That Radio Show ‘Listener’ Calling In? He May Be an Actor

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NewsFeed just realized that we’re in the wrong media business. Let’s lose this website and become fake talk-radio callers instead!

Of course we’re just kidding, NewsFeeders! You know we’d never abandon you. But this sure does look like an gig we’d be perfect for.

We’ve all been forced to listen to those annoying radio shows — you know, the ones that air during your morning commute instead of actual music — only to hear the hosts field calls from listeners who are constantly complaining about all that’s wrong in their lives.

(More on NewsFeed: Ford allows parents to censor the radio)

Most of the time, we can relate — we really can. But now Gawker has discovered that these callers are actually paid voice actors, and their woes are just as fake as their phone personas. What a sham!

A relatively new company called Premier On Call, as well as quite a few veteran services, including United Stations Radio Network, which was co-founded by Dick Clark,  supplies radio hosts with everything they need to ruffle listeners’ feathers and get people talking — from those surreal story lines to the perfect voices to act them out on the air. And at about $50 per call (for about 45 minutes of work), that can add up to a solid chunk of change.

So if you’re, say, Ryan Seacrest, one of the biggest fake-talk offenders, you can find all the people you need to air their dirty laundry on the line. Need a jealous girlfriend? They’ve got that! What about a drunk Bill Clinton impersonator? Yep! Jilted lovers? More than you can imagine! The possibilities are endless.

Apparently the only radio shows that are not guilty of using fake callers are syndicated news shows. No wonder — with hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, who needs character actors to start a ruckus? (via Gawker)

(More on TIME.com: See “Glenn Beck: The Mormon Radical.”)

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