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The Sound of Young America
Other names TSOYA
Genre Interview
Running time 30-60 min.
Country  United States
Languages English
Home station MaximumFun.org
Syndicates Public Radio International
Hosts Jesse Thorn
Recording studio Los Angeles, California
Air dates since 2000
Website www.maximumfun.org

The Sound of Young America is a public radio program and podcast based in Los Angeles, California and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). The weekly show is currently heard on 25 public radio stations in 19 markets[1], and can also be heard weekly on XM Radio's "XM Public Radio" channel.[2]

The program features host Jesse Thorn, who refers to himself as "America's Radio Sweetheart," interviewing personalities in arts and culture, with a special focus on comedy. Past guests have included Chuck D, Art Spiegelman, Shelley Berman, David Cross, Ira Glass, Patton Oswalt and others.

The show's title derives from a former slogan for Motown Records.

Contents

History

The Sound of Young America began in 2000 on the college radio station KZSC-FM, based at the University of California, Santa Cruz.[3] At first, The Sound of Young America was a variety college radio show featuring Thorn and two other cohosts, Matt Dobbs (who soon dropped out in favor of Jordan Morris)[citation needed] and Gene O'Neill.[4] Initially a morning show, it later ran from 5-6 PM each Thursday. O'Neill left in 2003, and Lane filled in periodically thereafter.[citation needed] Upon Morris' departure in May 2004, the show began to use rotating co-hosts. That autumn, Thorn went solo.[citation needed]

Past contributors to the show include Jordan Morris, "Boy Detective," and "Big Time" Gene O'Neill as co-hosts, and regular appearances from Thorn's joke-telling and sometime rock-and-roller younger brother, the King of "Would You Rather?" Jim Real, Brian "Back in Business" Lane, and artist/musician Dan Grayson. In 2003, the show staged a radio drama of Sad Dad, an original play written by Morris and O'Neill. 2003 also saw the debut of the show's theme song, Maximum Fun, written and performed by Thorn and Grayson.[citation needed]

Near the end of 2004 the show became available as a podcast. Thorn and the show were mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, and Salon.com.[3] Salon.com's Audiofile wrote, "If you've never heard of The Sound of Young America, The Sound of Young America is the greatest radio show you've never heard of," and described Thorn's interviewing style as combining "the civility and preparedness of [Terry] Gross leavened with the good humor of [Conan] O'Brien."[5] In January 2006, TIME selected the show in a column entitled "Pick of the Podcasts."[6] The Wall Street Journal's "Blog Watch" column described the show as "a popular podcast where Mr. Thorn interviews some of the nation's top talent and comics occasionally perform sketches, and noted that Thorn produced the podcast "from his living room."[7]

During this time, Thorn received a call from the director of programming at PRI, who had heard one of the podcasts and expressed interest in distributing the show.[3] In 2006 WNYC-FM, a public radio station in New York City, picked up the show, and PRI decided to distribute it.[8] As of September 2008 the show was carried on 18 public radio stations, in addition to the podcast.[8]

Market Availability

According to the show's website, in addition to the podcast the program is currently heard on 25 public terrestrial radio stations in 19 markets in 13 states.[1] The show is also broadcast weekly on XM Radio's "XM Public Radio" channel[2].

Other projects

In April 2006, The Sound of Young America launched a second podcast, The College Years, chronicling the pre-podcasting history of the show.[9]

In December 2006, Thorn and Morris reteamed to launch the podcast-only program Jordan, Jesse GO! (The first two episodes were released as "The Untitled Thorn/Morris Project".) The show is a return to the free-form radio that they did in Santa Cruz, before The Sound of Young America became almost exclusively an interview show. The first episode featured the return of former staple "Hang It Up/Keep It Up". The second episode saw the return of "Would You Rather?" and the introduction of "Judge John Hodgman" a mock-trial presided over by author/raconteur John Hodgman. Later shows often feature guests such as author Sarah Vowell, actor Rob Corddry, and various contemporary comedians [10].

In March 2007, Thorn launched the podcast-only program "Coyle and Sharpe: The Imposters", documenting street pranks and put-ons performed by Mal Sharpe and Jim Coyle in the early 1960s.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b List of stations, at Sound of Young America website.
  2. ^ a b List of programs at XM Public Radio website.
  3. ^ a b c Scott Rappaport, Maximum Fun: Alum Jesse Thorn woos young listeners with a new brand of radio show,, UC Santa Cruz Review (Spring 2008).
  4. ^ Jesse Thorn, "My Life As America's Radio Sweetheart", Metro Santa Cruz, August 23-30, 2006.
  5. ^ Ira Boudway, "Longer listens: Peter Guralnick, Art Spiegelman and some lost Van Morrison tracks on the 'Sound of Young America'", Salon.com, November 14, 2005.
  6. ^ "The Pick of the Podcasts, TIME, May 2, 2006.
  7. ^ Keith Huang, "Blog Watch: "The Sound of Young America", Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2006, copy available here.
  8. ^ a b Vows: Theresa Hossfeld and Jesse Thorn, New York Times, September 6, 2008.
  9. ^ College Years podcast announcement at Sound of Young America website, April 13, 2006.
  10. ^ http://www.jjgo.org/episodes
  11. ^ Initial Imposters post at Sound of Young America website, March 29, 2007.

External links

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