Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US

A radio talk show is a broadcast medium in which radio hosts discuss current topics with their guests. Often these are famous and influential personalities in a particular field.The radio show format has been around since the late 1920s when radio stations started to broadcast content on air, and since then it’s become one of the most popular media formats in America. This article will explore the most popular radio talk shows in US with their popularity ranking!

Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US June 23, 2024

What is a radio talk show?

A radio talk show is a radio program that allows listeners to engage in dialogue with the hosts of the show and other callers.

  • Most radio shows focus on just one specific topic
  • Talk radio has been around for over sixty years
  • A radio talk show can be found almost anywhere these days: AM, FM, satellite radio and even podcasts

How to Measure the Broadcast Audience?

One of the prioritized ways for society and business to measure which show is most popular is to count the number of listeners who have connected to an audition in a given period of time.
For radio shows, this problem is more significant than for TV shows, since the radio receiver does not imply any registration, authorization, or other way of accounting for listeners.

  • Arbitron radio meter.

Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US June 23, 2024

In the past, when radio stations wanted to know their listenership they generally turn to Arbitron radio meter. This is a device that picks up the radio signals of participating radio stations and records when, where and for how long they are listened to. The information comes in handy in determining if specific advertisements need be tweaked or not. Arbitron radio meter allowed to measure radio audience size and demographics.

  • Portable People Meter (PPM). But this method required people in selected locations where the meters were installed to have access to those areas. It became inefficient since not everyone owned a car or had easy access and was changed by Nielsen Audio in 2007. The latter uses a Portable People Meter – radio ratings system that uses small, lightweight pager-like devices to identify radio listeners.


Portable People Meter (PPM) is this black, pager-like device that collecting data from anyone who happened to be nearby with a PPM device.

How does it work? Customers carry around portable meters which pick up signals of broadcast radio tuners as they pass by them. While listening, users simply hold down buttons when they hear something interesting – for how long depends on what kind of radio station is being listened to and for how long the radio was turned on.

Portable people meters are currently only available in the largest markets Arbitron serves. Thus, it is impossible under current survey techniques to determine the listenership of an individual event such as the Super Bowl.

Talkers Magazine (official webcite), an American trade publication that focuses on talk radio, formerly maintained a list of the most-listened-to commercial long-form talk shows in the United States, largely based on Nielsen data.

Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US June 23, 2024

In addition to Talkers’ own studies, all radio formats include audience estimates in news releases. Because news releases allow radio firms to inflate their listener counts by hiding the difference between listeners at any one moment, cumulative listening over a period of time, and potential audience , this is an easy way for them to increase their listener totals.

The results obtained in 2017 also include non-terrestrial dissemination methods (especially those based on the Internet) and analysis through press releases were published in a Wikipedia article here.

Top 10 The Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US looks like this.

Program                             Format                   Weekly listeners (in millions)

Marketplace                         Financial news          14.8

All Things Considered        Newsmagazine          14.7

The Sean Hannity Show    Conservative talk     14.5

The Dave Ramsey Show    Financial talk            14

Morning Edition                  Newsmagazine         13.1

The Mark Levin Show        Conservative talk     12

Coast to Coast AM               Paranormal talk       11

The Glenn Beck Program   Conservative talk    10

The Mike Gallagher Show  Conservative talk   8.5

Delilah                                     Adult contemporary music     8.3

At the same time, an international research data and analytics group headquartered in London YouGovAmerica (official website) presents The Most Popular Radio Programs/podcasts (Q3 2021).

Their data are based on marketing activities and a customer-base including media owners, brands and media agencies. Here (see the table below) popularity is the % of people who have a positive opinion of a radio program/podcast.

Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US June 23, 2024

The 2021 edition of Talkers Magazine has unveiled its “Heavy Hundred” list of the Most powerful radio talk show hosts in America. With Limbaugh’s passing, the top trio now comprises conservative talker Mark Levin in addition to Sean Hannity and financial counselor Dave Ramsay.

Most Popular Radio Talk Shows in US June 23, 2024

The full 2021 Top Ten includes Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Mark Levin, Brian Kilmeade, Joe Madison, Dana Loesch, Mike Gallagher, Thom Hartmann, Michael Berry and Joe Pagliarulo.

As it’s seen, in 2021, as in previous years, conservative talk dominates liberal and moderate talk content. Females hosts and individuals of color continue to be a minority on-air voices fighting for their portion of the voice on the public airwaves, satellite and streaming audio.

What is your favorite radio talk show?

Radio talk shows are a popular and effective media format for both local and national audiences. Whether you want to hear about the latest in politics or just enjoy some lighthearted banter, there’s something here for everyone! To find your favorite radio show, you can also check out our blogpost for the list of the Most Listened-To Radio Shows in US. What is your favorite radio talk show? Let us know by commenting on this post together with top hosts who you think deserves the top honors and why!