.0; WKTT Radio - Richard Bastion (purple); Public Liberty Radio - Beatrix Fontaine (blue) of The Séance; Creator/JulietteLewis of Radio Broker (blue); Roy Haynes of Jazz Nation Radio (blue); Karl Lagerfeld of K 109 The Studio (purple); Jimmy Gestapo of HCHC (red); Iggy Pop of Liberty Rock Radio 97.8 (red); Roy Ayers (purple) of Fusion FM (blue); Femi Kuti of IF 99 (blue); Francois K of Electro-Choc (purple).
- Grand Theft Auto IV Episodes From Liberty City: Max Cavalera of LCHC (red); Funk Flex and Statik Selektah of The Beat 102.7 (red); Fernando Martinez (purple) of Vice City FM (blue); Paul Martin (red) of Vladivostok FM (purple); Henry Santos Jeter of San Juan Sounds (purple); Crookers of Electro-Choc (purple); David Rodigan of Ramjam FM (blue); Audrey of Self-Actualization FM (blue).
- Grand Theft Auto V: DJ Pooh (blue) of West Coast Classics (purple); Big Boy (blue) of Radio Los Santos (purple); Bootsy Collins (red) of Space 103.2 (purple); Flying Lotus of Fly Lo FM (blue); Lee "Scratch" Perry of The Blue Ark (blue); Cara Delevingne (red) of Non-Stop Pop; Gilles Peterson of World Wide FM (blue); Twin Shadow of Radio Mirror Park (blue); WCTR - Dr. Ray DiAngelo Harris (red) and Cheryl Fawkes (blue) of Chakra Attack, Fernando Martinez (purple) and Jo (blue) of The Fernando Show and Michelle Minx (purple) and Lazlow (red) of Chattersphere; Pam Grier (purple) of The Lowdown 91.1 (blue); Kenny Loggins of Los Santos Rock Radio (blue); Soulwax of Soulwax FM (blue); Don Cheto (red) and Camillo of East Los FM (purple); Jesco White (blue) of Rebel Radio (purple); Nate Williams (purple) and Stephen Pope of Vinewood Boulevard Radio (blue); Keith Morris (blue) of Channel X (red); Blaine County Talk Radio - Bobby June (purple) of Bless Your Heart, Duane Earl (red) of Beyond Insemination and Ron Jakowski (blue) of Blaine County Radio Community Hour.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Parodied in the Impotent Rage cartoon show.
- Bowdlerise: Spoofed in Princess Robot Bubblegum’s segment in V, when numbering their revenue alternatives for saving their home, Master Hentai and Bubblegum talk about how their DVDs have been censored in the West, not selling very well ever since.
- Brick Joke: Due to the nature of the medium, which part is the setup and which is the punchline varies.
- On III's "Chatterbox FM", a man calls in to talk about eating wildlife, especially pigeons, noting that some of them have "little notes attached, like a fortune cookie with wings". Later, a woman from anti-technology pressure group Citizens Raging Against Phones (CRAP) calls in, mentioning the difficulty of organizing meetings without phones, resorting instead to using carrier pigeons and noting that they keep disappearing.
- Another part of the show has a disturbed British immigrant calling in to tell Lazlow about how he was spanked by his nanny as a child and that he needs one again because he's "been a very naughty boy". A few minutes later, a woman calls to complain about how rude people around her tend to be, mentioning that she's told her hired nanny to teach her kids manners- the very next caller is the British man again, still going on about nannies for five seconds before Lazlow cuts him off.
- Also on III, a caller calls Lazlow about Killer Bees. On LCFR, a caller who is disgusted about honey because it contains "bee shit" warns Lazlow about the killer bees.
- On a human level, we've got plenty to choose from GTA Radio's Loads and Loads of Characters, but Lazlow takes the cake.
- On a national level, Australia gets this treatment, mostly as a dig to its infamous censorship laws (of which both the III and IV sagas were affected, due to the presence of prostitution). With the loosening of restrictions by the time V rolls out, however, the mockery is somewhat relaxed in favor of turning to France for national jokes.
- California Doubling: Of a sort. Stock Footage from Red Dead Redemption (then still in development) is used in a Weazel News segment to stand in for the Middle East.
- The Cameo: Some celebrities have made short appearances on the radio, such as B-Real voicing a station ident on Radio Los Santos in SA, or Busta Rhymes calling into The Beat in EFLC.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: In The Lost and Damned...Max Cavalera: "Fuck you, Jimmy [Gestapo], you left puke all over the studio last night!"
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Clucking Bell adverts from San Andreas are all about their horrific treatment of their chickens, mix with gloating that no-one can stop them because they're a massive corporation.Cock-a-doodle-doo, we're a huge corporation!
Cock-a-doodle-doo, and we can't be stopped!
All you protestors can go to Hell!
It's time for Clucking Bell!
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Axl Rose voices Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith in San Andreas's classic rock station K-DST, yet Guns N' Roses clearly exists in the game's continuity, since the song "Welcome to the Jungle" plays on modern rock station Radio X. Adding to the humor, Sage, the station's host whom Tommy publicly dislikes, claims to have slept with the entire band before Appetite for Destruction was released.
- Played with on The Beat 102.7 in IV. The station features real-life Hot 97 DJs Funkmaster Flex, who claims Liberty as his hometown. Flex also implies that the universe's version of Nas is from Dukes.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Fernando Martinez was not heard or mentioned in any of the radio stations of Liberty City Stories, despite being on the radio stations in every other game since III minus Chinatown Wars.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV's LCHC (Liberty City Hardcore). Luke (voiced by the man of the same name from 2 Live Crew) on Vice City Stories' Fresh 105 FM is this as well, as is Iggy Pop of IV's Liberty Rock Radio.
- Comically Missing the Point
- At one point, The Wild Traveler receives a phone call from an obviously suicidal man.Suicidal Man: I'm gonna jump!
