Littles and the Angry Orange Man: A Study of Fans of the Tony Kornheiser Show Podcast

Conference: The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia2022)
Title: Littles and the Angry Orange Man: A Study of Fans of the Tony Kornheiser Show Podcast
Stream: Sports, Media & Globalisation
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Stephanie Pendrys, Turība University, Latvia


They call him "Mr. Tony", "The Angry Orange Man", "Grandpa", "Dr. Tony", and "Dr. HOF-WOF". They drive to work, walk the dog, and complete any number of idiosyncratic tasks while listening to a curmudgeonly talk show host with a dulled upstate New York accent remind them that “Wilbon is not surprised,” “help your friends and crush your enemies,” and if "you’re going out on your bike tonight, please wear white". Who are they? They are the community known as the "Littles", the loyal following of the Tony Kornheiser Show podcast. Using online survey data gathered from social media snowball sampling (N = 288) and three virtual focus groups, this 2021 study examined individuals who self-identified as fans of the Tony Kornheiser Show podcast within the frame of the uses and gratifications theory and the media repetition theory. The results of this study showed that individuals who listen to the show, and identify as a "Little", are a select breed who have created their own self-selected community through identifying as avid listeners of the podcast. The Tony Kornheiser Show podcast has cultivated a community of listeners who have forged personal friendships and develop a "connective tissue" that extends far beyond the podcast. This speaks to both the power of podcasting to build tight knit communities and to a larger question about what it means to be intimate and the extent to which media in general, and podcasting specifically, can create intimacy and community among fans through the medium of an earbud.

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