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Talkshoe screen.JPG
Talkshoe Home Page
Type of site
Free podcasting host
Owner iotum Inc.[1]
Created by Dave Nelsen
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched May 2006[2]
Current status Active

TalkShoe is a Web 2.0 Internet radio/podcasting site that uses a Java chat client in conjunction with a conference call bridge to allow users to host or participate in live on-line talk radio shows called "community calls" or simply a "call" for short. A call can be syndicated and downloaded after the live show ends as a podcast. Community call hosts were paid a monthly fee based on the quantity of listeners their shows received until the abrupt end of the revenue sharing in May 2008.

TalkShoe's name is a play on "talk show," using Ed Sullivan's pronunciation of the word "show" as "shoe."[3]


TalkShoe was founded in April 2005.[4] It is currently privately owned.

The TalkShoe headquarters and the dial-in access point for its conference call bridge are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


All TalkShoe hosts are required to register at the site in order to participate, however guests can listen to a show via the web client without registration. Through the registration process, a user chooses a screen name and a 10-digit unique PIN. TalkShoe suggests the registrant use his own phone number for ease of remembering, but registrants with privacy concerns may use any number they wish as long as it has not been taken. The purpose of registration is so that the chat client can display the correct screen name to represent each dialed-in user.

A community call is started by using's web-based interface to create and categorize the show. A call may cover any subject matter the host desires, but may not include forbidden content such as pornographic material. The call is assigned an ID number that is used by participants to dial in. The host may then schedule a session of the show and optionally send email or SMS text notifications to invite guests. Once a session is scheduled, the host and callers may dial in up to 15 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. Callers may connect to a show using the TalkShoe Live! chat client, telephone, or both.

There are two components to a call experience: Chat and Voice. Calls were previously called Talkcasts.


TalkShoe allows users to use one of two available clients. One is a Java-based chat client called TalkShoe Live! Pro, currently available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X platforms (though a Linux native version is promised soon). The client requires Java 1.5. The other is a Web-based client known as TalkShoe Live!.

The software allows hosts to start or stop the recording of their podcast, and to mute or unmute the text and/or voice chat ability of callers to the show. It allows callers to listen to the show in streaming audio if they have not phoned in (the stream is automatically muted when the software senses a voice connection from the same user), or to set a flag indicating they wish to be unmuted (that is, allowed to speak "on the air") if they have phoned in. It allows both host and callers to chat via text-message to each other, and to see who is currently and no longer connected to the show.

Unlike most chat/instant messaging applications, which follow a vertical scrolling paradigm, The TalkShoe Live! Pro client text chat scrolls horizontally, placing chat bubbles in a row next to the screen name of the person who typed them. It also uses threading in which responses to a given chat message take on the same color as that chat message. This is intended to allow easy tracking of conversations by users who are not able to give the text conversation their full attention. The Web-based TalkShoe Live! client uses a more traditional vertical scrolling paradigm.

The text chat is usually used for out-of-band conversations among show participants, the exchange of URLs related to show content, and questions or responses to the host or guests from listeners who are muted or unable to call in. It is not necessary for listeners or guests to use the chat client in order to connect by phone; however, they will be unable to use the chat client's features such as text chatting or requesting to be unmuted.

Rating system[edit]

TalkShoe features a voluntary rating system for its talkcasts; a talkcast may be rated A for All Audiences, PC for Parental Control, or EL for Explicit Language. Hosts are given the responsibility of rating their own shows; shows that are improperly rated may be reported to TalkShoe by its users.


TalkShoe was launched in June 2006 by Dave Nelsen, a former employee of the FORE Systems telecommunication company. Nelsen intentionally kept the site's launch low-key, wishing to build site traffic slowly by word of mouth. Early talkcasts were by local Pittsburgh personalities,[4] including radio talkshow hosts who simulcast via TalkShoe as another method of broadcasting their show and taking call-ins.

In November 2006, talkshow hosts Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte decided to start hosting their Net@Nite show via TalkShoe. The large increase in traffic to TalkShoe, both in terms of callers into the Net@Nite show and new listeners/hosts who were introduced to TalkShoe and started shows of their own, has caused TalkShoe to put a number of planned features on hold in favor of increasing server capacity. On Sunday, December 3, the Net@Nite show with guest Kevin Rose of Digg was the busiest live show on record, with 930 total streaming or chatting participants.

On January 27, 2007, Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, who was the first Democrat to run for president in 2008 came onto Talk Shoe and spoke for fifteen minutes about his plans if elected president. He appeared on the then Regular Guys Show hosted by Kurt Hurner. Vilsack would come back onto TalkShoe, now on the Kurt Hurner Show on August 12, 2008, this time as a representative of the Barack Obama for President campaign. Vilsack took calls from listeners for half an hour.

On January 24, 2010 Natalie Cunial from CBS' Big Brother 9 was the hour-long guest on Logan's Run Live, hosted by Bruce "Logan" Pringlemeir. Due to the promotion from Talkshoe for this broadcast, traffic to the show ran up with numerous live callers for the interview. The final numbers were nearly 300% the normal show for Logan's Run Live.

On July 22, 2010,a new Wordpress Plugin was developed to reflect the Talkshoe Dynamic Badge or Widget. You can find out more about this new plugin at [5]

On July 22, 2010, a new Dynamic Widget was released to reflect the Talkshoe Dynamic Badge or Widget for blogs and web sites. You can find out more about this new widget at [6]

On July 27, 2010, TalkShoe was recognized as one of the “2010 Hottest Pennsylvania Companies” by Lead411.[7]


  1. ^ "Portfolio". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  2. ^ "Milestones | TalkShoe Blog". Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  3. ^ "TalkShoe - About the TalkShoe company that creates Community Calls". 1999-12-04. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  4. ^ a b Shropshire, Carolyn (2006-06-06). "All talk, all the time: New local Web site lets everyone have their say". Pittsburgh, PA Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  5. ^ Wordpress Repository Plugin page
  6. ^ Talkshoe Widget
  7. ^ Lead411 launches "Hottest Pennsylvania Companies" awards

External links[edit]