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A shock jock is a radio broadcaster or DJ who entertains listeners and attracts attention using humor and/or melodramatic exaggeration that may offend some portion of the listening audience. The term is used pejoratively to describe provocative or irreverent broadcasters whose mannerisms, statements and actions are typically offensive to much of society. It is a popular term within the radio industry. A shock jock is the radio equivalent of the tabloid newspaper in that both consider entertaining readers to be as important as, if not more important than, providing factual information. A radio station that relies primarily on shock jocks for programming has what is called a hot talk format.
The term is used in two broad, yet sometimes overlapping contexts:
- The radio announcer who deliberately makes outrageous, controversial, or shocking statements, or does boundary-pushing stunts to improve ratings.
- The political radio announcer who has an emotional outburst in response to a controversial government policy decision.