020: Interview: Jesse Thorn, Part 2

Running Time:
00:13:59

Merlin talks with The Sound of Young America’s Jesse Thorn about how podcasts let him engage with a wider audience, the greying of public radio’s average listener, and how radio can be programmed to become almost unnoticeable.

Note: This is the second segment in our six-part interview with Jesse Thorn. Don’t miss the other segments.

Also mentioned in (or related to) this segment: UC Santa Cruz; KZSC; Maximum Fun Forum; WNYU; photos from Jesse’s recent meetup; TSOYA Flickr Group; Spiderman 3; KKSF (San Francisco’s Smooth Jazz); WFSU; WFSQ, and their playlist; Scott Simon (Scott, we kid because we love.); Fresh Air; MC Solaar; Killer Mike; Andrew W.K.; Jesse’s somewhat infamous letter to Weekend ATC; Matisyahu, a well-known hasidic hip-hop artist; Orientalism; Google Answers: Average listener age for public radio; Jesse’s MaxFun post: NPR Listeners: Exactly How You Picture Them; Kelefa Sanneh; KPCC.


Jesse Thorn (a/k/a, “America’s Radio Sweetheart”), is a nationally syndicated public radio host, raconteur, and podcaster who’s best known for The Sound of Young America and several other podcasts under the aegis of his “Maximum Fun” site:


  • Merlin’s personal picks for a few Sound of Young America episodes to get started with:
    • October 13th, 2006 — Best Friends - “Guests John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton. Our guests were college classmates, and remain close friends today. Hodgman is an author and is regularly seen on The Daily Show. Coulton is a comic singer-songwriter.”
    • April 10th, 2007 — Jack McBrayer - “We talk with Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenneth, the lovable NBC Page, in the NBC sitcom ‘30 Rock.’”
    • August 26th, 2006 — The Impostors - “Guest Mal Sharpe. Mal Sharpe was half of Coyle & Sharpe, a ground-breaking team of put-on artists who terrorized 1960s San Francisco.”