Late Night Live
|Home station||ABC's Radio National|
|Opening theme||Wild Swans by Elena Kats-Chernin|
Since 1991, the program has been hosted by farmer, writer and public intellectual Phillip Adams, who refers to the program by its acronym 'LNL'. Previous hosts include publisher and journalist Richard Ackland, and Virginia Bell, now a judge of the High Court of Australia.
Often the setting for a serious and learned discussion of politics, science, philosophy and culture, the program aims to host cutting-edge discussion of public debate, and present ideas and issues not yet covered by other Australian media.
In 2011 a special online retrospective was compiled to celebrate 20 years behind the LNL microphone, called "In Bed With Phillip". Over 200 of the best interviews from these years are now available to listen and download. 
Regular contributor each Tuesday is Bruce Shapiro, an American journalist and Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Shapiro and Adams usually discuss contemporary USA politics, though the discussion can often be wide-ranging and include global politics. Less frequent regular contributors include the economist Satyajit Das, Beatrix Campbell on British politics.
Include high profile thinkers, writers, journalists and players from the literary, cultural and political world. Over the past 21 years guests have included Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal, Madeleine Albright, Gerry Adams, Jessica Mitford and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Most programs are divided into three segments, each segment delineated by a sting, a short piece of instrumental music lasting about 30 seconds, though occasional one-hour conversations involving one or more guests are becoming more frequent.
Adams' style is conversational and casual, not adversarial. He introduces his guests using their first and last names, followed by their qualifications and notable positions and achievements, and subsequently addresses them by their first name. When a guest is a university professor occupying a named chair, Adams usually asks the guest to briefly explain who or what the chair is named after. The pace is relaxed. Adams generally exerts subtle but firm control over the conversation's direction.
For many years, Adams has referred to his audience as "Gladys", the joke being that only one person is listening and that is her name. With the advent of podcasting and web streaming, Adams has since added "Poddies" to his listenership, and will often talk or refer to his "Gladdies and Poddies". He also has Noddies (who fall asleep to his program) and Maddies (who write him vitriolic letters), and now "Tweethearts" to include those who follow him on Twitter.
The program has a staff of four: Adams, an executive producer,and three producers (who each do one night shift per week.) Technical Producer also puts the program to air each night. Though Adams may make suggestions, the producers decide on the topic and guests, and they suggest questions, which Adams may take or leave.
In 2010 the estimated cumulative audience (number who listened during the past week) was 350,000, and the show was downloaded 217,463 times in August. Seventy five percent of downloads are to Australia, 6% to the US and 3% to Britain. It is the second most popular of all ABC radio programs, following Richard Fidler's Conversations. Sixty five percent of listeners are university graduates; 90% are forty or older; 40% hold "AB" (e.g., white collar) jobs while 45% are not in the workforce (retired or home duties – not unemployed), and 55% are women.
The current theme music is Eliza Aria from the Wild Swans ballet by Elena Kats-Chernin. This replaced Russian Rag also by Kats-Chernin. Adams jokingly refers to the earlier theme as the 'Waltz of the Wombats'. Several different arrangements have been used: Clarinet, trumpet, marimba, harp, violin, viola, cello, double bass; Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass; Flute, piano, cello; Bassoon with piano; Clarinet with piano; Violin with piano and unaccompanied Piano.
The previous theme, adopted soon after Adams took over as host, was the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060.
The most common criticism concerns Adams' tendency to interrupt his guests mid-thought, and the occasional over-long introduction. The producers also receive numerous complaints about Adams' left wing stance, his selling-out to the right wing, and his frequent use of humour in addressing serious topics.
- "Twenty Years of Phillip Adams on LNL". Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- Adams P. "Twenty years before the mast". The Australian. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- Philip Luker (20 April 2011). Phillip Adams: The Ideas Man – A Life Revealed. JoJo Publishing. pp. 189–206. ISBN 978-0-9870734-6-4.
- Have your say on the new Late Night Live Theme Music