Saturday, March 13, 2010

no bones about it

Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass start their publicity and book-signing tour for "The Bone Thief" in about a week. They fit me into their schedule one day last month to pre-record an interview that airs this week on the East Tennessee Report. You can download it as a podcast or listen to it by clicking on the "play" icon.

after recording the East Tennessee report on 2/24/10 The new book opens with the description of a dead news anchor. The fictional Maureen Gershwin worked at WBIR with a co-anchor named Randall Gibbons. From her physical description, I thought she might have been based on a real local anchor who planted a kiss on me at a charity function but I was wrong. She is mostly a figment of Jon Jefferson's imagination.

page 359 At the time we recorded the interview, Jefferson and Bass had not yet told WBIR's Russell Biven about the similarity between his name and that of the anchorman in the book. I saw John Becker the other day and told him that WBIR is featured in "The Bone Thief." I also didn't know until a couple of days ago that the authors had graciously mentioned my proofreading in the acknowledgments.

With the new novel about to come out, my Google alert for the Body Farm has been especially active lately. For example, one reviewer assumes, like most, that Dr. Bill Brockton is based on Dr. Bill Bass. I can tell you that Brockton is a lot more like Jefferson than Bass. Meanwhile, a local photographer posted a good picture on his blog of Dr. Bass during a slide show about the Big Bopper's exhumation.

In other decomposition news, Mesa State College has decided to not set up a temporary body farm near the intersection of 29 and D Roads. Instead they will continue searching for a more remote, permanent location. As one Colorado newspaper writer pointed out, the original Body Farm is within a mile of homes and within mere feet of the UT Medical Center parking lot.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 20, 2010

obliging and dutiful

Richard Lambert, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Knoxville field office, was previously assigned to head up the investigation into the anthrax attacks of 2001. The case was closed this past week, just three days after I had recorded a half hour interview with Mr. Lambert. We only briefly mentioned the case. I was more interested in asking about the window of opportunity to thwart the next terrorist attack on the United States. About halfway into the show, I segued into the topic of Internet crimes.

If you're interested in law enforcement, feel free to right click here and download the podcast of my interview with Rick Lambert or hit the play button below. If you're interested in a job with the FBI, skip ahead to 22 minutes into the program to hear about the Bureau's hiring spree.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, January 16, 2010

sneak preview

The compelling independent film "That Evening Sun" opened in Cleveland and Kansas City yesterday. Next Friday it opens in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, Athens, Charlotte and Sarasota. I watched a screener DVD last weekend and loved it.

On the public affairs radio show that airs tomorrow morning in Knoxville, I have another enjoyable conversation with Larsen Jay. His company produced the film, which has been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Larsen told me he hopes for more nominations during award season, especially for Hal Holbrook who appears in his first film role as lead actor.

If you won't be awake at 6:30 a.m. to hear it on the radio, go ahead and listen online at your convenience.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, August 29, 2009

youngest one in curls

Susan Olsen has co-authored a new book about an oft-overlooked aspect of her "Brady Bunch" years. The skeleton in the Brady closet is "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour." The nine episodes they filmed were, in effect, a spin-off of the "Donny & Marie" show.

"Love to Love You Bradys" is all about the disco-era incarnation of the famous TV family. Susan is making the rounds to publicize the book. She will be on the "Today Show" Monday morning and on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning.

Yesterday I recorded an hour long interview with my friend Susan. She and I worked together at the Comedy World Radio Network and have kept in touch ever since. We talked about her Brady siblings, Asperger's Syndrome, kitten rescue, Marshmallow Fluff and more.