James Pedeaston: Yes, I know what you mean. Jump into the unknown! How can it be a sin if it feels good?
- Ron in his show tends to take his submitted messages out of context to fuel his Insane Troll Logic. One example is him interpreting a message from a guy performing South American rituals that involves the killing of virgins to better fit with his Illuminati bank theories.
- At one point, The Wild Traveler receives a phone call from an obviously suicidal man.
- Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: This is the world according to Ron Jakowski in V's "Blaine County Radio Community Hour" segment of BCTR, and even calling it that is quite an understatement.
- Conspiracy Theorist:
- Marvin Trill, host of the Area 53 segment of West Coast Talk Radio (WCTR) in San Andreas, a parody of Coast to Coast AM.
- "John Smith" in IV's conservative talk radio We Know The Truth (WKTT), a parody of right-wing/libertarian conspiracy theorists.
- Continued in V with Ron's Blaine County Radio Community Hour podcast, focusing on David Icke-style Lizard People conspiracies and "Big Pharma."
- Concepts Are Cheap: Parodied when a guy by the name of "Jeff" calls in, advertising a rally at Liberty City Park. However, when the show's host asks what the rally's actually about, Jeff responds with an escalation of otherwise meaningless phrases and appeals, including "for justice", "for the future", and "for hope". The host continues asking, only to be met with more cheap concepts and pleas for attendance, until it turns out the guy doesn't know what it's about.
- Contractual Purity: In-Universe — come San Andreas, Jimmy, the precocious young star of Vice City's Just the Five of Us, has become a drunken mess.
- Continuity Nod: Sometimes tiny off-hand mentions get expanded upon later. In GTA III Lazlow mentions he started hosting talk radio after he got kicked off the rock station, and comments to one caller that his show isn't Gardening with Maurice. In Vice City he is indeed hosting the rock station, and the soundtrack album for that station has a bonus track which tells what exactly Lazlow did that got him fired. As for Gardening with Maurice, that is on the air in San Andreas.
- Corpsing: When the lady representing Citizens Raging Against Phones starts calling Lazlow childish insults, the voice actress sounds like she's trying not to break down laughing.
- Crossover: Carl Brutananadilewski calls FlyLo FM to complain about the music.
- Cut Short: An in-universe example with "The Time Ranger", which was cancelled for obvious reasons.
- Deadly Game: Liberty City Survivor, advertised in III. The ad, complemented with fan footage from IV, can be listened to here. Arguably the basis for Manhunt.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lianne Forget, anchor of San Andreas's WCTR News, doubles as announcer to show titles, and she snarks quite a lot there, particularly in news intros.(WCTR News #01): Next up on WCTR — the news. We tried to make it interesting and not depressing.
(WCTR News #03): Next up, we've got the news. This time, some of it's true! Who are we kidding?
(WCTR News #04): Next up, it's sensationalist propaganda. I mean, the news.
(WCTR News #06): Is the world ending? We hope so — we need the ratings. The news is next!
- Different World, Different Songs: Averted. Some licensed songs reference real-world locations or intellectual properties are used, despite the fact that fictional counterparts are used for some of them in the GTA universe, and no attempt is made to alter the lyrics. For example, Vice City's Wave 103 features "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde, which mentions New York and California, despite the fact that Liberty State and San Andreas have respectively replaced those states in the GTA universe. Grand Theft Auto V features "Glamorous" by Fergie, which explicitly mentions Taco Bell, despite the fact that Taco Bell doesn't exist in GTA, although a similarly named fast food chain exists called Cluckin' Bell. There are also several songs with real-world locations in their names, and D Js themselves have brought up New York City a couple times.
- Distracted by the Luxury: San Andreas's DeKoch Ice commercial claims that "Diamonds can chill that bitch out".
- The Ditz: Amy Sheckenhausen from Vice City's K-Chat fits this trope perfectly, flirting with her famous or attractive guests and, until the end of an interview, being completely oblivious to the fact that one of her guests was promoting bestiality.
- The Dung Ages: "A History of Liberty" from IV's in-game TV station Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) sees this trope applied from the founding of America up to the early 20th century. This "documentary" also dabbles in Anachronism Stew, having made mention of porno magazines, subways, roller coasters, convenience stores and a Product Placement or two inserted as being part of "American history" anywhere from decades to centuries before they became prolific.
- Dumbass DJ: Most of 'em DJs count.
- Eagleland: The Republican Space Rangers are representatives from the Boorish version of this trope, IN SPACE!
- Early Installment Weirdness: All of the DJs in Vice City have artwork to accompany them, which is useful as without it we would not know what they look like. In every other game there is no artwork of the DJs, with the odd exception of Karl Lagerfeld in IV. In general, III made heavy use of original tracks, something that was largely phased out but still present in Vice City (Liberty City Stories returned to using original tracks as a throwback). Additionally, stations in III and Vice City used clean tracks, most apparent with Game Radio but also cropped up in Wave 103 with the song "Love Missile F-11" by Sigue Sigue Sputnik (though the uncensored version of "Never Say Never" by Romeo Void is played on the station) and DJs would chastise callers for using harsher swears on the airwaves. This was dropped by the time the profanity laden San Andreas came out.
- Fake Band: A staple in early GTA games, it was mostly dropped by the time III came around with all but two music stations (Head Radio and Lips 106) playing licensed music. In Vice City, Hair Metal parody band Love Fist had two original songs — "Dangerous Bastard" and "Fist Fury" — on V-Rock (the game's rock station), and Unaesta, Tres Apenas Como Eso and Alpha Banditos had one each on the Espantoso station. Liberty City Stories was the last game in the series to have original music.
- Fanservice: Parodied and lampshaded as much as possible in Princess Robot Bubblegum.Master Hentai: Remember your training... Submitting to bizarre male fantasies of women in a completely non-misogynistic and sexually healthy way!
