Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Skeptical Radio

You may or may not have heard, but there’s some talk about me possibly starting a Skepchickal radio show here in Chicago. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to get it on the air… and I’ve never done a thing in radio except maybe turning one on.

If you could start or help start a local skeptical radio show, what would it be like? Who would you have on? What topics would you cover? How would you run your show?


What would you like to hear on a local skeptical radio show? What would set it apart from all the podcasts and blogs you already listen to?

(Hat tip to Augustus Porter for giving me the idea for this question… especially since I’m running late posting this today and my brain is stuck in Saturday-mode.)

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I’d love to hear mini-documentaries on/from skeptics around the city (or country, I don’t know what your target audience is). Talk shows are good, but I always yearn for some produced stories from the field as well.

    Good luck!

  2. I would make it a skeptical news organization.

    It would have news, in which EVERY source is sited, unless the story is so important, siting your source would do more damage than not siting (ie: watergate).

    Skeptical Politics. A skeptical conservative and liberal discussing their views in a logical manner.

    “Name that logical fallacy” a call-in gameshow where clips from mainstream media is played, and participants call in to name that logical fallacy.

    Skeptical Science-the latest news and information from the world of cutting edge science.

    IN Search Of-the latest from the world of crytozoology and ufology-and the silly people who follow that.

    The roaming skeptic-a corroespondant who asks…basically AI’s in seemingly random places.

  3. How about gathering bits of woo from the community and fact-checking it? There are two chiropractors near me who have enough misinformation pasted in their windows to keep a skeptic busy for months.

  4. The Hot Seat – A talk show open to any media whore, woo-peddler, or conspiracy nut. Your host, the genial and nonjudgmental Mr. Bland will provide a friendly and ‘open-minded’ forum in which guests can expound at length upon their latest delusion.

    Should these guests (in order to prove their woo) use unsubstantiated facts, outdated research, rebutted evidence, or anecdotal examples, they will immediately feel the effects of the hot seat. To wit, a non-lethal but painful jolt of electricity.

    Should any proven woo-rat get through the hot seat without receiving this jolt, they will be given $1,000,000.

    One million dollars is hefty sum for the budget of a radio station, but the odds against it being collected are stupendous.

  5. Wow, Elyse! Congrats! Having a little (OK, more than a little) idea what goes on behind any radio show, I don’t envy the work, but I do envy the fun you’ll have.

    I would have to start with getting down to what you want to hear in a radio show. Not only what skeptical news there is, you have to relate it to the audience in general. Get in touch with that which makes you go, “Hey, they’re talking about something that affects me!”

    A good place to start is putting skeptical thinking where it belongs: in people’s wallets and pockets. Try a news format that details the cost of woo. From useless “cure” that do nothing, to harmful beliefs that do worse, and the resulting costs.

    Also, how long is the show? If it’s only a half-hour to one full hour, you might want to keep things limited to produced content, with listener email at the end of the show for Q&A and corrections/comments.

    If the show is going to be much longer, go with live interviews and calls. You can make us of the longer time to have discussions (or arguments) without cutting into other parts of the show.

    Most important, you have to have an internet presence solely for the radio show these days. This makes putting up references to topics easy, but it can also be a huge source for new content and formats.

    Nothing really out of the ordinary here, just my $0.02…

  6. Well, it all depends on if it was a one-man show, or a panel. The panel shows I’ve liked the best are the ones in which various members talk about one particular thing that they’ve researched in regards to some local, or media related woo.

    I’d also have a section on common logical fallacies, maybe towards the end of the show.

  7. You are very lucky to live in Chicago. There is an radio station called (full disclosure – I used to work there). They broadcast on 89.5 in chicago and northern indiana. They are affiliated with Chicago Public Radio and do a lot of community programs in teaching regular folks how to do radio.

    Most of Vocalo’s programming is made up of content is made by listeners and users on their website, so they are always looking for poeple to contribute. If you contact them I am SURE that they would love to help you out, teaching you the ropes, and getting you on air.

    You should really check out their website- It’s a really neat system, and I think is exactly what you are looking for.

  8. Variety. Sometimes interveiws, somtimes profiles, sometimes explanations of science, somtimes explanations of logical thinking and logical fallacies, book reviews, podcast reviews, tv and radio reviews, religous morons of the week, skeptical hottie of the week (1 man and 1 woman) and of course wipem out wensdays.

  9. Hey y’all. I just started editing Skeptically Speaking ( which is a female fronted radio call-in show about skepticism, where Skepchick’s very own Jill Powell appears with some regularity. Though the show is syndicated in the states, I love that it covers local/Canadian skeptical issues.

    Certainly if you’re starting a skeptical radio show, I think covering local issues should be high up on the list of what to do. Besides, probably in Chicago there would be a pretty interesting pool of people to interview! Look forward to hearing the results though, good luck!

  10. You can also get some ideas from other radio shows, maybe continue a topic that wasn’t fully discussed or come at it from a different skeptical perspective. Here’s my local podcast which should have audio files going back to 2005:

  11. I’d have a show dedicated to the sad continuation of marriage proposals to Rebecca. I imagine one could easily fill an hour or two with that!

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