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Jad and Robert: The Early Years

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 01:43 AM

Ever wonder how Jad and Robert met?

Well it all began with an everyday encounter where they discovered they both went to the same small liberal arts college in Ohio. For this week's podcast, the guys go on stage at Oberlin College to tell the tale of their meeting and how they started tinkering around with tape to come up with the Radiolab you know today.

Vintage Radiolab alert! You'll hear the very first piece Jad and Robert made together. It's an audio-experiment called 'Flag Day' that they submitted to This American Life. TAL's Ira Glass and Julie Snyder phone in to share what they thought of it.



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Comments [14]

kk from bed still

it sounds like a destiny guys
hahha :P

Oct. 09 2012 10:10 AM
Lulu Miller

Hello everyone,
So it seems there are some technical difficulties. Please note that "The Early Years" podcast file itself is only 20 minutes long. Yep, only 20 minutes. But, there does seem to be problems with the podcast cutting out during the credits. If you are experiencing trouble with that, don't worry, we are working to fix it (you only miss about 3 seconds). But content-wise it's all there. Some podcasts are simply longer than others.


May. 15 2008 04:20 PM


It's not just you. I have the podcast in iTunes and my wife and I set aside an entire car ride to listen to the show. Imagine our disappointment when it ended 20 minutes in!

I came to this site to download the show directly from the website but it seems to be the exact same incomplete file. It's a real shame. Hopefully it's fixed soon I'm dying to hear the rest!

May. 15 2008 01:23 PM
Cindy Henley

OK, we want the WHOLE boring story. I am fascinated with the story behind the story. I am one of those people who watch the background stuff on almost every DVD I own, and that's a bunch. Even if I don't like the movie sometimes I want to see "what were you thinking?" which is a question Robert and Jad ask quite a bit.

As far as the difference between the early shows and the later ones. There is a difference, but not a bad one I don't think. The early shows seem as if they were meticulously crafted with every sound or nuance of sound carefully chosen with months of editing and revamping. The new shows seem a bit more thrown together. I, for one, am so anxious to hear another episode and so grateful when another one comes out that I would gladly exchange the perfection of the early shows for more frequency.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! I am a LONG LONG LONG time TAL fan. I have listened to every episode of that show MANY MANY times. But Radiolab has possibly passed it in my list... I don't know I have had this long time audio affair with Ira Glass... it feels like I am cheating on him or something... but you guys are really great.

Ira has talked about it often on TAL that radio is such an intimate medium. It feels as if you all are my personal friends. I met Ira once and it felt so weird... distant... just weird. Anyway... whatever you wanted to spare us from, some of us would like to hear the boring details.


A dear friend ;}

PS Ira brought me here when he aired part of the morality episode on TAL so I guess you can't be all that infuriated with him for being pompous and degrading and totally lacking in visionary possibility (just kidding, Ira)

May. 09 2008 01:58 AM

I love the podcast. It's one of the few don't delete after enjoying. However, I can download the entire "Early Years" episode. I've tried about 4 times, and it always stops at 19 minutes and 52 seconds.

How does it end?

May. 08 2008 09:05 PM
Ember Deitz Goldstei

Hi guys! I live in Hong Kong and listen to Radiolab on my iPod, usually while I'm cooking dinner. Anyway, I found it one day on the WNYC web site and downloaded it because I've always liked Robert's approach to reporting science. Plus I knew he went to Oberlin, as did I: Class of 1991. The more I listened, the more I wondered how the heck you guys met and why Jad's take on science, music, and, well, life, seemed so familiar. Then I got an email from the alumni association saying you guys were speaking at Oberlin because you BOTH went to Oberlin, and I thought, oh, of course. Thanks so much for bringing not only a little piece of home (New York) to me in Hong Kong but a little piece of HOME (Oberlin).


May. 08 2008 09:00 PM
J G Luz

Ira et al should have more imagination as producers and programmers—it seemed so clear what you guys were after with that piece: a comedic take on patriotism as reductio ad absurdum. Hello! post 9-11 cultural moment.

And I love what Jad said about the musicality of the show. Makes me think of Glen Gould's experimental forays in talk radio, where the content wasn't completely privelaged over the sound of it. I think you guys are bringing the poetics and wonder back into science, which I agree gives us all the agency to ask why AND to what end.

May. 08 2008 01:53 PM
Alex Ley

That was pretty entertaining, although I can also see it from Ira's point of view. It's so interesting to see the little gems that would go to become part of Radio Lab, but then I start to think, "That was funny, but what was the point?" Now, you guys have Radio Lab which is great.


May. 07 2008 02:45 PM
Mike Blejer

Hey, I discovered your guys' show about a month ago and have since listened to every podcast. I absolutely love it. My father was a physicist and my mother is a linguistics phd and I was a philosophy major and did an internship with PRI after school so already it's just right up my alley, and then today I'm listening to it and it turns out you guys both went to Oberlin my alma mater from '06. Seriously, what the hell?

Now I'm working on starting a career in comedy (I went back to Oberlin and did a show which turned out to be 10 days before you guys were there), and I just gotta say I really agree with what you say in the podcast about trying to explore and explode ideas in exciting ways and through the synthesis of different media styles.

Thanks for the show guys. Looking forward to hearing more.

May. 07 2008 02:21 PM
Justin Doub

Believe it or not, I actually loved Jad's composition. I like and listen to noise but I don't really care for the subculture that surrounds it. It was amazing to learn that someone whom I respect actually has a background in noise.
Is there anyway I can get a copy of the composition?

May. 07 2008 12:22 PM

I'd recently started to catch up on all the past episodes I'd missed (downloaded to my iPod) and had just this morning wondered how the two of them met and got started with RL.

May. 07 2008 09:13 AM
Bruce Lochner

I am really glad Jad moved away from playing with music and towards playing with science. I am also grateful that Robert edits Jad's contributions to make them accessible. Presenting the "big" ideas in entertaining and simple ways is the genius of Radio Lab.

The show is great. I have been inspired enough after listening to chart out some ideas for social science research.
Keep up the good work!

May. 07 2008 06:39 AM
Connor Walsh

I love it! The first piece was, believe it or not, really encouraging, as it reminded me of one of the first pieces I produced with other people. Mine was way crapper, but I like to think had some shared direction…

I also like the point Robert makes about being able to ask experts fundamental questions, without worrying that a peer will sneer at you as a scientist.

Oh and Ira Glass is the godfather and all, but don't pay any notice, the guy's just jealous for losing his crown ;-)

May. 07 2008 01:43 AM
Walter Fraufrau

Unfortunately these episodes continue to get more insufferable and less focused with each passing show. I recently revisited some of the earlier podcasts from seasons 1 and 2 (like the first show on time and the one on music -- great stuff!!) and was completely amazed at how much better they were than the more recent ones.

Season 4's shows are so scatterbrained, poorly researched, self-indulgent, and make such wildly gigantic leaps to ludicrous conclusions that it's often more frustrating than entertaining. I long for the good old days of entertaining, better researched episodes with smaller doses of pomposity and a more logical development of ideas and conclusions.

May. 06 2008 01:04 PM

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