Rheinhardt, a cynical drifter, gets a job as an announcer for a conservative talk radio station, WUSA in New Orleans. Rheinhardt is content to parrot WUSA’s reactionary editorial stance on the air, even if he does not agree with it. Rheinhardt finds his cynical detachment challenged by a woman he meets in a bar, Geraldine, and by Rainey, a neighbor and troubled idealist who becomes aware of WUSA’s sinister, hidden purpose. And when events start spinning out of control, even Rheinhardt finds he must take a stand.
Bingamon, the station’s owner, is sponsoring a white-supremacist hate rally that draws a protest from black militants. Rainey attempts to assassinate Bingamon, but after he misses and accidentally wounds someone else, Rainey is attacked by the crowd and beaten to death. In the chaos, drugs end up in the possession of Geraldine, who is arrested by the police and later hangs herself in the jail cell. A disillusioned Reinhardt packs his bags and leaves town.