You can right click here to download the podcast or click on the play button below to let it stream in your browser. Because I know that not everyone will have time to listen to the full hour, let me tell you exactly where to find the parts that will interest you most.
  • 02:02 - the book and the show
  • 08:34 - what about Ann B. Davis?
  • 10:22 - Fake Jan and Paris Hilton's mother (good stuff)
  • 16:55 - more about the Variety Hour
  • 24:35 - her ex-boyfriend, Pooperman
  • 27:06 - Susan's son Michael and Asperger's
  • 32:19 - what about her Brady siblings?
  • 37:49 - why Maureen and Eve aren't close (don't miss this!)
  • 44:02 - Susan's work with kitten rescues
  • 52:12 - our mutual love of Marshmallow Fluff

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, August 27, 2009

hey y'all

Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank, was impressed by the drawing power of Paula Deen. The Food Network star was in Knoxville today as Smithfield Foods made a meaty donation to feed the hungry. There was a strong turnout from donors and media members who wanted to meet the so-called "doyenne of Southern cooking."

Tearsa Smith from WATE and Beth Haynes from WBIR were on hand to interview Paula. I was fortunate enough to also get a chance to speak with her. I thought about having Paula autograph a stick of butter but decided on something more permanent. I printed a few pictures from my September 2005 blog entry about "Tricked Out Tailgating" and got Paula to sign one for me, one for a co-worker and one for the silent auction at next year's Radiothon.

Paula kept the picture of me with Michael Anthony Groover. In the interview, she said she's missing him while he rides his motorcycle in Washington.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sacré veinard

"Who is Gilles Marini?" asked one of my Facebook friends when I posted that I was going to interview him. I assumed everyone knew the debonair Frenchman from "Dancing with the Stars."

He may have lost to Shawn Johnson but his career has definitely benefited from the exposure. He is soon to be seen on "Brothers & Sisters." Thanks to his good looks, he was asked by record producers if he could sing and is now working on recording an album. I was interested in his childhood because I read that he practically grew up in a bakery. Mmm... cake.

Anyhow, I played some highlights of my interview with Gilles on the air this morning. The Internet gives me the opportunity to post the entire 8 minute interview for all the Gilles fanatics out there. The best part is probably when he says he learned English from listening to hip-hop music. Really.

After I put down the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, I asked Gilles to show me some moves I could take to the dance floor.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

dying to get in

The recent spate of celebrity deaths has me thinking about two segments I did on the Comedy World Radio Network. I had the first interview with Tony Orciuoli about his then-new website, Tony wrote a program that will automatically email you when news of a celebrity death crosses the wire. Longtime blog readers might recall me writing about this in February, 2006. I sent a copy of the interview to Tony right after it aired. He put the mp3 file on his website, which I downloaded so I can post it here for your convenience.

My interview with a guy named Death Pool Dave helped me land a job in Knoxville. Of all the airchecks I sent to my potential future bosses at 100.3 The River, the one they mentioned to me was my conversation with Death Pool Dave. He would register with several death pool websites including the Lee Atwater Invitational. Dave won quite a bit of money by guessing which celebrities would die in a calendar year. The younger the star, the more points they were worth in the game. To determine the point value, subtract the celebrity's age from 100. I looked through some old discs last night and found a copy of the CD I had sent to The River. Here's the interview with Death Pool Dave from late 2000 or early 2001.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, April 05, 2009

hosanna hey sanna

The theme of my interview with newly ordained Bishop Richard Stika was, "what is the mission of the church outside of the church?" I wanted to know how the Bishop saw his role in the community at large. In the program, which airs Sunday morning, we discuss the interfaith community in East Tennessee, the homeless, last year's church shooting and other local issues.

Obviously there is plenty of church chat too. We talked about Bishop Stika's ordination and the brand new cathedra that made its debut at that Mass. I also wanted to know what the Bishop thought of the fancy new building at St. John Neumann parish, which was the subject of a recent cover story in the Metro Pulse. So, would he consider making that building his cathedral? Probably not. Bishop Stika said he likes the location of Sacred Heart Cathedral and drops a subtle hint that he might someday be open to a new building on that site.

To celebrate Palm Sunday, I have posted a podcast of the half-hour interview. I think cradle Catholics and converts alike will enjoy the lightning round at the end of the interview when I ask the Bishop, "bells at the consecration, yes or no?"

