Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Lipschultz

Second Advisor

Dr. Chuck Powell

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Hilt


This study explored the importance o f agenda-setting and priming effects by two Omaha talk radio show hosts during a presidential election. This project examined past research on agenda-setting and priming effects and applied it to local radio talk show hosts and their callers. To explore agenda-setting and radio talk show hosts, in-depth interviews were administered to KFAB talk show host Tom Becka and K K A R talk show host Steve Brown. The two hosts were also observed during their shows. Fifty hours of audio tape were recorded tw o w eeks prior to the 1996 presidential election. A survey o f tw enty questions was adm inistered to the callers o f both shows on four separate days. A total o f 71 surveys were com pleted. The purpose o f the survey was to find who was calling “The Tom Becka Show " and “Talk o f the Town with Steve Brown" and why. Other demographic information was sought to find if the callers to Omaha talk shows were typical o f other callers to radio talk shows found in past research. Both radio talk show hosts said the main source o f usable on-air information came from co-workers, people on the street, or the callers. Finally, those who typically called into KFAB and K K A R were Caucasian, male, and R epublican with one or more years of college education.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1997, Jodeane Newcomb Brownlee