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David and the Wire

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - 01:10 AM

(Photo Credit: Rae Allen/Flickr)

David Weinberg was stuck. He had been kicked out of college, was cleaning toilets by day, delivering pizzas by night and spending his weekends in jail. Then one night he heard a story on the radio and got it in his head that maybe he too could make a great radio story. He’d cast himself as the main character in a great documentary and he’d travel and live and steer his way out of his rut.

So he bought a recorder and began to secretly record every last meaningful and mundane minute of his life and he found his great idea transformed into a troubling obsession. The very thing that gave him hope and purpose was also distancing him from those he loved the most. What if he’d created an archive of his life that had become his life?


Produced by Andy Mills.

David Weinberg is an award winning reporter and producer for KCRW. His most recent project is Below The Ten (www.belowtheten.com)

The iTunes page for the series: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/kcrws-below-ten-life-in-south/id1030625802

He has taken lots of those old recordings (and lots of new ones too) and put them together in a collection called Random Tape http://randomtape.com/

David explored some of this story on the late, great CBC show Wiretap: https://beta.prx.org/stories/82541

David isn't alone in being inspired by Scott Carrier. You can listen to his This American Life stories here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/search?keys=scott%20carrier

And we highly recommend his podcast Home of the Brave: http://homebrave.com/

Guests:

David Weinberg

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Comments [156]

Courtney from Portland

I took pictures the day of a life-altering and disabling accident. It was a film camera, so when the camera got destroyed in the accident (it was around my neck at the time of incident), the film was destroyed. I now have no photos of one of the most important days of my life. I find myself in a similar position to David. Is it a blessing or a curse that I didn't have any photos? More likely, it just is. I see this podcast as one man being met with the truth and having to accept it again and again. IT JUST IS. I do think though that given enough therapy and processing of the memory he might be able to recall what his friend said. Either way, I think this was a lovely (is that too cheery) little vignette.

Mar. 07 2017 09:23 PM
Jason from Jacksonville FL

This was great to listen to. I enjoyed it! The ending had me in tears

Jan. 16 2017 12:59 PM
Scott from Ocoee, FL

I'm new to podcasts and Radiolab. Have thoroughly enjoyed the 8-10 episodes I've listened to. The podcasts have been great entertainment during my 30-35 minute commute. I feel smarter and more informed. That was all up until this one. It's difficult to express how disappointing, boring and pointless this one was. At the end, I was genuinely ticked-off that I listened to the whole thing. What a contrast to the others I've listened to so far.

Jan. 07 2017 03:23 PM
JB from Miami

Horrible non-story. This came across as a high school assignment that was poorly conceived and put together at the last minute. C- if a high school student had actually produced this but solid F since those who produced it should have known better. Who does David know and/or how much money was donated in order to get this on air?

Dec. 27 2016 05:49 PM
Kelly from Austin

This didn't really seem like a noteworthy story to me. It wasn't very thought provoking or interesting. Am I missing something? This guy recorded himself, a lot. Then he didn't and his friend died.

Dec. 14 2016 11:52 AM
Sharon H from IN

This has got to be one of my alltime favorite episodes...thank you

Nov. 18 2016 08:25 PM
Tike Turbley from NYC

Darn! I come to Radiolab so that Jad and Robert can tell me what to think! They didn't tell me what to think in this one! Darn! What's the meaning!!?? Worst episode ever!

Nov. 15 2016 04:06 PM

I really liked listening to this one. Reminds me of how some of the anime/stories in Japan are told about normal life. You don't have to have a big moral at the end of the story or a big twist. Real life is usually not like that. With so much focus on what society deems to be the extraordinary, I like this as a change up.

Nov. 13 2016 01:19 PM
andrea from Sacramento CA

This is actually one of my favorite episodes... any of the "points" of if -- like the barrier created between the person and the moment by recording; or possibly what is the alchemy that changes lives -- does not have to hit one over the head. I like the "rambling" nature, it reflects the nature of life... I think that is what appeals to some documentarians... that feeling that every ordinary moment is reflective of all of existence. Makes me thing of Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man... also about a person self-recording... and we are left to interpret how the director is viewing the subject ourselves at times... not told.

Oct. 15 2016 09:35 AM
Daniel

The amount of toxicity in this comment section is absolutely disgusting.

Sure it's not the best episode, but what of it? People talk like it killed their firstborn.

Oct. 12 2016 06:58 PM
Bill Saidel from Cherry Hill, NJ

After so many superb Radiolabs, I could not understand the broadcast of David and the Wire like so many others who have commented before me. The problem was its lack of focus and it was so simple to have one: both taping and photography create walls between the now and the person, but Radiolab missed even that point. Apparently I am one of many asking the question, "Why?"

Sep. 07 2016 02:31 PM
Walter

I've never made a comment on here before and enjoy RadioLab immensely but what was the point of this particular episode? I kept waiting on *something* to happen or a point to be made but it was just a boring rambling story.

Aug. 23 2016 01:24 PM

Annoying story, annoying website! I've logged into my account on three different browsers, and on none of them am I able to vote on any of the comments. Something is broken, dudes. I expect more from Radiolab.

Aug. 21 2016 10:55 AM
Anme

Wow. I think the radio lab folks might be running out of original content for storoes. This episode is as pointless and boring as this poor guy's life.

Aug. 19 2016 04:51 PM
Eric from cambridge

I used to look forward immensely to Radiolab episodes (which I've listened to since the beginning) - they were much less frequent but always amazing. Sadly, it seems that the apparent pressure to produce episodes regularly and relatively frequently has, unsurprisingly, led to a steady decline in their quality. I don't doubt your good intentions, but it seems as if you're increasingly casting about desperately to fill the slot.

This one was really a new low - and Radiolab podcasts continue to slide ever further from the top of my playlist. Until now, I've donated money to Radiolab every year, but I'm now reconsidering. It had also occurred to me, as someone else mentioned, that you're becoming a thin version of This American Life [note to Radiolab: it's not as easy as it looks/sounds]

Finally, I'd note that the On The Media podcast has analogously broadened its horizons over the years, but, in contrast, has nevertheless continued to be compelling and still feel focused.

Aug. 17 2016 10:31 AM
Chris from Southern California

It's true, the "is this even a story?" remark was an interesting interjection, especially as one that was left in. But it was left in and I do think it's a story. It's compelling in its aloofness. What obsession do I have? Why wasn't the character's life since his friend's death discussed? How did he move from that person to the successful (and presumably successful-feeling) person he is today? I thought his comment about still wanting to finger that record button fascinating. I don't listen to every Radiolab episode, and this morning I chose this one because it's about the same amount of time as my drive to work. I'm glad I listened in.

Aug. 16 2016 04:23 PM
Karin from CA

Listening to this made me think a lot about the way we live in our world today, with our phones' cameras ever on the ready to snap or record our lives. We take for granted that we are able, and perhaps are constantly challenged to decide whether we'd like to BE in the moment, or record the moment. And all the repercussions of living life on social media and how it makes us think of ourselves and how our lives look next to others'. It made me think about the movie The Truman Show as well, and how David kind of self-created his own version of The Truman Show, consequently removing a certain sense of genuine interaction out of his life. I feel a lot for him and his loss, and feel a bit annoyed at the way they rushed through the events of such a tragedy and quickly posed the question about his obsession to record. I feel like it felt cold. I hear a lot of disappointed comments, but I personally enjoyed hearing his story. It's not a blockbuster hit but it makes you think.

