The Sound of Young America

The Sound of Young America

Infobox Radio Show
show_name = The Sound of Young America

imagesize = 160px
other_names = TSOYA
format = Interview
runtime = 30-60 min.
country = USA
language = English
home_station =
syndicates = Public Radio International
presenter = Jesse Thorn
creator =
director =
producer =
executive_producer =
narrated =
record_location = Los Angeles, California
first_aired = 2000
last_aired = present
audio_format =
website = []
podcast =

"The Sound of Young America" is a public radio program and podcast based in Los Angeles, California and distributed nationally by Public Radio International. The show is broadcast on Public Radio International stations around the country, including WNYC in New York, New York and WHYY-FM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It can also be heard on XM Radio's "XM Public Radio" channel.

The program features host Jesse Thorn, "America's Radio Sweetheart," interviewing prominent 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 program was also the first public radio show on the West Coast to be podcast.

In November 2005,'s Audiofile covered "The Sound of Young America", writing that "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." In January 2006, "Time" magazine selected the show as "Pick of the Podcasts."


"The Sound of Young America" was originally a show at the college radio station KZSC-FM, based in University of California, Santa Cruz. Initially a morning show, it later ran from 5-6 PM each Thursday.

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. The show has also performed "Mace Detective, Private Detective," a noir-esque radio drama featuring an absurd private eye with a thirst for suicide (that is, all the different kinds of soda mixed together). 2003 also saw the debut of the show's theme song, Maximum Fun, written and performed by Thorn and Grayson.

"The Sound of Young America" was first broadcast in 2000, with Thorn, O'Neill, and Matt Dobbs hosting. Shortly thereafter, Dobbs signed up for a class he could not miss, and Morris joined the team (Thorn was his resident advisor). O'Neill left in 2003, and Lane filled in periodically thereafter. Upon Morris' departure in May 2004, the show began to use rotating co-hosts. That autumn, Thorn went solo.

On June 18, 2007, Thorn announced that "The Sound of Young America" had been picked up for national distribution by Public Radio International.

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.

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 Hodgman" a mock-trial presided over by author/raconteur John Hodgman.

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.


ee also

*Public Radio International

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Blog of "The Sound of Young America"]
* [ Podcast Feed for "The Sound of Young America"]
* [ "The Sound of Young America" in iTunes]
* [ "Radio Host Jesse Thorn tries to establish an alternative to creeping NPR speak"] at the "Santa Cruz Sentinel"
* [ Interview with Jesse Thorn] at Hampton Catlin's Blog (formally Just as Loud)
* [ Audio interview with Podcast 411]
*" [ Interview with Jesse Thorn] " - [ small WORLD Podcast] 2006
* [ Interview From November 2nd 2006]

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