If you're not familiar with RadioLab, you should be. RadioLab is WNYC's periodic radio/podcast exploration of interesting topics, some geeky and some not, all laced together with wonderful music and intelligent questions and commentary from the show's hosts and producers.
I was interviewed by RadioLab about a year ago and the program I'm in was just released last week. Called "Escape!" it concerns itself with people in unusual situations and their attempts to escape from them. The last chunk (starting at 48:00 or so in the episode) is about Joybubbles, formerly Joe Engressia, one of the original blind whistling phone phreaks. I urge you to listen to the entire thing, but if you just want to listen to the phone phreaking bit ("Long Distance"), you can find it here.
For anyone interested in a peek behind the curtains, it was kind of an interesting process to go through. RadioLab contacted me back in March 2011. They're in New York City so we did a remote interview with them there and me at KQED in San Francisco. It was quite odd being in a slightly darkened and very quiet radio studio, wearing headphones and having Sean Cole and Soren Wheeler's disembodied and crystal clear voices ask me questions. (Transport was, seriously, 2 "B" channels on an ISDN line! Old technology never dies...) I remember feeling slightly disoriented when I walked out into the bright light of day, confused by where the voices had gone.
We ended up doing two different interviews, each a couple of hours long. RadioLab produces only a handful of shows each year and there was apparently a bit of discussion within the RadioLab gang as to whether they should do an hour-long show just on Joybubbles, or a special short on him, or make him part of a larger episode (which is what they ended up doing). Amazing how much material it was necessary to record in order to boil it down to what was used, but the same is true of the interviews in my book, I suppose.
Thanks to Sean and Soren for their work and patience on this story. Great job, guys! I hope you are as happy with the result as I am.