Aug. 14 2016 03:03 PM
Jimena from Mexico City

sorry, misspelled, it's Jorge Luis Borges' "Funes el memorioso"

Aug. 13 2016 05:14 PM
Jimena from Mexico City

I liked this episode a lot. It made me think in Jorge Luis Borge's short story "Funes el memorioso". It's a must read for anyone interested in historiography or philosophy of history.
I found an English translation here: http://users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/spaceshotsairheads/borges-funes.pdf

Cheers

Aug. 13 2016 03:25 PM
Tim from Denton, TX

I can understand why many listeners were bored by this podcast, but I actually loved this episode. I think most disappointed listeners simply missed the point and were unable to connect with David's story.
I feel like this isn't about someone's attempt to create their first radio story, it's about David's attempt to find meaning. I think he felt that by recording every insignificant moment, he would infuse meaning or a sense of purpose to his life. His life was slipping by as he watched his friends enjoy life.

I think when we really listen and empathize, we can all relate to this quest for meaning. After all, isn't the significance of life hidden in the small insignificant moments?

Aug. 11 2016 11:11 AM
Jack from Madison

Thanks for all the comments I was able to stop halfway through without wasting anymore time on this. Robert was right when he interjected and was like what's the point of this guys story.

Aug. 10 2016 03:29 PM
jerry

Boring.Not up to Radiolab standards. Disappointing.

Aug. 10 2016 10:47 AM
Adam from nyc

I just want to say that this is my favorite episode of this podcast. Please do not be discouraged by the response. Borderline literary in its exploration of character as well as the way in which records affect memory, experience, and the performative aspects of everyday social life. Thanks guys.

Aug. 06 2016 04:27 PM
Amsamoa from Samoa

This story was so *unbelievably* bad I'm struggling to find words. Can someone explain why this even got airtime?

Seriously, I would really like to know how and why this story made it to air. I suspect that the explanation would be a whole lot more interesting than the episode in question.

Aug. 06 2016 03:53 AM
Cheryl from Seattle

Worst Radiolab podcast episode ever!! Seriously, it was an incredibly boring discussion about a recording-obsessed loser with no story arc or interesting lesson. I'm sorry for his very unfortunate loss of a friend. I would have much rather listened to his friend, frankly. I assume this attempt at a story was a favor to a David but a total waste of my time. This episode was way below the usual Radiolab standard. I have zero interest in listening to David's podcast...yawnsville!

Aug. 05 2016 08:19 PM
Kim from San Diego, CA

I agree with Adam. Although I don't believe all the comments are bile as he mentioned. I found his compulsion to record his life fascinating. This is relate-able in today's world of social media. How authentic are we being when who we are is defined by our social media profiles? David discovered he behaved and spoke differently because he knew he was being recorded. The revelations he had as a result of his experiences are inspiring.

Sing like nobody's listening...
Dance like nobody's watching...
Talk and listen to your friends like its not being recorded.

Psychology and Sociology is science.

Aug. 05 2016 03:48 PM
JackieD

Bleak boring babble.

Aug. 04 2016 02:31 PM
rubydock from Brooklyn, NY

I've listened to radiolab for years and love your show. If I miss a show I catch the podcasts. I've never felt compelled to leave a comment until today. This episode was quite boring! Totally agreed when Robert asked - is there a story here? Uninspiring. Maybe could have been presented in a 5 minute piece.

Aug. 04 2016 12:20 PM
MOCK! from Vermont

Saif said "This episode hit me real hard. Yeah, it was kinda boring during the story but that climax at the end left me speechless."

The ending had the opposite effect on me! The guy was so drug addled and so self centered he could neither remember what his friend said nor could he make up a could story to pretend he could remember.

As so many others have pointed out, Robert nailed it when he commented that he wasn't sure there was a story here. It almost felt like someone caught his comments on hidden microphone during a production meeting.

Too many comments to sift through but Kay saying "Really, the problem with having too many mostly white, mostly privileged men running these things is that they never tire of hearing about the "struggles" of white, male mediocrity" seems like she is trying to stir up a separate controversy that wasn't needed.

Aug. 02 2016 05:02 PM
Greg from Auckland, New Zealand

I don’t usually leave comments here at Radiolab, but this podcast was so bad that led me to do so. I used to enjoy RadioLab, a lot. Your latest stories have been weak but this one is undeniably the worst podcats Radiolab has ever posted. I am sure there are more interesting, stories to publish? Anything is more interesting than that. I can only conclude that this is a sponsored self-promoting story. This man must have paid some money to have his tedious, private and insignificant tale published by Radiolab.

Jul. 31 2016 10:33 PM
Phil from Utah

I really love and respect radiolab, but this episode was the worst. What's going on?

Jul. 31 2016 03:44 PM
Dave

While a somewhat interesting story, it lacked any sort of interest.

Jul. 29 2016 11:59 PM
bluethreads from NY

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this is the Worse Episode Ever.
after it ended, I kept replaying the story back in my head wondering what I missed.

it's a week later, I'm still waiting for the punchline.

radiolab used to be my all-time favorite podcast, now it is a podcast I listen to when I've run out of all other listening options.

Jul. 29 2016 09:42 PM
Kay

Evidently many people thought the same as I did. Really, the problem with having too many mostly white, mostly privileged men running these things is that they never tire of hearing about the "struggles" of white, male mediocrity. There's so much of that, and so much airtime, book pages, drive space to fill with it. One word: blagh.

Jul. 28 2016 08:32 PM
Nelson from Worcester, MA

This is the dumbest podcast I have ever listened to, and I already feel dumber for having listened. I wish someone had warned me and spared me the agony.

Jul. 28 2016 08:28 PM
Jason from Detroit

I love Radiolab overall, but this episode is certainly lackluster. There really isn't a story here, and certainly not something worth of a podcast. It's ironic, because Robert even says halfway through "I'm not so sure there is a story here".... and he's right, there isn't' one. Robert and Jad are non-existent in this episode.

I feel like maybe they *could* have taken this somewhere. Perhaps start talking about if the drugs maybe made the moment more surreal to them. Perhaps talk about free will vs. fate... seems like Mark was fated to jump up and run off randomly when he did. Talk about if there are other people across the world that have this odd obsession with recording everything, now that we are in the digital era of information. So yeah, this *could* have went somewhere, but as it stands now, very disappointing episode.

Jul. 28 2016 05:30 PM
Zoro from UW Madison

I agree with every comment here that shares the belief that this show is losing it. There have been multiple episodes this year that are flat out disappointing. Every time this show strays from science and technology has been an utter failure in my opinion. If I want to listen to a personal journey story I will play a This American Life episode and it will actually be done correctly. Not spend the entire meaningless time building a cliff hanger. I am sure other veteran RL fans would echo this sentiment. Bring this show back to its former glory please.

Jul. 27 2016 12:13 PM
Ashley from Canada

It's too bad that the thumb-up/down feature doesn't work, because I'd like to draw attention to this comment by "Joel from Phillyh":

"I would love to hear the producers give a post-mortem for what virtually every listener agrees was a colossal failure."

I heartily agree with this sentiment.

Jul. 26 2016 04:12 PM
Frederico Mortein from Slovakia

This deserves to be deleted so no one else will loose 32 minutes and 14 seconds. Utter drivel ...

Jul. 26 2016 04:00 PM
C

I listened this morning and kept wondering when the story would emerge. It was a non-story. Most disappointing radiolab to date. Used to love you guys but recently just been wondering why. Is this the end of the show? (I do love MorePerfect).

Jul. 26 2016 11:22 AM
disappointed from Rockland County

I was extremely disappointed in this episode and decided to see what the comments were. I see almost everybody agreed with me, so that's good.
Horrible, unbelievably boring and not at all worthwhile. Radiolab used to be great. Now it's honestly not worth listening to.