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 01, 2009

extended dance mix

When Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson come in for an interview to promote their Body Farm books, I don't want the conversation to end. As the show we taped on Tuesday neared the half-hour mark, I decided to just keep going, knowing I could edit it later. The program that aired this morning was exactly thirty minutes long however the version I'm posting here is fifty-five forensic-filled minutes of fun.

The focus of the first half-hour is the science behind the new book "Bones of Betrayal." We talked about DMORT disaster drills, radiation sickness and Big Ed's Pizza. We also discussed Dr. Arpad Vass and his decomposition sniffer, which I called an electronic cadaver dog. Vass was featured in a very interesting News Sentinel article in mid-December.

When the conversation turns to the Incorruptibles, you'll know that you are hearing web-only content. A recap of the Big Bopper case led to talk of exhumation. If there is any question about the circumstances of my death, I want my body to be exhumed as many times as necessary, unlike the recent case of a former district attorney general, whose exhumation was denied. When we talked about dismembered hands, I related the story of my search for the relic of Fr. Damien of Molokai who will soon be canonized as a saint.

Jefferson and Bass begin a month-long promotional tour on Tuesday with a benefit event at the Y-12 New Hope Center. Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Advance sale tickets can be purchased by calling Knox Heritage at 865-523-8008 or by sending an email to They'll make the rounds of local retailers too. You can get a book signed at Borders Books on Wednesday, Sam's Club and Hastings Books on Saturday, Books-A-Million in Oak Ridge on Sunday and Hargreaves Books next Monday.

As usual, you can right click here and save the mp3 file to your computer or click the play button below.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, January 25, 2009

jewel case

The Bijou Theatre's 100 Year Jubilee kicks off Wednesday evening and runs through Saturday night. The News Sentinel's weekend section had an pull-out section with interesting articles, pictures and trivia about the venue. The Jubilee schedule includes a comedy improv performance by Einstein Simplified on Friday at 5:00 p.m. The money from ticket sales benefits the Bijou while we get to keep any proceeds from merchandise sold, assuming we can find something to sell.

Jubilee chairman Larsen Jay was my guest on the public affairs radio show that aired this morning. I've known Larsen since shortly after I moved to Knoxville. I've written before about the toilet he put in my house for a TV show. I remember when he met his wife Adrian, who was a reporter for WATE at the time. My wife and I went to their apartment-warming party at the Sterchi Lofts. Larsen and Adrian now own Doublejay Creative, which is headquartered downtown.

Larsen is a good talker and made the time go by easily, especially since I was fighting a cold. He has plenty of stories about the Bijou's past and renovation. He also said that the Jubilee will be an annual event. Feel free to right click and download the podcast. Or try clicking the play button below.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, December 29, 2008

is this my new TV?

Contrary to popular belief, today is the fifth day of Christmas. In lieu of golden rings, I'm taking a break from holiday themed blog posts to share a podcast with you. Today is also 50 days until the digital television transition. As a cable and satellite subscriber, I thought I was ready until WATE ran a test recently and my cable company failed. Way to go, Knology!

On yesterday's public affairs radio program, I interviewed Russ Manning of East Tennessee Public Television. They had to make the switch early when their analog transmitter broke down last June. You can listen to the show by clicking on the play button below or you can download it by right-clicking here. During the interview, Russ mentions that you can get more information from their website. He also recommends a site called Antenna Web, where you can enter your address to find out about the broadcast towers near you and where to point your antenna to receive their free over-the-air broadcasts. There is still time to get a converter box coupon before the switch.

After the taping ended, we were still talking about local TV. I told Russ about my blog entry on WBIR's local HD programming. And we both wondered why WVLT cannot control the volume on their local commercials.

I had fun with the on-air conversation too, especially since I got to gripe about the way some local stations switch from HD to SD before the late local news. I also talked about a blog post by a woman named Cassie whose mother hated the new digital TV they bought for her on Black Friday. Toward the end of the show, Russ and I reference a very funny viral video that I told you about forty days ago. Whether you've seen it before or not, please take two minutes to enjoy this PSA from "Talkshow with Spike Feresten." And then you'll be up to speed for the thirty-minute podcast.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 30, 2008

evenings came and mornings followed

As a former pastor, Michael Dowd is a great interviewee. As the interviewer, all I had to do was ask a few simple questions, reset who the guest was at regular intervals and make sure the show ended on time. Dowd, the author of "Thank God for Evolution", could have easily filled the half-hour without me.

