Talk Radio had been a staple in America‘s diet since the 1960s – it was cheap to produce – it was often unpredictable and there was something voyeuristic, listening to someone divulge racy bits over the phone to an audience of potentially millions.
And Talk Radio ran the gamut, from politics, religion, sports and a grab-bag of everything and nothing in particular. And then there was Bill Ballance, a former Top-40 disc jockey who had tapped into the vast population of mid-day Female listeners as a talk-show host, mostly stay-at-home housewives in the early 1970s. His show was all about the innuendo, the “what ifs”, the romantic rendezvous in the afternoon at the no-tell-motel.
His show was massively popular throughout the 1970s – it became syndicated for a while and his audience, mostly women from their 20s to 60s, were legion and diehard fans. This was the 70s – a time when all bets were off, institutions were coming under fire and socio/sexual behaviors were suddenly open season and the thing for talking about and speculating over.
It was very considered racy at the time – in fact, KABC received numerous complaints over the years about the borderline-obscene subject matter Ballance was soliciting from his listeners. As much as it was all cloaked in nudge-nudge/wink-wink – it spoke to a growing dissatisfaction of the status quo in our society – that it was now okay for Women to talk openly about sex and relationships and extra-marital affairs. That this newfound freedom of expression, and the relative anonymity of the telephone in the guise of a talk-show was now opening up the conversation in ways which hadn’t been imagined before.
Listening to this now in 2017, it seems rather quaint and prurient; product of a bygone time. But put yourself in the place of a young woman in 1976 who was assuming the role of housewife and wondering why, and fantasizing what it would be like if it were all different.
Here is a 45 minute excerpt of the five-day-a-week, 3 hour program hosted by Bill Ballance, as it was originally aired on June 22, 1976.