No matter the genre, there are always trends in the tropes or character types we see in our books. Lately, there have been several releases that feature characters who work in radio or have a love for listening to or producing podcasts. It’s not an entirely new occupation or interest to feature, but it sure is getting a lot of “air time” recently in romance novels.
There’s something about romances where the characters have a “voice-facing” job, talking to strangers over the radio or on a podcast. Often times, their romantic partners fall in love with the voice first, which leads them to a deeper, more physical attraction. At times, there is even an epistolary element thrown in, with characters giving advice to callers or revealing their own experiences to their listeners. It’s also celebrity-lite. The characters work in entertainment and may even be household names, but they lack the stressful experiences of having to deal with paparazzi or tabloid gossip. (Something that, I, as a reader, find to be my off-button in my romance reading.)
Whether you’ve just discovered this sort of romance or you want to explore this character type a bit deeper, here are ten titles to explore!
A Sound Beginning by Jeff Adams
Let’s go podcasting-adjacent and talk about this contemporary romance novella featuring a voice actor! I would personally love to see more voice actors and narrators as romance characters. Harry wants to boost his voice acting career by putting in an in-home recording studio. He hires San Francisco contractor Diego for the job and the chemistry is instant. Grab this one for a low stakes, quick romantic read!
Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie
Charlie All Night is probably the first romance with this element I’ve read, and may be one of its early originators. After a bad breakup, radio producer Allie becomes career focused. Sadly, she’s also been demoted to the “graveyard shift.” When her station hires a new late night DJ, Charlie, she’s determined to make him a household name, but she’s worried his smooth, past-midnight tones are having their own effect on her.
Dirty Talk by Lauren Landish
Dirty Talk is probably the sexiest book on the list, on the line between contemporary and erotic romance. Derrick King is known as “The Love Whisperer” and gives out sex and relationship advice on air. Katrina Snow calls in during an episode on cheating and Derrick doesn’t want to end their conversation as the show goes off air for the night. The two start a phone flirtation that quickly heats up. A smutty slow burn!
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rachel Lynn Solomon has a fresh take on the fake dating trope by making her leads fake exes instead! Shay is a public radio veteran of sorts, having worked in radio for around a decade. Her new coworker, Dominic, frequently gets under her skin with his combination of newly graduated journalism student meets know-it-all attitude. When her station’s producers suggest a new show to boost ratings, where two exes give relationship advice, they think Shay and Dominic are the perfect ones to play the part. They’ve just…never actually dated.
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
How does a You’ve Got Mail retelling with two rival halal restaurants fit into this list? Aside from the main characters Hana and Ayden’s antagonism in making their family restaurants succeed, Hana has her own passion for radio. After experiencing racism and microaggressions at her local radio station, Hana decides to strike out on her own with a podcast that acts like her own audio diary, and her most loyal fan seems very familiar.
The Midnight Couch by Jae
This short story is all about opposites attracting and features an adorable crush, Like seriously, so cute! Paula is a technician at a radio station and has harbored feelings for host and relationship expert Dr. Christine Graham for quite some time. When Christine kicks off a special Valentine’s Day segment about revealing your secret loves and making the move, this might be the nudge Paula needs to confess her feelings.
On-Air Passion by Lindsay Evans
On-Air Passion kicks off Evans’s Clarks of Atlanta series in this category contemporary! Ahmed is mostly retired from basketball and is making his career as a radio host in the Atlanta area. When small business owner Elle grabs a spot on Ahmed’s show to promote her dating service, he’s immediately smitten. Elle is a little hesitant, but the radio station sees their potential pairing as perfect publicity for an upcoming Valentine’s Day special.
Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley
Two rival radio hosts at the same station butt heads in this opposites attract romance. Tate sold his highly successful company to become a full-time sportscaster. Noelle is a psychologist who doles out love and life advice on air. Tate is brash and loud, frequently getting under the more reserved Noelle’s skin. Great for readers who want a romance with sizzling attraction and an intense rivalry between two very different radio shows.
Turn It Up by Inez Kelley
For readers who love the friends-to-lovers trope, this one is for you! Dr. Bastian Talbot and Charlie Pierce are two co-hosts on a sex advice radio show. He brings in some scientific commentary on sex and arousal, while Charlie uses her own experiences to help listeners. Off the air, they’re wonderful friends with devastating crushes on each other. Unfortunately, Bastian wants something more, and Charlie is quite scared of commitment.
What If You & Me by Roni Loren
Andi Loxley is a woman who wears many hats as both a horror writer and true crime podcaster. Living with social anxiety, Andi is content with keeping to herself and committing fully to writing and research. Unfortunately, her new neighbor has turned out to be quite the distraction with his stomping around. Hill Dawson is a former fighter dealing with the trauma of a botched rescue and his sleep schedule has gone out the window. As the two clash overly neighborly etiquette, they realize their own emotional baggage plays rather nicely together and agree to a casual arrangement that turns into something more.