I actually don’t think that’s the goal here.
I dislike talk radio as well, and moderators who treat their room like one (2 or 3 key speakers, questions from audience after they have finished the main discussion) are the least engaging for me.
When rooms have a fluid conversation, with moderators encouraging audience involvement/opinions and drifting off topic based on the mood, this is when I’m most likely to listen more and even contribute.
It’s internet based social group phone calls.
And while there’s always going to be an element of interest being able to be in a room with a public figure, I think the goal is less global engagement and more locally created rooms in this new media.
It’s only really just starting to take hold in South East Asia/Oceania, but there plenty of locally created people/rooms to have engagement during the local time zones.