Jul. 26 2016 10:59 AM
Maka from Australia

You guys must be desperate for some ideas. That was shocking.

Jul. 26 2016 12:37 AM
Joel from Phillyh

Sadly solipsistic. I would love to hear the producers give a post-mortem for what virtually every listener agrees was a colossal failure.

Jul. 24 2016 03:02 PM
Widtap from Washington, D.C.

Robert - we need you to be the adult in the room. When you say "there is no story here" the rest of the staff need to take the mentoring, find the story or move on. There was no established reason to care about David or his friend. When his friend dies - what meaning does it have?

Slice-of-life is definitely not Radiolab's forte.

Please bring us back to the good storytelling that you have demonstrated throughout your career.

Jul. 24 2016 03:01 PM
Ned Brooks from CT

I confess that when I compare this episode to the Radiolab work of a few years ago I am so disappointed. This has to be the nadir in a long slide in creativity and quality of a podcast that once made me tell everyone I know how great Is Radiolab. I don't recognize it anymore. JAD, get your game back.

Jul. 24 2016 11:40 AM
Saif

This episode hit me real hard. Yeah, it was kinda boring during the story but that climax at the end left me speechless.
It's not a science report, but a very interesting story.

Jul. 24 2016 03:28 AM
Jane from Oregon

This was really pretty pointless. I kept waiting for the a-ha moment, but it never came. It was bad when Radio Lab stopped focusing on science stories and just tried to become another This American Life, but at at least some of those non-science stories still retained a basic curiosity about the world. This just sounded like shameless promotion of yet another podcast, and maybe not a terribly good one.

Jul. 24 2016 12:39 AM
Peng from California

We couldn't even finish the episode, it was so incredibly bad - rambling, vacuous and pointless. A serious disappointment that is turning us off of radiology.

Jul. 23 2016 03:51 PM
adam

wow, a whole lot of bile in this comment section. I'm a little shocked. I think this episode had pretty clear value, even though it was not science related. It certainly had psychological value, and ethical value. Perhaps those who thought this episode "was a complete waste of time" might try approaching it with some human compassion for someone who felt like they were hopeless as a result of poor early decisions, and how they learned how to cope, and how they eventually learned to get off that crutch. Not to mention the part where he realized he hadn't really been listening to his friend taught him not to be so self-centered.
This man underwent a huge transformation and pulled his life, literally, out of the toilet, and became a success. This is insight into how he did it.
Maybe everyone who felt compelled to react so nastily to this episode, and claim it is useless, is already a perfect human who has done everything right in life. Or, maybe the lessons in this episode went sailing right over their heads.

Jul. 22 2016 05:18 PM
Christine

Rambling podcast about a man without direction. Unclear what the point of the podcast was.

Jul. 22 2016 03:20 PM
Louis from Torrance

Sorry, was there some significance to this story that I missed? Seems like thy didn't have a story this month so they found a drug addict to drool on about his neurotic tendencies and the time his friend tripped so hard he threw himself in a river. Huge fan of the program but this completely failed to capture my interest

Jul. 21 2016 08:25 PM
Ben from Alabama

Ummmm. I enjoyed it.
So.

Jul. 21 2016 04:30 PM
Mike from Wolverhampton

For the last few months there has been a decline in RL, this is rock bottom. What happened to the science and factual content? RL used to be wonderful.

Jul. 21 2016 01:57 AM
Tristan from New Zealand

I'm on the verge of unsubscribing from this podcast. It's been going rapidly downhill recently, and this episode was especially bad.

Jul. 20 2016 10:44 PM

Radiolab, what have you done? This "story" was mindless drivel. I'm not sure what is going on; I have been steadily disappointed in the quality of your episodes. Radiolab was a place for learning. Bring back the science!

Jul. 20 2016 02:52 PM
Jim Graham from Concord, NH

First, let me say I love Radiolab. Absolutely LOVE IT! Heck, my 14-year-old son decided he wants to be a bio-chemist thanks to your most awesome CRISPR Part 1 (though, we're still trying to find Part 2). So when he cures cancer, you guys can claim a huge chunk of the credit.
That is sooo wicked cool!

But this show? Ah, how do I put this constructively?
A complete *&^@ waste of &$@!time!!
Holy smokes. I hung in there to the bitter end thinking, "Okay... This is sort of bizarre... But there's GOT to be a point here... Maybe a deep philosophical insight... Maybe an eye-opening bit of research or a new way of storytelling that's catching on; or maybe he turned all this into a cool opportunity... Just trust them, Jimbo. They're Radiolab, for crying out loud!"
Instead, all we got was an aimless slacker obsessed with making poor quality recordings of dull, everyday conversations. He never does anything I could hear to create some sort of coherent message or opportunity out of them. Just endless, random ramble, on and on and on...

At best, it came across as a portrait of a privileged kid finding out he isn't as special as he was led to believe.
Please, Radiolab, don't do this to us again.
Thankyouverymuch,
Jimbo

Jul. 20 2016 10:03 AM

Registered for an account just to upvote all the comments about the poor quality of this episode and Radiolab in general since you stopped doing the science shows.

It's sad,BTW, that your original mission is was show people that science could be interesting and apparently even you guys decided it wasn't interesting enough to stick with.

Radiolab used to be unique. Now it's just like David in this story -- an aimless being searching for meaning by randomly recording things.

I keep listening, hoping, but... losing hope.

More Perfect, on the other hand, is fabulous!

Jul. 19 2016 08:51 PM
Hugh Finn from Hugh from MA

This is the worst podcast episode I have ever listened to. I feel as though you have stolen 30 minutes from my life. You should be ashamed! What a waste of time. And RadioLab used to be good.

Jul. 19 2016 07:34 PM
Jane Lagomarsino from Carmichael, CA

Very disappointed with this last podcast. I loved the way that RL used to be; scientific, factual, interesting, funny and very well produced. What is going on guys? Let us know please!

Jul. 19 2016 02:50 PM
Andy from EL Passo

consistently disappointed
That kinds sums up the last 9 - 10 months of Radiolab podcast for me too. Sad really, very sad.

Jul. 19 2016 02:36 PM

More like David WHINEberg.

Jul. 19 2016 12:16 PM
Dan from center of universe

This podcast has become terrible, terrible. Not just this episode, but for a long time now. Its sad but... I can't waste my time on you anymore. thanks for the memories babe, goodbye.

Jul. 19 2016 11:17 AM
Laura

Radiolab used to be my absolute favorite podcast. After yet another episode that I didn't enjoy at all I looked back over them and realized in the past year there have been only a few episodes I liked. Obviously the direction is changing and I'm not the target audience anymore. It's hard to say goodbye because I was such a fan for so long, but I'm consistently disappointed with the newest content and I know I'm about one more bad episode away from never coming back here. It would have been nice to get a heads up that the focus of the show was drastically changing, but wish you well with the new direction and audience. Thank you for all the episodes that truly amazed and moved me in so many ways.

Jul. 19 2016 04:01 AM
Mari

I listened for a while,thinking that this might be going somewhere....
What a total waste of time by some narcissistic human..

Jul. 18 2016 10:08 PM
NPR Donor from Tulsa, OK

OK, by now we can all agree that this episode is really substandard and I think the best thing RL can do is to delete it from its podcast archives.

Jul. 18 2016 08:20 PM
Tabby from Canada

About 10 minutes in I started thinking, "wow this episode of This American Life doesn't seem to have the same production value as before." Then I remembered that I wasn't listening to TAL.

I loves me some human interest stories as well, but I don't come here for those because there are way better ones elsewhere. If you don't want to keep doing science stories - that's fine, retire the Radiolab brand and let it die a dignified death. Don't let it become a pale imitation of something else.

