GTA Radio

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"You're listening to Chatterbox, hosted by me, Lazlow, because I got kicked off the rock station."

GTA Radio is an extensive Show Within a Show within the Grand Theft Auto universe. Although an early form existed in Grand Theft Auto II, it started when radio personality Lazlow Jones was hired to produce the radio shows for the series. Starting with Grand Theft Auto III, he created a whole series of fake stations, with the only thing real being the music (either originally produced for the games or licensed). Otherwise, the commercials, DJs, and shows are spoofs of those on actual radio (including where he spoofs himself).

The stations cover a huge variety, ranging from talk, rock, techno, rap, country, and others. The DJs are just as colorful.

In Grand Theft Auto IV, this even expanded to full TV shows and the Internet.

Tropes used in GTA Radio include:

Max Cavalera: "Fuck you, Jimmy [Gestapo], you left puke all over the studio last night!"

  • Celebrity Paradox: Axl Rose voices Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith in San Andreas's classic rock station K-DST, yet Guns N' Roses clearly exists in the game's continuity, since the song "Welcome to the Jungle" plays on modern rock station Radio X. Adding to the humor, Sage, the station's host whom Tommy publicly dislikes, claims to have slept with the entire band before Appetite for Destruction was released.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV's LCHC (Liberty City Hardcore). Luke (voiced by the man of the same name from 2 Live Crew) on Vice City Stories' Fresh 105 FM is this as well, as is Iggy Pop of IV's Liberty Rock Radio.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Marvin Trill, host of the Area 53 segment of West Coast Talk Radio (WCTR) in San Andreas, a parody of Coast to Coast AM.
  • Contractual Purity: In-Universe -- come San Andreas, Jimmy, the precocious young star of Vice City's Just the Five of Us, has become a drunken mess.
  • Deadly Game: Liberty City Survivor, advertised in III. The ad, complemented with fan footage from IV, can be listened to here.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The female station announcer of San Andreas's WCTR seems to be this, particularly in WCTR News intros.

(WCTR News #01): "Next up on WCTR -- the news. We tried to make it interesting and not depressing."
(WCTR News #03): "Next up, we've got the news. This time, some of it's true! Who are we kidding?"
(WCTR News #04): "Next up, it's sensationalist propaganda. I mean, the news."
(WCTR News #06): "Is the world ending? We hope so -- we need the ratings. The news is next!"

  • Defictionalization: Lazlow, radio scriptwriter for most GTA games from III onwards, has an actual XM radio show, in large part because of his resurgent popularity stemming from his involvement with the series, including, but not limited to, hosting a radio show in each game. He directly references it in IV, when he uses lines about remembering a time "when 16-year-olds could drink, smoke at bars, listen to heavy metal, and get into high-speed accidents" which was lifted directly from the opening to his show.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Alex Chilton, one of the girlfriends you can pick up in IV's in-game Internet runs a blog. Whenever you take her out on a date, she blogs about what you did afterwards, including your "sexcapades".
  • Distracted by the Luxury: San Andreas's DeKoch Diamonds commercial claims that diamonds can "chill that bitch out".
  • The Ditz: Amy Sheckenhausen from Vice City's K-Chat fits this trope perfectly, flirting with her famous or attractive guests and, until the end of an interview, being completely oblivious to the fact that one of her guests was promoting bestiality.
  • The Dung Ages: The in-game TV documentary "A History of Liberty City" in IV sees this trope applied to the founding of America up to the early 20th century. Though to be fair, Liberty City hadn't progressed that much since then.
    • Anachronism Stew: While this doesn't apply to the game itself, the "documentary" makes mention of porno magazines, subways, roller coasters and convenience stores as being part of "American History" anywhere from 20 to hundreds of years before they became prolific.
  • Dumbass DJ: Most of 'em DJs count.
  • Fake Band: A staple in early GTA games, it was mostly dropped by the time III came around with all but two music stations (Head Radio and Lips 106) playing licensed music. In Vice City, Hair Metal parody band Love Fist had two original songs -- "Dangerous Bastard" and "Fist Fury" -- on V-Rock (the game's rock station), and Unaesta and Alpha Banditos had three on the Espantoso station, (Yo te mire by "Tres Apenas como eso" and "La vida es la un lenteja" by Unaesta and "The Bull Is Wrong" by Alpha Banditos). Liberty City Stories was the last game in the series to have original music.
  • Fictional Video Game: Vice City has commercials on its radio stations for the Degenetron game system, which features such titles as Defender of the Faith ("Destroy the blue dots with your powerful red square!"). In San Andreas, they appear on retro arcade machines. You can't play them, but you can play the "emulator" on the defictionalised Degenatron "fansite."
    • III also has ads for Pogo the Monkey, which is later referenced by a Pogo the Monkey arcade in the cab firm from Vice City.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: In San Andreas, there is a news story of a man suing the Renaissance Fair because a replica catapult he purchased didn't have a label warning him not to fire it at his insurance agent's house, accidentally setting the entire neighborhood on fire.

