“Rush, I Love You”: Interactional Fandom on U.S. Political Talk Radio
This article analyzes the openings in host-caller interactions in three leading U.S. political talk radio (PTR) programs. Conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis are used to describe how fandom is achieved in these shows. Callers present themselves as fans in the first possible position in the interaction, using various practices ranging from uttering the word ditto to creating extended discourse structures. The hosts usually perceive these practices as compliments and appreciate them and the callers. PTR is a prime example of a fan-public, since its host harnesses the fans to achieve his political (and commercial) agenda. The hyphen in fan-public deserves attention, because this notion is rooted in infotainment, combining the relationships of the entertainment business, fans, and stars with the realm of politics, which would assume some critical notion and individuality in the decision-making processes.