My dialog with Hali the week we arrived in Chicago:
Me, Guess what tickets I have in my hand?
Hali, Chicago Cubs?
Second City Comedy Club?
Chicago Craft Beer Festival?
I wish, but, nope.
Wait, wait… don’t tell me, HAMILTON???!
You’re close, but it’s not Hamilton. It’s…..
Wait Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me!
That’s right, I bought a couple tickets to be a part of the radio audience for the taping of Wait Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me! This Chicago based broadcast began in typical radio fashion – inside a sound booth. Not boasting the in-depth story lines NPR is known for, the show had a bumpy start, swinging the slogan, NPR without the dignity. Lucky for us, the decision was made to keep making goofy jokes until they canceled the show. That was 20 years ago, and in 2005 it was decided to produce the broadcast in front of a live audience. They’ve had sold out auditoriums ever since.
Hali and I are fans of public radio. We enjoy hearing the different vibes of NPR in the cities we travel through. And, especially enjoy it when we catch our favorites: This American Life, Radiolab, The Moth, Ted Talks, and yes, even though Tom Magliozzi has been dead for years, we listen to the repeats of Car Talk.
Wait Wait is a news radio show that Chicagoan Peter Sagal hosts with a rotating panel of actors, writers, and comics. There hasn’t been an episode yet where we haven’t found ourselves laughing out loud. Personalities like Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca, Tom Bodett and, on a couple of occasions, Tom Hanks. Hanks actually filled in for Peter, who later quipped, “Tom is going to do this. I’m going to become America’s most beloved movie star.” On the program, panelists and contestants are quizzed in humorous ways about current news. The format is part game show, a little news show, and mostly a comedy show. A show where there is something for everybody.
With over 6 million weekly listeners, it is one of iTunes most downloaded podcasts. The demographics of listeners ranks us as college educated, voters, and patrons of the arts… in other words “smart.” I think Hali helps our team hold up that average.
My favorite part of the show is the limerick challenge. On this segment, an on-air listener phones in to the show. The caller is asked to fill in the last word of three limericks that co-host Bill Kurtis reads. Two out of three correct answers, wins. The prize,? Bill’s pitch-perfect, game show host voice as a message on your own phone answering device.
Your turn, check out our
Chicago is known for its hot dog,
It’s traffic that comes to a clog.
This show is what we will see,
it’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!
Thank you for following our ______.