Jul. 18 2016 02:42 PM
Matt H from Seattle

You haven't had an episode this weak since that idiot lectured us all on what is authentic rap. All style, no substance. There's no there there. Which I'm sure is the point. Which is seriously boring.

Jul. 18 2016 02:30 PM
Ashley Zinyk from Canada

This episode was just terrible.

You know, if you don't have anything, you don't have to broadcast garbage. On the radio, you could just rebroadcast an old story, and on the podcast, you can just skip a week. If you had the courage to say "Robert and I decided that the story we prepared this week didn't meet the high standards you've come to expect from us, so instead we present a classic episode from our archives", listeners would probably respect you for that.

Jul. 18 2016 11:24 AM

Lazy, aimless youth goes slowly crazy as his life devolves into mindless drivel. Why anyone might see an interesting story here is hard to imagine. Reminded me of This American Life (which I no longer listen to because ALL of its stories are 'deep dives' into the zany antics of loonies and losers.) What happened to the RadioLab that interviewed scientists?

Jul. 18 2016 10:59 AM
Noora from Scotland

I want to believe this is just a minor hiccup on the road, but I need the science back in the Radiolab stories. I believe in you guys, and I admire the stories you've found, the audio design and creativity you put into these. You have made me think, laugh and even cry with you (something no other podcast has ever done), with episodes like Words, Lost & Found, Zoos and all the numerous other great ones. I love the way you've made even the most complicated things approachable with great storytelling and audio. I started donating with your previous donation campaign (3 episodes ago I think) and I'm sad to notice how I've started feeling guilty about the money I spent because of the recent episodes.
Here's hoping for the best. I wish everything good for you guys.

Jul. 18 2016 07:03 AM
Ellen from Canada

This podcast is getting consistently worse. I've been disappointed in many of the recent episodes (the one about the warring ice cream trucks? What's science and medicine about THAT?). I get that Jad is working on his new podcast, but why? Remember the episode with the young blind woman who could see with her tongue? I'm so utterly frustrated with this podcast. Pick up your socks, fellas.

Jul. 17 2016 11:40 PM
Suzy from Pdx

Please return to the wonderful science based stories!

Jul. 17 2016 02:58 PM

Sounds like Mark had a classic panic attack. I'm thankful that mine have only ever lasted for a few seconds but I've had many and although very short, they rank among the worst experiences of my life. I'm reduced to fight or flight mode, completely robbed of any ability to reason because my mind is suddenly hijacked by the most all-encompassing, totally overwhelming terror imaginable. I've likened it to being safely in bed, sleeping peacefully, when suddenly I fall through a wormhole into the middle of the Atlantic ocean during a storm, 1000 miles away from any land or possible help.

Jul. 17 2016 02:53 PM
Sarah Siddell

I don't know if their splitting in two directions can explain this awful show. Two thirds of the way through I stopped listening, because I felt as though we the listeners had been the victims of a hoax. Just at the break, Robert said something to the effect, "Does this person really have a story?" He should have trusted his intuition and replaced the rest of the show with a part of one of the old Radiolab episodes that were so amazing that I and most of my friends were talking about them the next day.

Please bring back THAT Radiolab!

Jul. 16 2016 11:16 PM

Funny how every comment here has zero upvotes, no matter how many time you click on it. They must have the voting turned off. Well, the comment form still works and I agree with the other posters: that was the most amazing waste of my time that I can ever recall from my experience listening to Radiolab.

I'm sorry that dude's friend jumped in the water, but I'm more sorry the producer had to listen to hours and hours of tape to produce that episode.

Polite words fail me on how terrible that podcast was.

Jul. 16 2016 06:19 PM
The Vladman from Montreal

Really disappointed with this episode. The $120 I recently contributed will be my last if RL keeps up lauding such mediocrity. Dr. Oliver Sachs must be turning in his hallowed resting place. For shame, Radiolab. For shame.

Jul. 16 2016 06:16 PM
Alice

Yikes. So happy to see that I wasn't the only one who was thoroughly bored by this "non-story told poorly", as someone else put it. I sat through the whole thing and failed to find the point.

Jul. 16 2016 06:00 PM

I almost stopped listening for the first time ever for a Radiolab episode, but after Robert made his comment and the reply said the point would become clear, I stayed with it. And then when it became clear that there was no real point, I stayed to the end so I could legitimately comment about how boring and pointless it was.

Jul. 16 2016 04:54 PM
David from Cincinnati

I finished this episode wondering if there was a point made that I had missed, but I see from the other comments that I am not the only one feeling like it was just a boring story (actually, a non-story) told poorly. If you want to be This American Life, it's important to realize that show is as popular as it is because of the interesting stories they tell and how they tell them. It's very interesting to me that Robert's "sound like he doesn't have a story" comment made it into the final version of the show and not the editing room floor - was keeping it a subtle apology to the listeners?

Jul. 16 2016 07:16 AM

"Where's the beef?"

Jul. 15 2016 11:52 PM
Eric

RadioLabs best days are behind it. Stupid episode and a waste of my time! If you can't think of better stories guys it's time to move on!

Jul. 15 2016 09:14 PM
Bill Nunan from Manhattan Beach, CA

Half-way through the piece you said there was no story here. That was correct. Why on earth did you continue? I typically love RadioLab so much that I hung on until the end, but if you ever air another pile of $#!! like this you may lose me. Please rediscover the quality that you have displayed so consistently in the past!

Jul. 15 2016 09:08 PM
Corinne from Seattle

I tried listening to this story...but by minute 15, nothing had happened. The promise that something would happen was alluded to but with no hint at where it was going. I had to turn it off. I hadn't listened to Radiolab since the Birthstory episode that I felt wasn't approached very tactfully or thoughtfully. I would love to see a return to the science based topics you featured in the past.

Jul. 15 2016 06:28 PM
Henry from Chelsea, New York

Guys what on earth went wrong ? If there is no story to tell, don't tell it. This was pure nothing, a shaggy dog story and you are way way better than this. You have class, this was classless and I can see you have disappointed many of your loyal listeners. Please try bring back the old Radiolab with great podcasts on Science and fact, not ramblings about a self centered individual who has stolen 30 minutes from all your listeners. When Robert asks "Sounds like he doesn't have a story to tell" halfway through we thought there was something coming but he had no story to tell. Major major disappointment.

Jul. 15 2016 04:04 PM
Sarah from Minneapolis, MN

I keep coming back to Radiolab hoping for science related stories... Frustratingly dull, I agree with Robert that there was no story here. Please get back to the science and fact based programing!

Jul. 15 2016 02:42 PM
Daddy-o from Part unknown

The interest in Science seems to have come more from Robert than from Jad. Makes me wonder if Bobby K is much less involved these days so RL has drifted away from science and into what ever the heck this lousy episode was. Used to be Rabiolab was the best podcast in the land, now it's not even the best from WNYC. "Freakonmics" and "On the Media" are better these days. The last thing we need is another This american Life wannabe.

Jul. 15 2016 08:54 AM
Anna from Russia

Oh my God, thank you so much for this piece. I SO understand the character even though I was never a janitor or pizza delivery person, but a media production grad student in the US. Scott Carrier had the exactly same effect on me - I started secretly recording random sounds and conversations and I did it for quite a while and still do. Scott is absolutely phenomenal radio producer, even in America where there are so many talanted people are allowed to do radio. Thank you again for bringing him up.

Jul. 15 2016 08:53 AM
Rajan from USA

It was only after I left my comment that I read some of the other comments and by golly! I was not alone! The general feedback is that RadioLab ought to stick with scientific topics. I agree.

