Concerning Talk Show Hosts
Many years ago, when I was the guest on a show whose host I knew, I was struck by how much less pleasant a person he was on the air than off. I concluded that he was doing the job he had been hired to do. Being nice is less dramatic than being nasty. Treating people you disagree with honestly and sympathetically, conceding the parts of their argument that are correct while disputing the parts that are not, is less effective theater than telling them what idiots they are—especially if most of your listeners are already on your side.
The situation is not, however, entirely hopeless; there are still a few shows I enjoy. On the right, there is G. Gordon Liddy. The political content is not terribly interesting, but he comes across as the sort of odd, quirky, interesting guy it would be fun to sit around talking with. I have a feeling that the same might be true of Michael Savage if he ever stopped trying so hard to live up to his name.
On the left, my current favorites are the Young Turks. They don't take themselves too seriously, their ads are funny, they not uncommonly say positive things about people on the other side and they mention arguments against the positions they support.
It's amazing that they are still on the air.