Podcast News

How to listen to The Flamethrowers, a new podcast by Justin Ling

The Flamethrowers with Justin Ling is a six-part series about how right wing radio took over American democracy — from the conspiracy peddlers of the 1920s to the political firestorm still raging today.

The new six-part series explores how right wing radio took over American democracy

How right wing radio took over American democracy. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

The Flamethrowers, a new six-part podcast hosted by Justin Ling, captures the punch-you-in-the-mouth energy and sound of right-wing talk radio.

Ling takes us from the fringe preachers and conspiracy peddlers of the 1920s to the political firestorm still raging today. With humour and candour, he examines the appeal of broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh, and how he found a sleeping audience, radicalized it, and became an accidental kingmaker — culminating in the election of Donald Trump.

The series runs from Sept. 8 to Oct. 13, with new episodes dropping weekly on Wednesdays. 

The show is available on CBC Listen, as well as several other popular podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Google PodcastsSpotify and more. You can also stream each episode, as it releases, below.

Available Now

Episode 1: The Father of Hate Radio
Out Wednesday, Sept. 8

Father Charles Coughlin, who at his height attracted an estimated third of the American public, was radio’s first real political celebrity. (Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Our story begins with Canadian priest Charles Coughlin — a populist crusader who winds up espousing conspiracy and hate. Right-wing radio flexes its muscle with a boycott of Polish Ham. And the Kennedy government almost wipes right-wing talk off the map. 

Recommended further reading: Paul Matzko's The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement.

Coming Soon

Episode 2: What a Rush
Out Wednesday, Sept. 15

President Ronald Reagan takes the shackles off right wing radio. And Rush Limbaugh — almost by accident — becomes a kingmaker in the Republican party and changes radio forever.

Episode 3: The Information Wars
Out Wednesday, Sept. 22

Welcome to the world of conspiracy and paranoia. A horrifying act of domestic terrorism brings right wing radio some unwanted attention, which pushes one fan of the supernatural away from politics, while a pair of anti-government broadcasters dig their heels in.

Episode 4: The Echo Chamber
Out Wednesday, Sept. 29

The terror attacks of September 11th have Americans turning the dial to talk radio, where a whole new generation of broadcasters are eager to capitalize on anxiety and fear.

Episode 5: The Rage Industry
Out Wednesday, Oct. 6

Right-wing radio finds their greatest foe in Barack Obama: As they try to take him down at every turn, they find the perfect formula to manufacture outrage.

Episode 6: The Talk Radio President
Out Wednesday, Oct. 13

Donald Trump takes the style, tactics, and issues straight from the right-wing radio playbook. The only question now is: Where does it go from here?