Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
|Running time||30–60 min.|
|Syndicates||Public Radio International (formerly)|
|Recording studio||Los Angeles, California|
|Air dates||since 2000|
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn (formerly The Sound of Young America) is a public radio program and podcast based in Los Angeles, California and distributed by National Public Radio (NPR). The weekly show is currently heard on over 50 public radio stations.
The program features host Jesse Thorn interviewing personalities in arts and culture, with a special focus on comedy. Past guests have included Dolly Parton, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Fran Lebowitz, David Cross, Ira Glass, Patton Oswalt, Bob Newhart, Jeff Bridges and others.
The Sound of Young America began in 2000 on the college radio station KZSC-FM, based at the University of California, Santa Cruz. At first, The Sound of Young America was a variety college radio show featuring Thorn and two other cohosts, Matt Dobbs (who soon dropped out in favor of Jordan Morris) and Gene O'Neill. Initially a morning show, it later ran from 5-6 PM each Thursday. O'Neill left in 2003, and Brian Lane filled in periodically thereafter. Upon Morris' departure in May 2004, the show began to use rotating co-hosts. That autumn, Thorn went solo.
Past contributors to the show include Jordan Morris, "Boy Detective," and "Big Time" Gene O'Neill as co-hosts, and regular appearances from Thorn's joke-telling and sometime rock-and-roller younger brother, the Master of "Would You Rather?" Jim Real, Brian "Back in Business" Lane, and artist/musician Dan Grayson. In 2003, the show staged a radio drama of Sad Dad, an original play written by Morris and O'Neill. 2003 also saw the debut of the show's theme song, Maximum Fun, written and performed by Thorn and Grayson.
Near the end of 2004 the show became available as a podcast. Thorn and the show were mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, and Salon.com. Salon.com's Audiofile wrote, "If you've never heard of The Sound of Young America, The Sound of Young America is the greatest radio show you've never heard of," and described Thorn's interviewing style as combining "the civility and preparedness of [Terry] Gross leavened with the good humor of [Conan] O'Brien." In January 2006, TIME selected the show in a column entitled "Pick of the Podcasts." The Wall Street Journal's "Blog Watch" column described the show as "a popular podcast where Mr. Thorn interviews some of the nation's top talent and comics occasionally perform sketches, and noted that Thorn produced the podcast "from his living room."
During this time, Thorn received a call from the director of programming at Public Radio International, who had heard one of the podcasts and expressed interest in distributing the show. In 2006 WNYC-FM, a public radio station in New York City, picked up the show, and PRI decided to distribute it. As of September 2008 the show was carried on 18 public radio stations, in addition to the podcast.
In January 2012, the show was renamed Bullseye, and began featuring The Go! Team's "Huddle Formation" as its theme song. As of April 2013, the show is distributed by National Public Radio.
According to the show's website, in addition to the podcast the program is currently heard on 59 public terrestrial radio stations in 17 states.
In April 2006, The Sound of Young America launched a second podcast, The College Years, chronicling the pre-podcasting history of the show.
In December 2006, Thorn and Morris reteamed to launch the podcast-only program Jordan, Jesse, Go! (The first two episodes were released as "The Untitled Thorn/Morris Project".) The show is a return to the free-form radio that they did in Santa Cruz, before The Sound of Young America became almost exclusively an interview show. The first episode featured the return of former staple "Hang It Up/Keep It Up". The second episode saw the return of "Would You Rather?" and the introduction of "Judge John Hodgman" a mock-trial presided over by author/raconteur John Hodgman. Later shows often feature guests such as author Sarah Vowell, actor Rob Corddry, and various contemporary comedians.
- "About Bullseye". Maximum Fun. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- Rappaport, Scott (April 2, 2008). "Maximum Fun: Alum Jesse Thorn woos young listeners with a new brand of radio show". UC Santa Cruz Review. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Thorn, Jesse (April 18, 2006). "Hammer's Browser Preference". Jesse Thorn's Blog. Maximum Fun. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Thorn, Jesse; Morris, Jordan (June 4, 2010). "Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 135: Excerpts from the MaxFunMarathon with Andy Richter, Sarah Thyre, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer". Jordan, Jesse, Go! (Podcast). Maximum Fun. Event occurs at 00:50:00. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Jesse Thorn, "My Life As America's Radio Sweetheart", Metro Santa Cruz, August 23–30, 2006.
- Thorn, Jesse; Morris, Jordan (December 1, 2008). "Waldorf Schools". Jordan, Jesse, Go! (Podcast). Maximum Fun. Event occurs at 1:06:00. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Boudway, Ira (November 14, 2005). "Longer listens: Peter Guralnick, Art Spiegelman and some lost Van Morrison tracks on the "Sound of Young America"". Salon. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Caplan, Jeremy (May 2, 2006). "The Pick of the Podcasts". Time. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Huang, Keith (July 24, 2006). "Blog Watch: The Sound of Young America". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Vows: Theresa Hossfeld and Jesse Thorn, New York Times, September 6, 2008.
- "monstersofpod: Starting in 2012, The Sound of... - Jesse Thorn: Tumbler". Jessethorn.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Lapin, Andrew (February 7, 2013). "Jesse Thorn’s Bullseye moving to NPR". Current.org. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- "Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is joining NPR! It’s... - Jesse Thorn: Tumbler". Jessethorn.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- College Years podcast announcement at Sound of Young America website, April 13, 2006.