- Fictional Video Game
- Vice City has commercials on its radio stations for the Degenetron game system, which features such titles as Defender of the Faith ("Destroy the blue dots with your powerful red square!"). In San Andreas, they appear on retro arcade machines. You can't play them, but you can play the "emulator" on the defictionalised Degenatron "fansite."
- III also has ads for Pogo the Monkey, which is later referenced by a Pogo the Monkey arcade in the cab firm from Vice City.
- IV has Civil Service, a parody of SimCity which encourages the player to favor big business and keep down minorities. Episodes from Liberty City also has ads for Deity, a god game in the vein of Black & White.
- V takes this trope full circle with Righteous Slaughter 7, a parody of video game violence of the sort that GTA itself had long indulged in, as well as Franchise Zombie sequels and derivative FPS games. The gameplay footage we see is essentially Call of Duty meets Postal. While it doesn't turn those who play it into murderous psychopaths, it does seem to turn them into foul-mouthed, bigoted assholes, judging by what we see of the people who play it. There's also Pride Not Prejudice, a Deep South-themed FPS advertised on the radio.
- Follow the Leader: Thanks to the success of GTA Radio, most open world crime games now include car radios which play licensed music, whether through a radio format (Saints Row, Sleeping Dogs) or a playlist (True Crime). Even the Forza Horizon games and Ratchet & Clank have had them!
- Frivolous Lawsuit: In San Andreas, there is a news story of a man suing the Renaissance Fair because a replica catapult he purchased didn't have a label warning him not to fire it at his insurance agent's house, accidentally setting the entire neighborhood on fire.I don't wanna work very hard so I've hired a lawyer. I'm gonna be rich!
- Fun with Acronyms
- III's anti-technology pressure group Citizens Raging Against Phones.
- From Vice City, Consider Our Kids Everyday.
- From Liberty City Stories, CRAP's predecessor Citizens United Negating Technology for Life and People's Safety.
- Also from Liberty City Stories, Liberty City Free Radio (LCFR) — as in "LuCiFeR".
- In San Andreas, Ban Immigration Green Cards Outright Today.
- In IV, Asian Stereotypes Sicken Families, Unity, Communities and Karma.
- In IV: Episodes from Liberty City, Citizens Understand Medieval Games Undermine Loving Parents.
- Genki Girl: Deconstructed by Jenny, a guest on VCPR in Vice City. She's all happy, upbeat and energetic because she was prescribed heavy anti-depressants ever since her family was gruesomely murdered.
- Genre Roulette: Some stations play a wide variety of music under the same banner.
- Non-Stop-Pop FM is a pop station that alternates between '80s pop, '00s R&B, eurohouse, trip-hop, '10s electro-pop, and alternative rock.
- WorldWide FM is whatever it feels like being. It plays "world music", but that's a blanket term for eclectic music consisting of jazz, chillout, electronica, post-dubstep, alternative hip-hop, post-rock, and minimal.
- Ditto for blonded Los Santos, as the station plays a mixture of funk, alternative R&B, rap, IDM, techno, grime and indie rock.
- FlyLo is an IDM station, but it also mixes it with trap, soul, glitch, and hip-hop.
- Genre Shift: Most of the stations that return from IV in Episodes From Liberty City go through this, some in more subtle ways than others:
- Vladivostok FM went from playing a variety of Eastern European music in IV to playing Western House Music in EFLC, making the name of the station an Artifact Title.
- Electro-Choc changed from playing EBM and post-punk to straight-up EDM.
- LCHC went from Hardcore Punk to Death Metal.
- K109 The Studio went from underground disco and early House Music to focus on mainstream disco hits.
- San Juan Sounds has diversified beyond reggaeton, playing a variety of latin urban genres.
- Liberty Rock Radio and Radio Broker have both shifted up the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness; the latter has also dropped the Dance-Punk side of its playlist.
- Gratuitous English: Pepe of GTAVC's Radio Espantoso, as well as Don Cheto and Mexican Institute of Sound of V's East Los FM.
- Groin Attack: Pastor Richards shoots nudist Barry Stark in the genitals towards the end of the Morality segment on Pressing Issues, as evidenced by Maurice Chavez saying "There is blood and pubic hair all over the studio!" and Barry saying he needs a proctologist.
- Hanging Judge: Judge Grady, host of court show parody "Just or Unjust" segment of IV's right-wing talk station We Know the Truth (WKTT). The show's introduction has him fining a man a million dollars for "wasting the court's time," and he uses duels and gladiatorial combat between plaintiff and defendant as a means of settling disputes.
- Hipster: Parodied in IV's Indie-Alternative Rock radio station Radio Broker, complete with host Juliette Lewis letting off some self-aimed barbs. Same also applies with V's Indie-New Wave Music-Synth-Pop radio station Radio Mirror Park, with host George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow) riding penny-farthing bikes.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Pastor Richards and Jack Howitzer briefly take over the show by the end of their segments.
- Also done in the last segment of "Lonely Hearts" in San Andreas by none other than Fernando Martinez.
- Hummer Dinger: Parodied with the Maibatsu Monstrosity.I live alone, so of course, I needed a car that seats twelve and is equipped to drive across Arctic tundra!
So what if it only gets 3 miles to the gallon? I'm a mom, not a conservationist!
- Hypocritical Humor: Donald Love's station ident.Our new satellite in China is something all Americans can be proud of.
Lazlow: What kind of moron are you? You want to round people up for using the phone, but you're calling up on a phone to tell the world about it!
- In Liberty City Stories, Morgan Merryweather calls in on Double Clef FM's then-DJ Sergio Boccino and complains that he plays too much music by Italian composers, despite playing the same amount of music by Italian composers 3 years later.
- The Citizens Raging Against Phones caller, whom Lazlow is quick to call out.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Strongly implied by Jerry, the very first caller on Ron's show, complete with namecalling the actual Trope Namer for "No Party Like a Donner Party".Jerry: Some liberal doctor gonna tell me I have diabetes? I call bullshit! Goddamn liar, I eat what I want, motherfucker! Just like my great-grand-pappy. He was in the Donner Party! Now that's some American ingenuity right there!
