Wiretap, airing each Saturday at 3:30pm on CBC Radio One, is a program that eludes easy classification - it's an almost bizarre melding of different elements that somehow works, and even makes sense, though the reasons why aren't entirely clear. The show (which has been referred to facetiously as liartap) blends the line between fiction and reality, and as the listener you're often left not quite sure what is real, what is the work of Goldstien's imaginative mind, and what lies somewhere in between.
Perhaps the signature element of the program (and certainly the one that I first fell in love with) are the fictionalized phone conversations that Jonathan has with his friends, Howard, Gregor, and Josh - Jonathan acting the straight Jerry Seinfeld to the outlandish Cosmo Kramer antics of these likeable, if often irrational, cast of characters who populate his universe.
Although he's become known for being one of the best storytellers in the medium, Jonathan didn’t originally set out to be in radio – his main creative passion for most of his life has been writing. But while he was pursuing a life as a writer, he started dabbling in radio, first doing occasional pieces for CBC, and then landing a summer show on the public broadcaster called Road dot Trip. And after that Jonathan Goldstein spent several years in New York City as a full-time as a producer on This American Life in New York City.
Wiretap is currently in its 10th season, and if you haven’t already been won over, we highly recommend you check it out. You can find out more about the show and subscribe to the podcast at http://www.cbc.ca/wiretap/
I sat down with Jonathan to ask him about his life as a writer, his journey in public radio, and the advantages and drawbacks of looking at life with an outsider's perspective.