Jul. 15 2016 06:32 AM
Adam Dabrowski

:(

Jul. 15 2016 01:39 AM
Rajan from USA

This episode made me angry. It is a story that best not be told. Why? It is about this self centered guy, who muddles his way through life and lands on his feet even after multiple screw ups. He flip flops between obsessive recordings and not recording. He admits that in the initial stages it was all about himself. Yeah, it is all about me, me, me that inflicts so many individuals. And to top it during is catharsis describing what happened on that fateful day not once does he express, “What if I ceded to my friends request and accompanied him instead of me, me, me enjoying myself. After all his friend was a visitor, his guest and good etiquette is to honor your guests request. HE could have come back there another day, got stoned and enjoyed the ambiance. But no! It s all about oneself.

Contrast this with an African American who through no fault of his/her own gets brought into this life. Doesn't have the opportunity to go to college, leave alone get kicked out. He has no college friends he can go hang out with and lead a bohemian life style. Probably doesn't have a basement where he could sponge off his parents. The country is being rocked over racial issues and there is no attention to podcasts that address “Black Lives”. Even after years of oppressing African Americans, some Caucasians land up poor! What is their excuse? Whites were given stuff, they took and yet so many of them are landing up with little!

How about having a few podcasts that dwell into this issue. I applaud Invisibilia for featuring one episode on the life of a Black Prisoner who seems to have made a difference. How about you Radiolab?

Jul. 15 2016 01:13 AM
Steve from San Diego

CRISPR Part2.. ? Please??

Jul. 14 2016 10:55 PM
Carrie from Washongton State

This episode was the last straw: I finally I unsubbed from RL. The show has gone downhill and if this episode is any indication, it's not going back to it scientific glory days.

Jul. 14 2016 10:31 PM
Hans Grubber from Philly

Lest all my fellow radiolab have forgotten, RL is no longer a science show but a show about "curiosities" which is entirely missing from epi "David and the wire", except the obvious question "why did they air this crappy epi, wtf?" I've heard Jad say in an interview he'd blow his head off if they did another episode about neurolgy but come on jad that shit is interesting!

Jul. 14 2016 02:35 PM
John from Los Angeles

Robert had it right: there is no story here. So why did they air this? The episode felt like a cheap knockoff of "This American Life", put together by stoner teenagers.

Come on, guys!

Jul. 14 2016 01:40 PM
Dreaming of the Good 'Ol Days from Los Angeles

What happened to the magic? I'm not feeling this season at all. What happened to the exploration of science? The awe of discovery? What happened to the audio magic that made me see and understand the dynamics of light, interstellar space, nuclear energy, colors, black holes and all the invisible thing around us? Where did that go? Please come back. I'm frustrated with the direction you have taken. You guys need a snickers 'cuz you are not yourself anymore. :(

Jul. 14 2016 01:18 PM
EGL from San Francisco, CA

Love your podcast, but this was probably the worst episode I have heard from you guys.

Jul. 14 2016 12:29 PM
Brian from SF CA

Very slow, waiting for the moment that reveals the relavance, it never came.

Jul. 14 2016 11:53 AM
Bill from DC

When you mentioned Scott Carrier, you might have pointed out that he has a very interesting podcast of his own, Home of the Brave. He's not just some This American Life producer from way back when.

Jul. 14 2016 11:40 AM
Mark from Wistaston

I keep coming back hoping things will be like they used to be and the good science-based podcasts will return (I sound like a stick-in-the-mud), but it isn't happening. Very sad.

Jul. 14 2016 10:56 AM
Devi from Indonesia

Chill out people, it's easier to bash rather than to appreciate the effort. This is just one bad apple in the high quality assurance apple yard, don't make this one as the anchor for Radiolab's podcast. For first time listener, please give Radiolab another try and better skip this one. I'm disappointed with this episode but i believe Radiolab will do better next time, judging from its previous works. :)

Jul. 14 2016 12:26 AM
John Galloway from Alameda, CA

I agree this was a pretty worthless episode, and in fact the "punchline" that did exist was missed by the participants. First I disagree with those that said David's recording all the time was an artistic act not for fame or money. He contradicts this himself when he talks about being in Europe and that he wasn't just like everyone else, he was doing something important etc. it WAS about his delusional view that this was the way to do something famous. The punchline was NOT about his friend Mark drowning and that he wasn't recording then, the punchline was about David learning that making recordings (in New Orleans) was about the other people, not about him. Still a pretty worthless episode. But hey they can't all be great, so on to the next one!

Jul. 13 2016 09:09 PM
Ketchum from Cleveland

30 minutes I won't get back.

Jul. 13 2016 06:55 PM
Tzipporah

Can anyone recommend a podcast that is like old radiolab? I think I need to jump ship.

Jul. 13 2016 06:43 PM
Jimmy from Ireland

Thank you for making this. As someone who was involved in music and sound for many years and have spent many hours doing location/field recording for no real reason apart from the love of recording, it really struck a chord and I found it very interesting and thought provoking.
To me, he simply came across as a sound artist. That is, someone who was trying to make sense of the world and his place in it using the medium of sound, but especially the act of recording.
What was obvious was that it wasn't so much the recordings that were important here, but the actual act of recording, and the almost therapeutic value he derived from it. It was an artistic endeavor in its most honest form. He wasn't doing it because he thought it was cool or clever, or because he thought it would make him some money. He was doing it because he simply felt compelled to, without even being sure why.
I think there's also some food for thought in there regarding so many people's compulsion with recording everything on their cell phones these days, and whether they are actually saving an experience, or missing it because they are too busy watching their phones.
There are so many interesting questions that this podcast has thrown up for me to digest. I wasn't going to comment until I saw so many needlessly negative comments, so I felt I should offer my appreciation to Radiolab for making it and to David for sharing his story.

Jul. 13 2016 04:07 PM
Bill from Chico, CA

As you know by now, this was a horrible episode. 32:34 minutes of boring and pointless content. I can't believe I stayed to the end. I was sure there was a "punchline". Just before the break we were assured it was coming. Whoever thought this was worth broadcasting needs to rethink their analytical skills if that is possible.

Jul. 13 2016 02:43 PM
Nicole from USA

Not the best RL episode. I came away with more questions as to how David was able to afford to backpack across Europe but yet he couldn't even afford his own apartment (lived in his parents' basement and worked at Applebees when he got home)?

Recording life isn't new and Dave isn't the first to have done this. I just listened to a more fascinating podcast about Scott Carrier called The Neighborhood where he recorded sounds and interviews (yes, he actually interviewed his neighbors) in his neighborhood decades ago. I think the biggest difference in the two "audio scrapbooks" is that Scott's was so long ago it was nice hearing things like an actual landline telephone ringing and hearing stories from his neighbors. Also, Scott got permissions to record his neighbors, unlike David.

David's recordings were mostly done in secret so it has this air of moral and possibly legal no-nos. It's uncomfortable to hear people talking around him that have no idea they're being recorded (and now broadcast).

The only part of the story that grabbed me was about his friend Mark. I was able to dig up the story of his drowning online (thanks Google) and it's tragic. I really wish the story would've been more about his friend and less about the awkward secret recordings of "life" that Dave presented.

This definitely wasn't a Radiolab best. Better luck next time, Radiolab!

Jul. 13 2016 12:29 PM
Tori B from Detroit

Where is the science? Where is the philosophy? Where is the psychology? Where is the... journalism? It's an interview, yes. It's a story. But how does this theme pertain to the overall theme of Radiolab? It's one-sided. It's stagnant. It's depressing with no intrigue to balance it. Probably the worst podcast to date. Even Robert asks, "Why am I listening to this?" and that never really gets answered.