"I don't wanna work very hard so I've hired a lawyer. I'm gonna be rich!"

Mary-Beth: "That's the difference. I don't have ex-husbands, I just have a lot of widowers. I own a LOT of black dresses. I LOVE funerals; I get shit-faced every time..."

"I'm just a humble blacksmith with a Californian accent! How am I supposed to save the world and sell franchise rights to theme parks?"

  • Nothing but Hits: In Vice City, San Andreas and Vice City Stories.
  • Only Sane Man: VCPR's Maurice Chavez in Vice City and Vice City Stories'. Mostly.
    • Lazlow also serves as this in III.
  • Parental Incest: Played for laughs with Nurse Bob.

Nurse Bob: "Now, remember what my daddy said: 'Don't you tell nobody about me coming in here at night!'"

"Have you noticed how popular synthesizers are getting? It's not the same as a lonely man with a pony tail, singing of his love on a guitar. At the door of a fair maid's hacienda. But it is not far short."

  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Jimmy Gestapo, DJ of IV's punk station Liberty City Hardcore, rants at length about the extremely hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle that he feels punk should be. Also, Iggy Pop, DJ of IV's classic rock station Liberty Rock Radio, talks about how a lot of the best music was made on drugs, and bemoans the fact that fewer rockers nowadays use them.
    • Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith of San Andreas's classic rock station K-DST is fond of this trope as well. Hell, the station's identifications are all narcotic plays on its nickname of "The Dust".

Station ID: "If the police can't stop you... (*police siren and gunshots*) you must be on... The Dust."
Station ID: "When all your drinking friends have gone to rehab, we encourage you to stay on... The Dust."

    • Sage of the modern rock station Radio X very much counts as well.

Sage: "I smoke! I smoke cigarettes, I smoke cloves, I smoke anything that can go up in flames! I'm crazy! That was Danzig. Slept with the whole band."

  • Show Within a Show: One of the most elaborate ever made, stretching across every game in the series.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lazlow (the in-series character) has seemingly turned into this come IV.
    • Sage and Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith on their respective radio stations in San Andreas.
  • Stealth Pun: "Fizz!", the celebrity gossip show from WKTT, the right-wing talk radio station in IV is hosted by Jane Labrador, who mentions field correspondent Susan Retriever by name. [1]
  • Stock Footage: Shots from San Andreas, Bully and Red Dead Redemption are used in the TV shows in IV when they have to represent places outside of Liberty City.
  • Strawman News Media: Portrayed as Types 3 and 4.
  • Strawman Political: Many times, directed against both sides.
    • Peyton (liberal) and Mary (conservative) Phillips, husband-and-wife hosts of the "I Say, You Say" segment of San Andreas's WCTR, are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of James Carville and Mary Matalin, political consultants for Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, respectively, who started dating while working on their behalf during the 1992 Presidential elections.

WCTR Announcer: "Boy, I can't imagine what those guys are like in the bedroom, but I'm sure it's a bit like the Bay of Pigs!"

Jack: Oh, there's only one thing to do -- I gotta defend freedom! No time to cry, only time to die! <three gunshots> WELCOME TO THE LAND OF FREEDOM, BITCHES!!! YAAAAAAHHHHH!!! <starts firing his gun into the air; the station then goes static>

Narrator: "After running residential facilities in Germany, Switzerland and then Brazil..."
Herr Gruber: "Haf you not read ze book? Strength good, veakness bad, badbadbad!

Moorehead: Before she was tragically killed, the daughter said her father was unarmed and never wore a gun. You know what that means?
Molly: Yes!
Moorehead: That's right, Molly -- means he's a sissy. I imagine when he hears his daughter is dead he'll cry.

Molly: What kind of a man cries, Gordon?!

Moorehead: I don't know. One that loses wars, I think. Probably the kind of man who raises a $2 tramp for a daughter, Molly. A very sick individual... and probably a communist.

Molly: I don't like to express strong emotions, but I think I hate this fisherman, Gordon!

Moorehead: Don't hate him, Molly -- pity him. And help me kill him.

Molly: Oh, I shall!

  • Vapor Wear: Sage, host of San Andreas's Radio X, notes she has freed herself from the tyranny of society by not wearing underwear.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: A between-song banter by Tommy Smith:

"For those of you just coming to consciousness next to an ugly chick in a strange bed with beer cans and underwear across the floor, run the hell out and get to the clinic."

Announcer: "Bait and Switch -- Vice City's only radio show devoted to water sports, power boats, water skiing, free flounder fishing and dialectical materialism. Oh, wrong script. Who wrote this shit?!"

Assistant: "Tits!"

Announcer: "Yeah, that's more like it. And tits!"

  1. To explain, both their names spell out "Labrador Retriever", a breed of dog, and considering they are both females...