- I Am Not Spock: In-Universe. Vice City's Claude Maginot, a classically-trained actor who is incredibly dismayed about how he is best known as the star of the sitcom Just the Five of Us, which he calls "commercial dross". In an interview on K-Chat, he tries to steer the subject toward his interpretive dance show In the Future, There Will be Robots, and breaks down into a rant when Amy keeps trying to push the subject toward his show.
- Idle Rich/Upper-Class Twit: Many celebrities featured in IV are nothing more but directionless heirs with absolutely nothing to do but waste money on ostentatious stuff. Cloe Parker, Jill Von Crastenburg, January Natasha Vasquez, Samantha Muldoon, and Kerry McIntosh are direct Expies of Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Madonna, and breakdown-era Britney Spears, respectively.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In San Andreas, Jack Howitzer accidentally shoots and kills interviewer Billy Dexter, first host of WCTR's Entertaining America segment (he was replaced by Lazlow after a long hiatus), while they're both on the air. It's implied that he was sentenced to death after doing this. The Ballad of Gay Tony reveals that he was eventually paroled.
- In-Game TV: Starting with IV. In past games, there were also ads for various TV shows, although you couldn't watch them.
- Insane Troll Logic: Ron Jakowski's stock in trade. At one point, he's convinced that Pluto no longer "being" a planet is a conspiracy, believing that this indicates the government either purged it from existence or destroyed it.
- Isn't It Ironic?: On VCFL, "Nightshift" is dedicated to someone's wife for working at night. It's actually a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, who passed away in 1984, the same year Vice City Stories takes place in.
- Japan Takes Over the World: To go along with the time period the game is set in, a radio advert in Vice City parodies this, promoting American made cars that help American families over Japanese imports.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Maurice Chavez is frequently established to be a self-involved asshole, but he's also usually the Only Sane Man on any of his radio shows.
- Kent Brockman News: All over the place, particularly San Andreas' WCTR News and IV's Weazel News.
- Large Ham: Among others, most notable are Lazlow and radio news anchors Richard Burns (San Andreas) and Mike Whitely (IV).
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: One station ID for Rebel Radio says it's "the home of gun control, progressive politics and... breakdancing... yeah."
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: This is how the GTA III mix of Rise FM ends.
- Medical Drama: Parodied in IV with the ads for Medicate Me.
- Medium Awareness: Played with; Ron's paranoia has convinced him that the instant you "open an account", a virtual cyberspace replica of yourself, who you must continuously level up and buy stuff for, is created, and there's even a doppelganger of himself out there somewhere. Rather than discussing V's Online Mode, though, he thinks this what happens when you invest with a bank.
- Meltdown. Dear God, Meltdown.
- Metaphorgotten: Lampshaded by Ron when he tries to explain the low bee population with a tangent about getting a semen sample from a horse and giving Too Much Information about it.
- Mood Whiplash: All stations in San Andreas have a completely different set of scripts and reactions that play during the riots. Most of them are deadpan serious though. K-DST's Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith even shows genuine concern for the citizens and urges them to try to stay out of harm's way. The scripts return to normal once it ends, and due to the open ended nature of the game, cannot be accessed again unless you start a new game and go through the whole story all over again.
- Mundane Made Awesome: San Andreas has Law, a police procedural entirely around the paperwork - "Because paperwork is dramatic"
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: Pet Stuffers... "for when you just can't let go."
- "And coming soon, Grandparents Forever!"
- Naked People Are Funny: One of the guests on Vice City's "Pressing Issues" is Barry Stark, a nudist whom Maurice keeps behind a screen (the other guests on the episode are The Fundamentalist Pastor Richards and soccer mom Jen Brown). When Barry insists on coming out from behind the screen, Richards shoots him in the genitals and Jen faints.
- III has a nudist caller on Chatterbox FM. He's implied to be the same guy.
- Network Decay: In-Universe: In The Lost and Damned Liberty City Hardcore has started playing extreme metal instead of hardcore punk, though the ident at the beginning of the radio stream implies that it's a show on LCHC.
- In The Ballad of Gay Tony Vladivostok FM has started playing American & European dance music instead of Russian pop music, which is strange, considering that the ID says that it's broadcasting from Hove Beach, and the next few minutes, it's from Bahama Mamas.
- V's own punk station, Channel X, has a more mild case of this. It originally had bands that originated from southern California, yet the enhanced version adds songs from the Canadian band D.O.A. and the Texas bands D.R.I. and MDC.
- WorldWide FM, from GTA V again, originally had worldbeat music, electro, ambient & chillout music, with a bit of jazz thrown in. While the PS4, Xbox One & PC versions added a few foreign language songs, they also added hip-hop & rap, which doesn't really belong to a worldbeat radio station.
- Never Trust a Trailer: "Heartland Values with Nurse Bob" features a "Coming up next" segment that does not play after the commercial break.
- New Media Are Evil
- Parodied by Jen Brown, a guest from the Pressing Issues segment of Vice City Public Radio of Vice City, where she expresses concern about how her son runs around looking for gold coins to steal.
- Also, according to San Andreas' WCTR News, CDs are turning children into killers.
- Liberty City Stories's Citizens United Negating Technology For Life And People's Safety takes this and the Moral Guardian trope to its logical extreme.
- New Neo City: Futurist Tokyo in Robot Princess Bubblegum.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Mary-Beth Maybell of San Andreas's Country Music station K-ROSE.Mary-Beth: That's the difference. I don't have ex-husbands, I just have a lot of widowers. I own a lot of black dresses. I love funerals; I get shit-faced every time...
- No Celebrities Were Harmed
- Nurse Bob, host of the "Heartland Values" segment of Liberty City Stories' LCFR, is a fairly ruthless parody of Dr. Phil.Now you just gotta get happy in that nappy you just got crappy in!