To say that I was extremely enthusiastic about the topic would be an understatement. The idea of The Great Story, or Evolutionary Epic, fascinates me. I have long believed in both the concept of creation and the facts of evolution. Simply put, six of God's days equal about 14 billion of our years.

At the end of the interview that aired this morning, I felt that there was still plenty of ground to cover. I asked Michael if he could stay for another thirty-minute show, which will air next Sunday. I should have used this technique to extend my interviews with Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, which always seem to end too soon. Since I enjoyed the conversation so much, I thought you might too. Here are both shows, for your podcasting pleasure.

Part 1: Part 2:

Michael Dowd was in town to speak at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church last Tuesday. He and his wife have no permanent address. They live on the road, traveling from one speaking engagement to the next. That's one way to get to all 50 states.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

prison guard's son

Gavin DeGraw played the Tennessee Theatre tonight. Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to interview Gavin during a fill-in shift. If you were listening yesterday, you heard parts of the interview. Because we ended up talking longer than format constraints would allow, I'm posting the entire eleven-and-a-half minute interview as a podcast for your aural enjoyment.

Gavin called from Asheville before performing at The Orange Peel. We talked about that venue and the Tennessee Theatre. His tour continues in Nashville tomorrow and Memphis the next night. Thanks to Steve Wildsmith's interview with Gavin in the Maryville Daily Times, I knew to ask about the autobiographical aspect of "I Don't Want to Be." I was interested to learn that Carson Daly gave Gavin a big break by putting him on TV first. Meanwhile Gavin was interested to learn that Carson got his big break as Jimmy Kimmel's intern at a radio station in Palm Springs.

When we got to the topic of his latest song, Gavin sang a little bit of "In Love With a Girl" and described his songwriting process. Because he's known as a songwriter, I asked if there was a song or artist he likes that we would be surprised to hear him cover. He mentioned Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Williams III. I told him that Hank Williams Sr. was one of three famous artists who died after being in Knoxville and that a local festival honors him. Then Gavin told me that Hank Sr.'s heavy drinking may have been due to pain from spina bifida.

Before tonight's concert, I made the stage announcements about upcoming shows (Chris Isaak), muting cellphones and fire exits. Then I went backstage for a meet and greet with Gavin and some listeners.

Opening act Griffin House closed his set with a song about his grandparents. He made sure that the audience understood that the lyrics said "proud to have your blood in my veins." He said many people mistakenly think he's singing about their butt in his face. Yuck.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, June 08, 2008

just a Broadway baby

The Tony Awards are a week from tonight. I thought they had already passed until I saw a listing for them in the "What to Watch" column in Entertainment Weekly.

In my entire life I've only seen two shows on Broadway and one of them shouldn't count. My high school prom date and I went to see a legitimate play called "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" It wasn't very funny and there was no sign of Colin Mochrie or Ryan Stiles. My first Broadway experience came when my parents gave me a pair of tickets to "Beatlemania" for my birthday. I had asked for the tickets because of the constant commercials on New York television. It's more of a concert than a play. Worse yet, I bought the original cast album.

At a recent family reunion, I met a precocious relative who has already seen about twenty-five shows on Broadway. He reads and and The New York Times for theater reviews. Oh yeah, he's only eleven years old. Nothing I could write here would do him justice. Instead please enjoy a nine minute podcast interview with him. Like me, you can listen to him in slack-jawed amazement.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, April 03, 2008

impossible things happening everyday

The news out of Fairfax this week was unsettling. George Mason Patriots coach Jim Larranaga was being courted by his alma mater, Providence College. I heard about it yesterday when I called Michael Litos, author of "Cinderella: Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball," to arrange today's podcast interview. I was relieved to hear today that Larranaga accepted a contract extension to stay at GMU.