I mean, I know Andy Mills listened to all those hours of recordings and worked hard, but that doesn't mean it should have been aired. Nothing about this story is "Radiolab". It's Andy Mills' sad-artful-story-telling show.

I love Radiolab. I have listened to all of these podcasts multiple times. I talk with my friends and family about stories from Radiolab at least once a day. I know a lot of time is being taken up creating More Perfect, but that doesn't mean the essence of this podcast should be lost if you are going to continue airing it.

Jul. 13 2016 11:18 AM
Joie De Vivre from Ft. Lauderdale

There is a ton of very depressed and miserable people on this audience. The only problem with this podcast is the youtube level of commentary from the vocal (and I'm hoping) Minority. Did the episode lack some substance? Absolutely, but it wasn't without merit.

What I was able to take away from it was that this individual was without much direction or purpose and found it by filling his life with adventures while at the same time, keeping a video journal. When he returned to the 'banality of existence' he tried desperately to hold on to that semblance of capturing life's precious moments. With a dead end job and not much prospects he was becoming codependent on the idea that without his camera he was going to miss a moment that he could not relive.

This was a story about a person discovering their life.

The story culminated when his friend Mark brought him to the realization that not everything warrants documentation and that posterity is not enough reason to not appreciate the fleeting sensation life thrusts upon us.

Kind of like the people that focus on capturing shitty video of concerts or events for social media or whatever other meaningless reason that they're not likely to revisit, detracting from their life experience.

He tried to find meaning among the chaos that was post-Katrina New Orleans taking his experience of recording and made a career from it while finding a new meaning from it. Someone that took chances and did what they loved enjoyed their life and was able to share an introspective look at their personal story, how many of you can propose something similar?

Delivering constant, consistent, quality content is taxing but it becomes an absolute chore when there is feedback like this. Take a long look at your contribution to your own social circle, let alone your community or society and find some outlet that isn't so negative that it clouds a potential to grow.

Jul. 13 2016 11:14 AM
Duncan from The UK

I doubt it was the intent of the producers who worked on this story but this podcast does not paint a flattering picture David Weinberg. He is presented in a very unpleasant light. I'd be very disappointed if my kids are anything like him when they reach their early 20's. After spending 30 minutes listening to him the absolute last thing I wanted to do (or ever do) was head on over and check out Bellowtheten.com. Yuck.

Jul. 13 2016 08:55 AM
Roger Knight from Kuwait

Possibly the most meaningless and tedious episode ever produced by RadioLab. I am a huge fan of RadioLab. But if this had been the first story I had heard, I doubt I would have ever tried a second episode.
I cannot imagine what kind of award David Weinberg has ever won.

Jul. 13 2016 07:58 AM
Randy B from Dubai

Sorry for the loss of your brother but if you and your parents don't want details of his death discussed in public best ask your dear friend David to not discuss it on public radio.

Jul. 13 2016 06:20 AM
Dan from Tokyo, Japan

I am a long-time listener and lover of Radiolab. But this episode was confusing and absolutely terrible. The intro was confusing, and , i guess, in the name of art, you guys went way to far and created an absolutely irritating audio.

And the story about some loser. What was the point.

Jul. 13 2016 05:18 AM
Dead Radio Star from Heaven

I enjoyed this story of a guy who developed a compulsion for recording and then overcame it. Interesting issues raised include: (a) when is it morally/ethically/legally permissible for one person to record another without the other's consent?; and (b) when someone knows he is being recorded, how does that affect his behavior?

Sure, the episode wasn't Radiolab's best and it should have been five minutes shorter. But I was entertained and will continue listening and supporting.

Jul. 12 2016 11:42 PM
Patrick from Los Angeles

Time to "Unsubscribe." This was nothing but a pointless narcissistic tribute to an underachieving, irresponsible, substance-abusing, spoiled, selfish toilet-cleaner / busboy / pizza-deliverer who somehow had the resources to tour Europe and Alaska. (Thank you, Parents.) Recreational abuse of shroomz/meth/acid/booze is repeatedly described so flippantly and cavalierly even where all signs indicate that substance abuse directly caused the death of Mark, which is rather glossed over. So, now I go from a podcast about "David Weinberg"(wtf?) to a podcast about Julius Caesar. See ya RL.

Jul. 12 2016 11:36 PM
Jacq

Looks like the majority of the Radiolab listener commentariat is just as pompous and detestable as Krulwich. Your sense of entitlement is unearned and disgraceful. Thanks to David for sharing his story, and thanks to K. Mercer for posting here to add a bit of real world perspective to counter the tactless commenters here. Sorry for your loss, and sorry that you had to read these thoughtless comments.

Jul. 12 2016 11:04 PM
Jacq from Savoir Faire

Robert Krulwich's cynical attitude towards David Weinberg and his story was pretty obnoxious. He's on your show giving you content—presumably you've already decided that his story has worth. While most listeners are no doubt inured to Krulwich being pompous and detestable at this point, his rude aside should've been edited out. A little gratitude towards your subjects would be minimally appropriate.

Jul. 12 2016 10:56 PM
K. Mercer from Colorado

I have yet to listen to this story, however I must say that David Weinberg is a dear friend of mine and the Mark in this story was my beloved brother. David is not a "junkie loser" and neither was Mark. The reason Mark's drowning was "glossed over" is because my parents didn't want personal information released to the public. I'm sorry many of you were less than pleased with this story. I will listen to it now, and probably cry. It is a very personal, very human story. My brother Mark was one of the most brilliant people that ever lived. I miss my best friend. Thank you David. I love you.

Jul. 12 2016 10:56 PM
Julia Odell

This may have been the shark jumping moment for me with Radiolab. Your work is well-produced, but it's no longer what you claimed to be producing. It's like you tuning in to watch football for years and then the league suddenly changes the shape and size of the ball, rearranges the field and adds a bat and a glove. I guess I'll have to jump on the Invisibilia bandwagon and go back to Neil Tyson's podcast for some science. Any other recommendations from listeners would be appreciated.
Thanks for your great work over the years.

Jul. 12 2016 10:08 PM
M from San Francisco

This was very weak story - no doubts, but I am wondering what is the name of the song in the end? It's really beautiful

Jul. 12 2016 09:22 PM
Syberen from New York

Not to sound like an old fart but... radiolab used to be better.

Jul. 12 2016 09:09 PM
Alex from Greensboro, NC

I believe they should have ended when Robert Krulwich said, "sounds like he doesn't have a story?"

No Robert, he did not.

It was self indulgent, meandering, and worst of all dull.

I love RadioLab - perhaps this is just their summer break.

Jul. 12 2016 09:07 PM
Nick from Leeds, UK

Sorry guys, but have to agree with the majority of other comments here. Of course any death is tragic and I don't want to dismiss that. But so much of this episode just felt self-indulgent. I had no idea why I was supposed to be interested in someone deciding to record every mundane detail of his life, particularly when, sorry, but his life sounded kind of unexceptional for the most part. Much like those tapes themselves, I can't really imagine this episode is something you'd find interesting to listen to unless you personally knew the guy.

That said, there was potential here. It sounded like some of the stuff he recorded in New Orleans might have been worth hearing. And his story might have made for a good 10 minute section in an episode done in the older style, spending 10-15 minutes with several different people in turn- experiences plus ideas from experts- to explore the nature of compulsion and/or obsession. But even with 30 minutes on this one story we never really got any deeper examination of why the guy was recording everything or what that might reveal about his or other people's psychology. Even narratively it didn't really work- we don't know why his friend decided to jump in the river or whether that was connected to his recording or their friendship. Spending the last 5 minutes with him pondering whether he regrets not taping their last bit of time together seemed an odd thing to focus on after the friend's death.

