On the Phone

Does the telephone dial in to the "real" you? Click below to listen to the podcast version of our look at the phone.

As always, the "enhanced" version of the podcast (with chapters, pictures, and webs links) is available from iTunes.


How do we change when we're on the phone? And how do we use it as a tool, beyond basic communication? This week, we look into the call of the telephone.

Will complete strangers on the other end of a "cold call" tell Sook-Yin something most people don't know about themselves? We'll find out with a random dial.

And we'll hear from a real pro when it comes to the random dial. BBC broadcaster Alan Dein calls up payphones around the world just to meet whoever answers. We'll find out who picks up.

When Carly Stasko was being treated for cancer she had no idea that a phone message would be an integral part of her cure. She'll tell us her story.

So you think your mom leaves your some wacky answering machine messages? Comedian Amy Borkowsky filled not one, but two CDs with the "helpful" advice her mom left for her....

Long-distance love inspired Gentleman Reg's song "Charm In A Phonebooth." He'll play it for us live in the DNTO studio, and tell us about the time a telephone changed his life.

Ladies chat free! Aurora de Peña talks about her time spent on Toronto chat lines, and how pretending to be a busty redhead helped her to accept her lonely teenage self.

How did an answering machine help Jann Arden write one of her first hits? Sook-Yin will chat with her about it... and what happened when Jann's mom got the wrong message.

You find a discarded answering machine tape... and it's still got the original messages on it. What do you do with that? If you're Alison Kobayashi, you make a movie based on it, of course. Sook-Yin will talk with the filmmaker about her answering-machine-based movie, Dan Carter.

The ringtone on your cell phone does a lot more than tell you when you have an incoming call. Mike O'Brien discovers how we use the tones to identify ourselves... and why that might not always be a good thing.

Did you ever Dial-A-Joke? Dial-A-Ride? How about Dial-A-Song? John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants tells us why his band invented the Dial-A-Song service, and used it for 25 years to share more than 150 of their songs with fans.

The Masked Avengers have turned the crank call into a comedic career, pranking people like Paul McCartney and Sarah Palin. We'll get the low down on their call-ups ahead.

And here's this week's playlist:

Blondie - "Hanging On the Telephone"
Hannah Georgas - "Deep End"
Chuck Berry - "Memphis"
ELO - "Telephone Line"
Gentleman Reg - "Charm In a Phonebooth" (Live in studio)
Jann Arden - "Unloved"
Acres and Acres - "The Cell Phone Song"
Vancougar - "Phone Calls"
They Might Be Giants - "Anna Ng"
Memphis - "The Phone Call"

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