- From Vice City's K-Chat, Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy is a transparent Steve Irwin parody with an unconventional "love" for animals. He is later removed from the studio by his doctor who reveals to Amy that he is just a mentally sick man and is dragged to a mental clinic. The game was released before Irwin's death.
- Similarly, Crow's single name, activism, and love of tantric sex means he is likely a parody of rock star Sting. He used to be the lead singer of "Ambulance" and describes his music as a "power pop reggae afro-beat".
- Bobbi June, the uber-Southern host of the cooking show Bless Your Heart in V, is a vicious parody of Paula Deen.
- Also from V, Hugh Harrison and Anita Mendoza, two of the three smarmy judges of the talent search TV show Fame or Shame, are obviously based on Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, respectively. Lazlow's job as the host of the show is also reminiscent of Ryan Seacrest.
- Nurse Bob, host of the "Heartland Values" segment of Liberty City Stories' LCFR, is a fairly ruthless parody of Dr. Phil.
- Nostalgia Filter: Samantha Muldoon's song "I Like Things Just the Way They Are" in V is a Deconstructive Parody of this trope, particularly its use in contemporary (late '00s/early '10s) Country Music. It attempts to invoke America the Beautiful with its idealization of Everytown, America, but instead becomes the very definition of America the Boorish with its display of all manner of viciously bigoted sentiments.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The lead actor in Dragonbrain provides a Lampshade Hanging.I'm just a humble blacksmith with a Californian accent! How am I supposed to save the world and sell franchise rights to theme parks?
- No Indoor Voice: Dr. Ray DeAngelo Harris doesn't seem to think of anything related to silence whenever he talks.
- Nothing but Hits
- In Vice City, San Andreas, and Vice City Stories. However, it's averted in III, Liberty City Stories, and the HD-era games, where Rockstar went out of their way to get independent/underground artists for many stations. They also used original music for some stations in III, Liberty City Stories and, to a lesser extent, Vice City. The classic rock and oldies stations, of course, are a justified example; even in III, Flashback FM's playlist was composed entirely of songs from the Scarface soundtrack.
- This is lampshaded by the bumpers for Non Stop Pop FM in V, which is composed of pop hits from The '80s through the Turn of the Millennium, saying that it's the music that will last forever. Even then, though, it's an aversion of sorts, as its playlist includes a number of artists who have already faded into obscurity (does anybody remember Amerie or Jane Child?), as well as a few who only had hits in the UK (like Mis Teeq, N Joi, and All Saints). Possibly also justified, since Cara Delevigne, the DJ of Non-Stop-Pop FM, is British.
- Nutritional Nightmare: All the food Bobbi June cooks and bakes in her show Bless Your Heart.
- Odd Couple: I Say/You Say, a political debate show hosted by husband-and-wife team of Peyton and Mary Phillips. Peyton is a borderline communist while Mary plays the greedy capitalist. For example, when dealing with a caller who has recently buried corpses of illegal immigrants in his backyard, Mary advises him to use them to evade taxes while Peyton mentions recycling and organ donation. Their irreconcilable polarity inspired WCTR's station announcer to quip in the outro to their first segment...
- Only Sane Man: Lazlow and his Vice City counterpart, Maurice Chavez. Over time, Lazlow became less of a Straight Man and was unmasked as something of an attention whore, whose current job on Chattersphere in V is richly deserved.
- Our Founder: The "Salvation Statue Organization", which promises salvation (in the form of a radiation-proof giant living space/effigy of Richards) to all those who pay him large donations. He later reveals that he was actually planning on using the money to build himself a mansion in Hawaii.
- Ow, My Body Part!: Pastor Richards snaps, and, disgusted by Barry Stark's nudism, pulls a gun on Stark and shoots him. Barry survives and "is in need of a proctologist".
- Parental Incest: Played for laughs with Nurse Bob.Nurse Bob: Now, remember what my daddy said: "Don't you tell nobody 'bout me coming in here at night!"
- Dereck Thackery on The Tight End Zone. He seems to be in deep denial about it.
- Parody Commercial: The ads spoof loads of things, from trendy clothes to public service announcements.
- Parody Names: Besides the aforementioned Schwarzenegger films, there is also:
- Phony Psychic: IV's "The Séance" segment in left-leaning Public Liberty Radio (PLR) is strongly implied to be nothing more but a vessel for the show's host, Beatrix Fontaine, to embezzle money from callers. Fontaine herself is also implied to be a former Romanian prostitute who slept her way to a radio slot.
- Police Procedural: Parodied in IV with The Science of Crime, complete with the tagline "It's forensically boring". Specific segments also parody CSI: Miami, complete with an obvious Horatio Caine parody dropping bad one-liners and noting how his acting "sucks ass", down to a barely-disguised version of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and its trademark Big "YES!". It has fifteen spinoffs, including ones in Vice City, Las Venturas, Ohio, Djibouti, Fairbanks, Panama City, and Santiago.
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Fernando Martinez's show on WCTR in V is heavily constrained by this, as the station's standards department forces him to cover up his lecherous Latin Lover attitude and run a dull political/current events talk show. Going by his frequent Freudian slips, it's not working.
- Product Placement
- From IV onwards, many radio stations have been based on real stations right down to their DJ's. Examples include Massive B Soundsystem 96.9, Tuff Gong Radio (which exclusively plays music by Bob Marley and his sons) and V's Soulwax FM and FlyLo FM.
- blonded Los Santos from V was based on an online radio show on Apple Music hosted by Frank Ocean, while Worldwide FM was influenced by Gilles Peterson's real life show Worldwide on Radio 1.
- The stations of Chinatown Wars are named after and consist entirely of songs by the eponymous artists or from the label the station is named after.
- In-Universe, the characters of Moorhead Rides Again all smoke Redwood Cigarettes, and the show takes every opportunity it can to remind us of this.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: During Lazlow's interview with OG Loc in San Andreas.Are! You! Dissing! My! Strap?