Don't get me wrong, some of the newer episodes have been good and I don't mind at all when Radiolab focuses on social sciences or cultural phenomena rather than just natural sciences. But as many have said, there's very little point to the show just becoming a kind of imitation of This American Life. Please get back to the unusual and the surprising- finding the fascination in the ordinary is not your strong suit.

But hey, I feel bad even saying this- it's free podcast, after all.

Jul. 12 2016 08:34 PM
Dillan Mohottige from Orlando

This is perhaps the worst episode I have heard on Radio Lab. I really dont care that much about shitty episodes, but when its both shitty and has zero science in it, I get sad. The bar is supposed to be set high on this show, but this is the lowest its ever been.

Jul. 12 2016 08:32 PM
Corinne from Montréal

:/

Totally agree with all the other comments.. Never actually commented on anything before.. I've been listening to Radiolab for a long time, and yup, getting to a point where I might stop. I actually remember the shift to the more story-like narratives without science and thought, 'I guess they're trying to be more like This American Life, I guess that's popular now..?'

I originally felt bad posting this but then I read all the other comments, they're all the same.

Jul. 12 2016 07:30 PM
Dillan Mohottige from Orlando

Terrible episode. I felt like I was raped in the ear by a depressed white hitchhiker. WHAT HAPPENED TO SCIENCE? or at least a something that is not a this american life knock off.

Jul. 12 2016 07:17 PM
Wayne

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

The interesting version of Radiolab has yet to return.

Jul. 12 2016 06:15 PM
Melissa from Vancouver, BC

I am a long time listener of Radiolab. It was one of the first Podcasts I ever got into and I binged on all the episodes. I have never left a comment on any episodes, but I felt compelled to today. I have stuck with Radiolab through the last 6 months or so hoping to get a really interesting story on science, medicine, etc and instead I have been getting sub-par This American Life. Today I listened to David on a Wire, it is the equivalent of Seinfeld, in that it was a show about nothing, but at least Seinfeld is entertaining. This drivel has pushed Radiolab to the bottom of the playlist for me. The Golden Years are over, welcome to the Depression.

Jul. 12 2016 05:55 PM
Rudy from LA from Los Angeles

Hi Guys, could you bring back to old radio lab. Thanks

Jul. 12 2016 05:52 PM
Caitlin from New York, NY

This show is becoming more and more and more and more frustrating. The episodes are becoming shorter and shorter and being filled more and more NOTHING! For instance, I am currently more than halfway through "David and the Wire". They've just asked a very important question. Does this guy actually record anything of significance? Spoiler alert: the answer is "no". Why was this even made??? Who cares??? I could make an episode about cleaning my shower and it would be more riveting!

This was basically an episode about a guy who gets kicked out of college, becomes a janitor, gets so drunk he destroys a house, begins to rethink his life, decides to become a radio producer (spoiler alert: he doesn't), buys a recording device, records absolutely nothing of substance, goes back to living in his parents' basement and working at Applebee's, gets pissed his meth-head friend doesn't like to be recorded, watches his friend drown, and then goes back to doing nothing with his life. Why should I care about this guy whose whole story revolves around him being a mediocre human being?

This podcast used to be chock full of interesting stories. Lots of science and investigations! I was excited to hear what was going to happen next! I used to retell some of them to friends! Now I feel like the hosts are trying to fill time with useless banter. If I have to hear...

"So guess what happened."
"What?"
"You'll never guess."
"So tell me!"
"I want you to guess."
"I have no idea."
"I can tell you but I don't think you believe it."
"Should I guess"
"... you should guess."
"Now?"
etc etc etc

OH MY GOD WHY DID I JUST LISTEN TO A SOLID MINUTE OF NOTHING??? I know there's newsworthy stories out there! I know it! Did they just have a massive layoff or something? Why are there no more good stories being produced!? I'm about to delete this show from my line-up! Shame on Radiolab!

Jul. 12 2016 04:36 PM
Eric from NYC

Please bring back the science. This episode was extremely disappointing. Stories like this were what made me stop listening to This American Life. Sometimes you may find the profound within the inane, but not here.

Jul. 12 2016 04:20 PM
Steve

I've been a Radiolab fan and ongoing supporter for some time.
Really disappointed by this one. There is no compelling story here. Felt like filler. This story meandered with out any real purpose.

Jul. 12 2016 04:10 PM
Kyle from Chicago

Why the hell did Mark jump into the river? Too much acid? This "story" didn't make any sense.

Jul. 12 2016 03:08 PM
Georgina from Brooklyn, NY

I feel sort of bad about writing this review because I've always loved and appreciated Radiolab. Like others I was disappointed in the episode David and the Wire.

No offense to David Weinberg - more power to him. But, comparative to past Radiolab stories - it was weak. Or maybe it was presented pretty weak, I don't know. As I was listening I just found myself thinking "okaaayyy, where's this going? what is there to learn here... or to discuss further?"

It was weird that in the episode even Robert pointed out something to the effect of "is there a story here?"

Its not that I don't (usually) enjoy listening to this kind of content - its just not what I look forward to with each new Radiolab episode. Other podcasts already do that (Storycorp, Love & Radio) and, honestly, they do it a bit better.

Jul. 12 2016 02:53 PM
Lydia

I'm not going to dismiss anyone's story or life but there are some that do not make for compelling radio, or are not crafted into compelling radio. Radiolab had carved an interesting niche for itself humanizing and fleshing out science/medicine/social science. I hope the hosts are not ready to move on from that because I think there still is a need, and still a market for those types of stories. And no one else really is doing that type of quality production on science stories.

Jul. 12 2016 02:37 PM
Meg

I liked the K-pop story; there was some explanation and investigation there. This episode seemed like it was carved out of a conversation these two guys had about what drew one of them to become a radio producer. I assumed it was going somewhere until you glossed over the [really tragic] passing of his friend, and the only other character in the story. I could imagine a world where this all became a meta non-story about a non-story. But it seems like there was a semblance of a plot here. What happened in New Orleans, and what on earth happened in the recording studio on this one?

Jul. 12 2016 02:20 PM
Muzzammil from Saudi Arabia

Arguably the worst poadcast from Radiolab yet. Is this what happens when Jad is not part of it,?

Jul. 12 2016 01:55 PM
Matthew Theobald from United Kingdom

Just want to say as a fan of the show I thought as far as human interest stories go this one was really nice. It gave an interesting look on what makes the most for you in life. I'm a relatively new listener but I have gone through as much Radiolab as I could consume.

I understand that people are annoyed about science stuff missing but I don't see why there is so much hate for your latest content. More Perfect is a great spin-off, On the Edge was another amazing story, 23 weeks and 6 days was human interest and science mish-mashing and was fantastic. Out of some of the others I've listened to The Cathedral which was very moving, I don't have to answer that which made me really think and The Cold War which made me really happy as a part time ice cream man!

My only gripe with your content is that I cannot get enough of it. But then I understand if your schedule increased the quality would eventually go down. Thanks to Radiolab I now listen to alot of WNYC podcasts as well!

Jul. 12 2016 01:28 PM
Megan C from Chicago, IL

I cannot believe I am writing a negative comment about radiolab! This is the first podcast I really got into. I've binge listened to all the episodes and used to feel so inspired and interested after one finished. I of course loved the science ones most but could even get behind the k-pop story just because it was a well researched topic that most listeners don't know much about. I learned something at the very least! But this..."David and the Wire" is a non-story full of anti-climatic ramblings. What on earth are we supposed to take away from this episode? Please I beg of you to revisit your mission of radiolab and get back to what made you great.