In the 11 minute mp3 file, we talk about Coach L, the CAA and mid-major basketball in general. I told Michael about Best Week Ever poking fun at Larranaga over his speech before this year's Notre Dame game. While you're listening, take a look at Michael's CAA blog and the current stories about Larranaga on the Washington Post and New York Times sites.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 03, 2008

dr. bass-o-matic

The guests on this morning's "East Tennessee Report" were Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, also known as the writing team of Jefferson Bass. They were kind enough to grant me the first interview on the publicity tour for their new book, "The Devil's Bones," which goes on sale this Tuesday. We recorded the show last night, shortly after Jon got to town. Of course, Dr. Bass is well known as the founder of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee.

As is my custom with Body Farm interviews, I have posted a podcast of the program. This time around we talk about cremation and the notorious Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Georgia. We also discuss the new Forensic Anthropology exhibit at the Frank H. McClung Museum that I wrote about last week.

Jefferson and Bass are contracted for at least two more Body Farm novels. They told me that the next one will be set in Oak Ridge with a subplot from the Manhattan Project era.

I truly enjoy my conversations with Jon and Dr. Bass. We could have talked for hours but it's only a thirty minute show. Right-click here to download the mp3 file. Please enjoy.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, September 23, 2007

decomposition book

What's that? You just missed hearing the authors of "Beyond the Body Farm" on the early morning public affairs radio show I told you about? Well, get comfortable with a cup of coffee and the Sunday crossword puzzle while you listen to a podcast of this morning's show.

The book and the radio interview are full of interesting forensic cases. I almost thought that Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson had a monopoly on all the good dead body stories. Then I found one in the Washington Post that isn't theirs but is fascinating nonetheless. Last week a corpse from the 1850s was finally identified a couple of years after being accidentally unearthed in Washington DC.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 11, 2007

odds podkins

The interview I recorded two weeks ago with Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, authors of "Flesh and Bone," aired this morning on all four stations in the cluster. I'm sure you heard it either at 6:00 a.m. on 93 Point 1 or at 6:30 a.m. on both Star 102.1 and Hot 104.5. Amplitude modulation stalwarts heard it at 8:30 a.m on Studio 1040. The authors have four book signings in East Tennessee this week.

I have some friends who are interested in the Body Farm but probably did not hear one of the audio streams at 3:30 a.m. Pacific time. For them, I will post a podcast of the interview just like I did last year when I spoke with Dr. Bass.

Click on the play button below or right click here to save the file for transfer to your mp3 device.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, October 22, 2006


My daughter will cast her vote by absentee ballot this year. Like every Tennessee voter, she's very interested in the U.S. Senate race between Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr. I spoke with both candidates on the half-hour public affairs show that airs on all four stations in the cluster. The audio files are too big for me to email to my daughter, so I'll post them here instead for her to hear. Ford was recorded when he visited the studio on October 9 and Corker on October 12. The first show was broadcast last Sunday and the second aired this morning. Each file is 12MB for your podcasting pleasure.

Harold Ford Jr.

Bob Corker

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


The public affairs programs on most radio stations are broadcast on Sunday mornings. There aren't that many listeners and there is rarely any reaction to the shows. That's why I am all the more impressed that at least three listeners took time to call the radio station on Monday and Tuesday to mention that they enjoyed hearing Dr. Bill Bass being interviewed this past Sunday. It's a testament to the popularity of Dr. Bass and to people's fascination with the Body Farm. He was promoting his new book, "Carved In Bone."

I'm proud of the interview and decided to post it here. It's similar to a podcast, except that it's not a weekly occurrence. The program is 30 minutes long and the mp3 file is 13.7 MB at 64 kbps. Click on the play button to hear it now or right click and save it to your mp3 player for later.

According to the Harper Collins website, Jefferson Bass (Jon Jefferson & Dr. Bill Bass) have more book signings this week. They'll be at Carpe Librum on Friday evening and at Books-A-Million on Saturday afternoon. If their first signing is any indication, buy or reserve the book in advance and get there early.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button