- Punny Name: One of the radio stations from GTA IV is called "Electro-Choc", a pun on the phrase "electro shock", which is how the DJ pronounces the station's name.
- Rated M for Manly: The TV show The Men's Room in IV, featuring MMA fighter Bas Rutten (as himself) and his metrosexual co-host, Jeremy St. Ives.
- Relationship Upgrade: The Blind Swordsman and Princess Robot Bubblegum apparently became a couple in their new episode for GTA V, although that is only mentioned by others and they don’t act the part, Master Hentai mentions Bubblegum is still sleeping around and the Blind Swordsman is too busy caring for his looks to give a damn, that is till a Tentacle Rape Plant starts singing about how it is going to tap Bubblegum, getting chopped off by the Blind Swordsman as a result.
- Repetitive Audio Glitch: In GTA 2, Spaz Funbags, the DJ of Lithium FM, notices this during the second song that was playing ("The Diner" by Tammy Boness & The Swingin' Mammaries) and immedeately switches it off with a yodeling sound effect before the commercial break.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: "John Smith" in IV's DLC episodes.
- Sad Battle Music: This can happen depending on what happens to be playing on the radio, most notably some of the songs on Emotion 98.3.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Inverted with on Chakra Attack. Dr. Ray de Angelo Harris is the loud and brash guy while Cheryl Fawkes is the calm, laid back girl.
- Schmuck Bait: In IV, just try visiting the Little Lacy Surprise Pageant website. We dare you. You will get a message from the police telling you that the website has been shut down and that your IP address has been logged. Oh, and you get a five-star wanted level, with the police scanner mentioning "a sexual deviant attempting to access explicit images."
- Sellout: In the five years between IV and V, Samantha Muldoon has gone from a Madonna expy known for adopting foreign children and flaky religious beliefs to a right-wing country singer. Apart from a Creator Breakdown, it's strongly implied that her switch in genre and politics was motivated by nothing more than money and pandering to the conservative, country-listening demographic that spares no expenses in buying whatever they want, even as America is still reeling from the recession.
- Sequel Escalation: GTA 1' tiny handful of radio stations had around three songs each. By the time the IV saga rolls out, it had expanded to several hours' worth of licensed music, dedicated chat shows, celebrity DJs, advertisements, websites, and TV channels. This also extends to how the radio itself is implemented — while a radio station in previous games was simply one long audio file, San Andreas stored songs, DJ chatter, and commercials separately, allowing the game to randomize them. IV takes this even further, with a dynamic radio system that changes shows, songs, advertisements, DJ chatter, and news depending on the weather, time of day, or how far along the storyline you are.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll
- Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV' punk station Liberty City Hardcore, rants at length about the extremely hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle that he feels punk should be. Also, Iggy Pop, DJ of IV' classic rock station Liberty Rock Radio, talks about how a lot of the best music was made on drugs, and bemoans the fact that fewer rockers nowadays use them.
- Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith of San Andreas' classic rock station K-DST is fond of this trope as well. Hell, the station's identifications are all narcotic plays on its nickname of "The Dust".Station ID: If the police can't stop you... (*police siren and gunshots*) you must be on... The Dust.
Station ID: When all your drinking friends have gone to rehab, we encourage you to stay on... The Dust.
- Sage, the host of the grunge/alt-rock station Radio X, very much counts as well.Sage: I smoke! I smoke cigarettes, I smoke cloves, I smoke anything that can go up in flames! I'm crazy! That was Danzig. Slept with the whole band.
- In addition to his wild, likely drug-induced mood swings, Hans Oberlander of house music station SF-UR frequently references his habits between songs:Hans: It's getting dark out there. Kind of like in my lungs. Come, we party for ten more years, then we all go to rehab. Cool?
Hans: Has that dealer turned up yet? Where is he? Andreas? Andreas, where are you?
Hans: Daddy, please, don't make me go to rehab, I beg you! Everyone takes these pills, it looks worse than it is! YOU! Okay, I learned it from watching you!
- Direct references aside, Boy Sanchez' (of Rise FM circa Liberty City Stories) speech patterns sound like he's high while on the air.Boy Sanchez: I hope you're all having fun out there, but not as much fun as me. In here, by myself, with a plate full of drugs...again.
- Shaped Like Itself: Quoth a possible serial killer who calls in to BCR's Community Hour:"H-hi, Ron! Yer show is great! I listen t' it when I'm out metal detectin'! 'Case y' don't know, metal detectin' is huntin' fer metallic objects... usin' a detector? I find all kinds a' stuff! Mostly made a' metal."
- Also, Jack Howitzer is Jack Howitzer in Jack Howitzer.
- The Republican Space Rangers' suits are a pretty blatant Halo reference. An actual Halo Installation appears in one episode.
- Flashback FM in III has Toni mentioning that she once woke up on the Duran Duran tour bus. This is only in the radio preview, as the final version has the name of the band covered in static for a second. Vice City lampshades this when Toni mentions being on a tour bus, but she can't say with who. Interestingly, in addition to being mentioned by name in Vice City (during the intro cutscene of "Psycho Killer") and aside from a Dummied Out song ("Serious") in V, Duran Duran has never had a song in a GTA game.
- Show Within a Show: One of the most elaborate ever made, stretching across every game in the series and multiple (in-universe) media.
- Shown Their Work: As mentioned above, Anunnaki from Sumerian mythology is part of real-world lore regarding Ancient Astronauts.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Sage and Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith on their respective radio stations in San Andreas.
- Space Marine: The Republican Space Rangers.
- Standard Snippet: Averted on Double Clef FM, which avoids the obvious classical songs for the most part.
- Stealth Pun: "Fizz!", the celebrity gossip show from WKTT, the right-wing talk radio station in IV is hosted by Jane Labrador, who mentions field correspondent Susan Retriever by name.
