by Eric Bogosian

Directed by John Patterson

A finalist for the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Talk Radio is based in part on the assassination of radio host Alan Berg, as well as the book, "Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg by Stephen Singular." Its central character, Barry Champlain, is a controversial on-air radio “shock jock” doing what he does best: treating his late-night callers with contempt. But when his Cleveland-based program is considered for national syndication and his producer cautions him about offending sponsors, Barry defiantly responds and excoriates his audience...but they just keep calling.

» Read the press release.

Photography by Gary Griffin


"The language is raw, the characters are abrasive, but that’s the point of the play. You will be offended, and you will be entertained."

Read the Red Pub review


"It all makes for an amazing night of theater, even if it is not always a comfortable one. The audience rides the emotional roller coaster of the broadcast through the chilling world created for them in Barry’s studio..."

Read the Your Conroe News review


"It's a kaleidoscope of defeated people, vignettes of the damned and the depressed."

Read the Houston Press review


From the Artistic Director


I first saw Talk Radio at the Chris Wilson Studio for actors in 1997. The part of Barry Champlain was played by George Brock and it stayed with me all these years. I knew that I would produce this play one day, but I wasn’t sure how or when. When we formed Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. it was quick to make the short list. I knew that staging this play in today’s society needed a different treatment, as times have changed quite a bit and social media has all but replaced the call-in talk show.

Barry insults his callers from behind a mic and today we insult each other from behind computer screens. This made me think about the impact that words have on others and how much easier it is to insult someone when we aren’t directly confronted by them. If the computer screen didn’t separate us, would we change our tune? I’m not sure that Barry Champlain would; however, I think our audiences might when they see how the callers respond to his harshness rather than just hear the callers over the speakers. Bringing these typically unseen callers out into the open was a must for this production and I hope that it brings a more meaningful element to Barry’s behavior.


Congratulations to George Knapp who was nominated for a 2019 Houston Theatre Award by Houston Press for his "mind-blowingly definitive performance" of Kent. 

"Knapp finesses the play with a slacker's nonchalance and giddy instability."

A Different Kind Of Talk Show: Talk Radio At The MATCH

The cast of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company’s production of Talk Radio discusses how a play inspired by the media landscape of the 1980s still resonates today.

Read the article and listen to the podcast

Audience Reaction

"I said earlier this year that with the production of The Exonerated, Dirt Dogs Theatre Company pushed its way into the top tier of Houston performing arts groups. Talk Radio confirms that."


"Kevin Daugherty was excellent as protagonist talk radio host Barry Champlain. I liked the set design and the concept of having the radio callers visible in the peripheral rooms."


"You guys ROCKED IT!!!"


"Fabulous show...don't miss it!!!!!!"


"I was spellbound throughout the entire show by the amazing characterizations by the entire cast."

The Cast

Creative Team

Promotional poster

Director - John Patterson

Scenic & Sound Design John Patterson
Costume Design & Set Decoration Malinda L. Beckham
Lighting Design – Mark Lewis
Scenic Artist & Vocal Coach Amira Judeh
Production Manager – John Baker
Production Stage Manager Barbara Alicea-Aponte
Assistant Stage Manager – Erin Newsom
Lighting & Sound Operator Carly Gregg
Audio Engineer Trevor B. Cone
Program Design Melissa J. Mayo
Photography Gary Griffin
Lobby Art Bryan Kaplun

Talk Radio Brochure

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