In The Podcast Review, guest reviewer Jessie Borrelle takes a look at a highlight of the international podcasting spectrum.


It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

If you think of This American Life as the squishy science of podcasting, and RadioLab as the hard science, then WireTap has to be pure pseudo-science.

Jonathan Goldstein makes an art of telephony on the radio, or something. He calls up an ensemble of lovers, friends (Gregor and Howard are highlights), relatives and other categories of people and extracts stories from them, sometimes like a splinter, sometimes like a scoop of ice cream.

Once described as ‘something between borscht-belt comedy and Franz Kafka,’ in Wiretap, truth and fable are not indulged a distinction, and thus, generally the mood could amount to quizzical pathos. Goldstein’s voice is coarse but gentle, like weathered leather. It’s very deadpan, if you like deadpan, then meet your guru.

Buried in the archives are gems from the likes of David Rakoff, Heather O’Neill and David Sedaris. You probably shouldn’t still be reading this, get thee to an iTunes!

Recommended podcasts. All of them, but here’s three to whet your thing:

  1. My Imposter / season 6, 2009: Jonathan discovers a fake Jonathan Goldstein posing as the real thing on Twitter, and then confronts his imposter.
  2. No man is an island / season 6, 2009: Howard starts his very own country within the borders of his apartment: the first nation with wall-to-wall carpeting.
  3. Human Nature / season 6, 2008:  Flying cows that leak milk from the sky, and a hippopotamus that hangs upside down like a sloth: Heather O’Neill retelling The Island of Dr. Moreau.


Originally from New Zealand, Jessie Borrelle is a Melbourne-based writer, editor and an executive producer of the antipodean podcast Paper Radio.