- Stock Footage
- Strawman News Media: The news is portrayed, to a man, as a bunch of ass-clowns who are either trying to push an agenda or are too vapid and air-headed to do so.
- Strawman Political: Many times, directed against both sides.
- Vice City brings us Pastor Richards and Alex Shrub. The former is a corrupt televangelist with an outsized ego who rails against moral degeneracy while, going by his Freudian slips, keeping multiple mistresses and embezzling money from his church to build himself a mansion in Hawaii (any similarities to Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart are purely coincidental). The latter is a thinly-veiled Take That! at "Reaganomics", an empty suit who uses blatant spin to cover up Vice City's decline under his term, supports stripping away regulations and legalizing dangerous consumer products proven to kill their users, and calls for a ban on pornography while simultaneously engaging in cross-dressing and an affair with famous porn star Candy Suxxx.
- San Andreas has Peyton (liberal) and Mary (conservative) Phillips, husband-and-wife hosts of WCTR's "I Say/You Say" segment, are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of James Carville and Mary Matalin, political consultants of opposing beliefs who started dating (and eventually married) while working on behalf of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, respectively, during the 1992 Presidential elections.
- IV gives us Richard Bastion, a jingoistic, mean-spirited conservative talk radio host who believes in establishing an American Police State and pursuing a psychopathic foreign policy (any similarities to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are purely coincidental), and Brandon Roberts, a left-wing actor whose progressive activism is strongly implied to be more about improving his public image than anything else (any similarities to George Clooney and Sean Penn are also purely coincidental). The TV, meanwhile, gives us the cartoon Republican Space Rangers, a parody of right-wing American jingoism, The War on Terror, and conservative stereotypes of liberals (especially in the episode "Homecoming", where aliens have literally taken over America and are systematically destroying its values). Finally, there's John Hunter and Michael Graves, two gubernatorial candidates who spend more time attacking each other than explaining their policies, to the point where it's tough to tell who represents which end of the political spectrum (apart from professed allegiances — Hunter a Democrat, Graves a Republican — which seem more like Informed Attributes)... which makes them Not So Different, reinforced by the fact that both sides accuse the other of supporting a retreat from The War on Terror.
- In Episodes from Liberty City there's "John Smith", a parody of Alex Jones and right-wing conspiracy theorists in general. He entertains, and often voices, every single crazy conspiracy theory and bit of general paranoia and racism his listeners phone in with, and only hangs up on an obvious neo-Nazi not because he has any standards, but because he doesn't want another fine — the keyword being "another", implying that this has happened before, which speaks volumes about his target audience. He also interviews Abigail Grayson, a Crazy Survivalist soccer mom with extra emphasis on the "Crazy".
- V continues this tradition with Jock Cranley and Sue Murry, the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor of San Andreas, respectively. And just like Hunter and Graves before them, they spend time attacking each other in campaign ads, but this time they at least care enough to explain their agendas (which brutally parodies extremes of the American political spectrum). Also, as seen in this trailer, cartoons airing include Impotent Rage, a parody of Captain Planet and the Planeteers and the "limousine liberal" stereotype, and Kung Fu Rainbow Lazer Force, a parody of conservative Christian Moral Substitutes and the Religious Right in the vein of Power Rangers, both parodying hypocritical moralizing on both sides. There's also a new episode of Republican Space Rangers that acts as a Take That! towards the Tea Party movement.
- Stylistic Suck
- The entirety of KGBH in GTA 2. Its constant technical problems are Played for Laughs.
- In Vice City Stories the public radio station has a couple of old radio plays from the 1930s and '40s which take the sexism and racism of the era Up to Eleven. The host even apologizes for them and explains that they are only playing them because they didn't have the budget to fill the airtime with all original content, and are forced to fill the time with old Public Domain radio plays.
- Summer Blockbuster: The film Meltdown in V is a scathing parody of both these sorts of films (especially Wall Street and, to a lesser extent, its sequel) and of modern Hollywood filmmaking in general. It's a thriller about the Great Recession... mutated, by the Hollywood machine, into a shallow good vs. evil tale about two rival yuppies in Liberty City. It's shot entirely on green screen for no good reason, it features a Satellite Love Interest who only appears once before she completely disappears (until the end, at least), late '00s buzzwords like "subprime" and "derivatives" are thrown around with little understanding as to what they mean, and it has an action-packed finale that comes out of nowhere. It also has a talking chimp, because... hey, why not? Furthermore, through Michael's connections to Solomon Richards, we get to witness first-hand how this hot dog is made. The kicker is that, going by news reports after it comes out, it was apparently a smash hit with audiences nationwide, even though critical reception was mixed.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Vice City's Amy Sheckenhausen, host of K-Chat, is a ditz who gushes over her celebrity guests; they usually prove to be perverted or deranged or both. Her avatar in Liberty City Stories is Melissa Chowder of LCFR's Breathing World, a hyperactive Granola Girl.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Liane Forget: A government spokesperson who refused to be named said "the place that doesn't have a name doesn't exist, and if it did, we would name it something".
- A repeated part of San Andreas newscasts is WCTR dealing with the government denying what they're up to, including a place that isn't on the map.
Toni: "(On "Four Little Diamonds") This one's really good, and I'm not getting any special treatment or action on the tour bus to say that."
- The Crimson Executive Service has a man talking about how his wife was killed, but he was nowhere near at the time. His phone-record proves it.
- Courtesy of Toni:
- Sweet Home Alabama: Bobbi June, the host of Bless Your Heart in V, tries to give off this air, but between her thinly-veiled racism and her right-wing, Tea Party-esque politics, she's a lot closer to the other end of the spectrum.
- Take That!: The Episodes From Liberty City iteration of San Juan Sounds does not seem to be in favour of the US being involved with Latin American countries:Henry Santos: If there is one thing America cannot take from us it's a sense of rhythm.Henry Santos: Did you know that the Dominican Republic was one vote away from becoming a part of the United States?. Man, we could have been just like Alaska!
