Best Radio
Talk Show (2006)

Ray Hill's The Prison Show

A little girl sings to her father "You Are My Sunshine." A mother pleads for her son to drink plenty of water after laboring in the fields. A wife chokes on her tears, promising her husband, "My sweet love, I love you, I'll try to see you soon." The forum for all this pathos could only be The Prison Show, a 25-year-old program in which (for the most part) women and children call in on Friday nights to console loved ones holed up in jails throughout southeast Texas. Ray Hill, a convicted burglar-turned-jailhouse attorney-turned-talk show host, somehow keeps this inherently melancholic program upbeat, nudging it along while never cutting off or hurrying a caller. Most messages are mundane. Like classic country songs, you hear the same refrains. And like classic country songs, those refrains never lose their power.


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