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FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2016
Saturday morning cartoons. Three words that mean everything to a child. Forget cereal at the table - if you were lucky, you could grab your bowl, milk and cereal, and as you gazed into the wonder of cartoon after cartoon, you could munch away at increasingly soggy cereal. It was a rare time when my brother and I wouldn't fight over the remote, there was no news and thus, no struggles with my dad for the TV. It was simply: race to the TV, and watch.

I can't imagine what childhood was like in the days before television - at least not on my own. Bill Cosby has a great bit about listening to his favorite radio shows as a child, and while I'm sure I shared an excitement for shows, the experience must have been altogether different.

It's only been recently that I've been listening to the radio. It use to occupy the space around me, filling in my surrounding as background noise, but I largely ignored it. Top 40, Classic Rock, Talk radio, I largely ignored it - using it only to fill the silence. That was, until, I came across WireTap.

I was driving home one night absentmindedly flipping through the stations. The rock stations weren't playing anything worth listening to, the talk stations weren't talking about anything interesting... then I heard one station that stood out.

*Thump, thump* I heard. It sounded like a heart beat.

A voice came through asking: "What was that?" - the voice sounding like it was on a telephone. So it was a call in show... but why the heart beat?

"What was what?"

*Thump, thump*


"You... you heard that?"

"Of course I heard it... what was that?"

"My... my heart beat."

WireTap is not your typical radio show. The show is by Jonathan Goldstein who writes most of the material, though the show often features guest writers. It features Jonathan having conversations on the telephone with a few of his friends, sometimes his actual parents. And just as if his line were tapped, you're listening in. The fly on the wall. And just as I was finding, listening to Jonathan's heart beat, the stories are a little strange. A magical realism world, Kafkaesque dark story, with dead pan humor throughout. It's a show that, for the first time in my life, I've found myself rushing to the radio to listen to. No longer with a bowl of cereal, and this time as an adult.

I find myself listening entranced. Sometimes it's a monologue of Jonathan's, or one of his guests. Most times it's an interesting phone call. Always, though, it captivates me. And every once in a while, I find myself laughing at the overall ridiculousness of the situations.

In one show, Jonathan's Howard decides he'll be a bit too busy to maintain a level of friendship with Jonathan and decides upon a temporary solution...

In another show, perhaps one of my favorite, Jonathan reimagines Kafka's Metamorphosis in which Gregor Samsa corresponds with, perhaps, the only Doctor suitable for the problem...

WireTap is produced in Canada, and is on CBC Radio. It is also available on PRI, and Sirius Satelitte Radio. For broadcast times see CBC - WireTap



It's interesting that you write about Jonathan Goldstein, since I just saw him give a keynote at a conference I was about a week ago. He's really talented and funny.

Here's a gossip tidbit. After his speech I met two girls that he took to his hotel room. Apparently, he's a pretty weird guy. He asked the girls to lie on their back on his bed and imagine that they were all parts of a centaur. However, they followed his directions, to which I commented: "So it can't be too weird if you guys chose to go along with his weird bedroom suggestions?" And the girls agreed.

I was indifferent to Goldstein, having heard him a few times and finding him somewhat engaging, but I did like his centaur trick very much. But when the girls told Goldstein that they felt like their entire conversation was being recorded and they'd appear on a future episode, he replied "Why would I air this? This isn't interesting."



Replying to Alamir:
Wiretap is probably one of the most interesting, unique, original, and funny shows radio has ever produced. I don't have anything interesting to say about it beyond that, though. And the centaur thing?! That's pretty cool.



Replying to Hogan:
I actually have a lot more gossip on him, but that's the most funny and concise part of the story I'd imagine. Maybe I should write a gossip piece? Would that be considered too "low"?

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