- Take That, Audience!: Independence FM, a station exclusive to the PC version of IV that plays songs off from the player's computer, has station IDs that hint at the songs being stolen. Similarly, Self Radio, another PC-exclusive station in V that serves the same purpose, has station IDs that mock the player, calling them egotistical, narcissistic, and selfish.
- Tempting Fate: The advert from Grin, a drug that makes users feel happy and de-stressed, notes there couldn't possibly be anything habit forming about a drug that makes you feel good all the time.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: After Jack Howitzer accidentally shoots Billy Dexter:Jack: Oh, there's only one thing to do — I gotta defend freedom! No time to cry, only time to die! <three gunshots> WELCOME TO THE LAND OF FREEDOM, BITCHES!!! YAAAAAAHHHHH!!! <starts firing his gun into the air; the station then goes static>
- Those Wacky Nazis: Implied in the San Andreas commercial for "Herr Gruber's Spa".Narrator: "After running residential facilities in Germany, Switzerland, and then Brazil..."
Herr Gruber: Haf you not read ze book? Strength good, veakness bad, badbadbad!
- Token Minority: Parodied in Kung Fu Rainbow Lazer Force, where the black team member's name is "Quota".
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Though he was fairly sympathetic in the beginning, Lazlow grows more loathsome in each incarnation.
- Totally Radical: Parodied with the Ego Chaser energy bar in V. Its advertising showcases extreme sports like BMX, off-roading, and base-jumping, yet it is marketed to middle-aged schlubs who want to feel like "warriors".
- Trash Can Band/Everything Is an Instrument: IV's Banging Trash Can Lids For an Hour, a parody of Stomp.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe — in V, one of the movies you can watch is Capolavoro, a staggeringly awful Italian subtitled art film with incredibly Mind Screwy visuals, a barely-coherent plot, constant breakage of the fourth wall, and actors that speak French and Spanish. Emanuelle Pasorelli, the director, appears at the end to outright declare that it's incomprehensible on purpose.
- Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe; Jack Howitzer's recent film Special Needs Cop really offended the disabled community.Billy Dexter: Wow! That's terrible! No wonder our studios got surrounded by protesters.Jack Howitzer: How could anybody find that offensive?Billy Dexter: No, Jack, it's appalling. Your insensitive portrayal of disabled people made me physically sick. And the idea you calling someone slow-witted is, frankly, laughable.
- Values Resonance: Invoked In-Universe by the Moorehead Rides Again radio drama from Vice City Stories' Vice City Public Radio (VCPR), a parody of hard-boiled Private Detectives such as Mike Hammer. While the show was said to have originally aired near the end of World War II, back when fear of communism creeping into America is slowly giving way to the social nightmare that was McCarthyism, it resonates with American sentiments around forty years later (i.e., 1984, the setting of the game), in light of intensifying tensions between America and the Soviet Union (one that began with the latter's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979), long before Mikhail Gorbachev came in and the USSR dissolved.Moorehead: Before she was tragically killed, the daughter said her father was unarmed and never wore a gun. You know what that means?
Moorehead: That's right, Molly — means he's a sissy. I imagine when he hears his daughter is dead he'll cry.
Molly: What kind of a man cries, Gordon?!
Moorehead: I don't know. One that loses wars, I think. Probably the kind of man who raises a $2 tramp for a daughter, Molly. A very sick individual... and probably a communist.
Molly: I don't like to express strong emotions, but I think I hate this fisherman, Gordon!
Moorehead: Don't hate him, Molly — pity him. And help me kill him.
Molly: Oh, I shall!
- By the 2010's, the show's subsequent Animated Adaptation is now airing on the in-universe AMC analogue "CNT", and is advertised as being from a time when misogyny and racism was cool — parodying AMC's occasionally tone-deaf promos for Mad Men, where the sexist nature of Don Draper and his associates is completely glossed over in favour of romanticizing The '60s.
- Vapor Wear: Sage, host of San Andreas' Radio X, notes she has freed herself from the tyranny of society by not wearing underwear.
- Very False Advertising: World of Tomorrow warns that owning the latest and greatest technology can mean the difference between fulfilling your dreams... and not."Hey, I just won the Nobel peace prize!"
"I didn't upgrade my personal organizer, and two days later I was diagnosed with a terminal illness!" (hacking cough)
- We All Live in America: As mentioned in Author Appeal, Non-Stop-Pop has a wide array of British artists even when doesn't make sense. This is primarily because it was curated by the British Cara Delevigne, who chose a wide variety of songs that were indeed hits — but in the UK. Many of the songs that were actually hits in the US were also hits in the UK as well. As a result, it feels better suited to a British gamer than an American one.
- Wham Line: Generally, no DJ has ever appeared physically in the games. That all changed when Trevor said this during a story mission:Trevor: Where the fuck is Lazlow?!
- What Did I Do Last Night?
- A between-song banter by Tommy Smith:"For those of you just coming to consciousness next to an ugly chick in a strange bed with beer cans and underwear across the floor, run the hell out and get to the clinic."
- And one of the promos on Bounce FM.
- A between-song banter by Tommy Smith:
- What the Fu Are You Doing?: A "Dragon Stance" cannot turn a desk into "two half-desks".
- Who Writes This Crap?!: Parodied in Vice City Stories' "Bait and Switch" segment of Vice City Public Radio (VCPR).Announcer: "Bait and Switch — Vice City's only radio show devoted to water sports, power boats, water skiing, free flounder fishing, and dialectical materialism." Ugh, wrong script. Who wrote this shit?!"Assistant: Tits!Announcer: Yeah, that's more like it. "And tits!"
- Word Salad Philosophy: Much of what's said by the DJ of The Journey, which is a computer, can range from existential crisis fuel, to complete and utter nonsense.Computer: You are listening to the Journey but you have tuned it out. In your minds are a million seeds filled with hope. Seeds that cry out in unison and die as reality shifts. Is your mind madness or the Messiah?