In this guide, veteran broadcaster and media historian Donna Halper examines the careers of 20 of the most influential talk show hosts in American history. The biographies span more than 60 years of innovation in both television and radio. From Steve Allen, Joe Pyne and Jerry Williams to David Letterman, Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey, the scope includes some of the most respected and reviled names in broadcasting. The biographical sketches detail the background, training and early travails of each star. The author highlights the development of each broadcaster’s distinctive styles, their appeal for audiences and their most significant contributions to the development of the talk show format. The entries also feature portraits, timelines and suggestions for further reading. Selected sidebars demonstrate the impact of talk shows on society at large. Coverage ranges from the long–serving Johnny Carson and Larry King to political commentators Ed Schultz and Rush Limbaugh. James Dobson, Randi Rhodes, Tom Snyder and Jerry Springer are among the other featured hosts. In her substantial introduction, Halper traces the history of the talk show genre from the 1920’s to the present. She provides additional historical context with a timeline interweaving milestones in broadcasting history with the hot topics that people were talking out during each period. A second appendix outlines a potential sequel with descriptions of the contributions of 16 other broadcasters including Joyce Brothers, David Cavett and Sally Jessy Raphael. From shock jocks to best girlfriends, these entertaining lives will attract a wide audience in academic and public libraries.