Jul. 12 2016 01:18 PM
Kimmy D from Las Vegas NV

As bad as this podcast was (and it was just awful) I did learn something. It would appear that Radio producers think that other Radio producers are WAY more interesting than they really are. Somebody must have lost a bet. That's the only explanation for why they dedicated 30 minutes to this guy?

Jul. 12 2016 12:59 PM
monmichka from Dallas, TX

There have been times that I have gotten distracted listening to the podcast and will rewind, 3 and 4 times if necessary, just to make sure I don't miss a word or an idea. I want to understand everything. I got to the end of this painful 30 minutes and thought what was that about and then I thought, you know what? I don't even care. That was the worst ever "story". I hated it. I didn't care about this guy or his acid dropping friends. I didn't care about his recordings and why he stopped or why he started in the first place. I look forward to Radiolab every week. Please don't do this to me again, guys. That hurt.

Jul. 12 2016 12:30 PM
Josh R from Carlsbad CA

Kim, check out Dave's twitter feed. Definitely comes across as just an older version of the guy who was waiting tables.

Jul. 12 2016 12:29 PM
Kim H from New york city

After listening I wanted to jump into a river myself. I assume that Mr Weinberg is no longer the self-centered d-bag looser he was when he was waiting tables and recording everything but when I got to the end of the story I started thinking maybe he's just an older d-bag looser that has a few connections if public radio...sad really...a new low for this once great podcast.

Jul. 12 2016 12:12 PM
Mody from Chicsgo

If i wanted to Listen to a loser,junkie talk for 30 minutes I'd go down to the dive bar down the street......terrible

Jul. 12 2016 12:02 PM
rodger sterling from New york city

1000% agree with skleeve. Radiolab seems to have forgotten what made it's audience fall in love with the program in the first place. Could anyone imagine recommending "Dave and the Wire" to anyone who was interested in finding out more about Radiolab and what makes/made it so special. Hope things improve once they get past "More Perfect". This American life didn't suffer when they spun off Serial, don't get why Radiolab has gone down hill since they started working on "More Perfect"?

Jul. 12 2016 12:00 PM
skleeve from Portland, OR

Yeah, I hate to admit it, but RadioLab may have jumped the shark. Longtime listener, and I hate to sounds like the "I miss the science" guy, but yeah, I miss the science. If I want human interest stories, social stories, etc I go to "TAL". If I want pure history, I go to "Stuff you Missed in History". Economics I go to "Planet Money." But what made RadioLab so great was the science-oriented topics AND the human interest together in a wonderful melding of storytelling and information about the natural world and universe around us (with some laughs on side too). For the past year really, I've been listening to all the "Stuff" podcasts - lot's of science, tech, & philosophy over there (and laughs). Stuff You Should Know has taken up the void left by RadioLab's spiritual departure. I'll still keep checking in, but with much less zeal. Such a shame.

Jul. 12 2016 11:48 AM
Rolf from Amsterdam

Oof, that was half an hour wasted. So boring, no point to any of it. I was under the impression that between the start and end of the story something should have changed.

The conversations are unbearable! It's like two of your pot head buddies who just won't shut up about 'those deep, philosophical conversations' they have, that are only entertaining when you're stoned out of your gourd.

Hope everyone comes back from vacation soon and we get back to high bar Radiolab has set in the past.

Jul. 12 2016 11:44 AM
Vallery X from Boston Mass

Randomtape.com must be playing in Hell's Waiting room. Can't imagine why anyone would voluntarily listen to it. Poor Andy Mills.

Jul. 12 2016 10:37 AM
Elaine G. from Sandusky OH

"On the Media" has been doing more Science related material than Radio-lab this summer. I know that "More Perfect" is taking up a lot of time but come on. I hope that when summer is over you guys get back to the classic Radio-lab stuff that I've grown to love over the years. You guys are better than "Dave and the Wire" and what ever that K-pop thing was back in February.

Jul. 12 2016 10:29 AM
Larry L from Arlington VA

David Weinberg must have some compromising photos of the RadioLab staff. Only explanation as to why this made it on the air. At 31 minutes it's about 20 minutes too long.

Jul. 12 2016 10:25 AM
Comic book Guy from Springfield

Worst RadioLab Ever!

Jul. 12 2016 10:22 AM
Adrian V from nowhere and everywhere

Has RadioLab explained the near total lack of anything to do with science in the past 8 months?! It can't be an accident they have moved in that direction. Did they lose funding from Alfred P Sloan or the NSF?

Jul. 12 2016 10:19 AM

It's hard to separate hyperbole and gut reactions to an objective assessment, but I'm pretty sure this is the worst Radiolab episode I've listened to (and I've listened to nearly all of them.)

David is an extremely unpleasant character to spend the entire episode with, and there is absolutely no pay off for spending all this time with him.

It feels like the producers don't even know what the point of the story is. There is no organization or pacing to the information shared with us, and seemingly no structure or understanding of what the story they're telling is.

It's just basically a chronological retelling of several years in the life of an extremely unlikable guy (who seems to have done some pretty terible things that are basically tossed aside. It's just causally mentioned that he's spending weekends in jail for driving with a suspended license. No mention of the incident that caused the suspended license or really anything about that, like it's completely normal for a person to spend his weekends in jail while at college) in chronological order without any sense of why we're being told his story?

It COULD have been a story about a narcissistic guy without purpose that ends up doing meaningful work in New Orleans after Katrina, but that is so casually mentioned as an aside that it feels like an afterthought (and again the focus in the story is on David and not on the people of Katrina). But even that story wouldn't have merited all this time spent with this person we have no reason to care about. His friend's death, while tragic, also does not provide any sort of story resolution or climactic pay off for the story we've been following along.

And the stuff they do select feels so trivial. Why is important that we know he gets a job at Applebees?

Just like David is recording everything without any sense of what story might be there, the episode just recounts his act of doing this without any sense of if there is any story there.

I can't help but feel that this story only exists because David happens to be friends with a producer at Radiolab (who mentions that David is his friend at the beginning of the episode) and Radiolab is to busy with their other efforts, so that they basically greenlighted something they knew was subpar.

I have to imagine that when Robert asks "Sounds like he doesn't have a story to tell" halfway through, that he spoke for most of the listeners of this episode.

This sounds like an over the top teardown of an episode, but it's only because I respect the work they do on Radiolab so much (and kept listening despite my complete lack of enjoyment or interest in the episode in the trust that it would pay off in a meaningful or satisfying way). I will of course, continue to listen, and be a fan and hope that episodes like this don't become a more frequent occurrence.

Jul. 12 2016 09:58 AM
Amy from St. Paul, MN

This is a non-story, story. Very boring. Miss the old RadioLab.

Jul. 12 2016 09:47 AM
Chait from Upper East Side

Are all Radiolab resources devoted to 'More Perfect?'

This was soulless, narcissistic, and frustrating.

Best part was Krulwich, "sounds like he doesn't have a story?"

Jul. 12 2016 09:06 AM
HUY HUYNH

I second Dollar Bill's sentiment...this episode left me thinking where is this going and after it ended, made me questioned why I continued listening. Very uninteresting and disappointed. Science and bigger than life stories are what has drawn me to your show to listen over and over again. I never post comments but this one compelled me to wonder if it was just me.

Jul. 12 2016 06:35 AM
Dollar Bill from Boston mass

I have to admit I'm starting to get frustrated here. Where have the science stories gone? It's only taken 6 months but Radiolab has turned into another This American Life clone. Count me out fora my future donations until you guys get back to science stuff

Jul. 12 2016 06:01 AM

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