On Wednesday, June 15, European travel guru, Rick Steves, will be recording new shows for his radio program, “Travel With Rick Steves.” He'll start off with a conversation with legendary travel writer Paul Theroux (whose book The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments From Lives on the Road has recently been released) at 10:45 a.m. PDT. At 1:00 p.m., Rick will interview Elaine Sciolino, author of La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life. Another recording session is scheduled for Thursday, June 23rd. (Click here for details on both sessions).
You can participate as a "caller" on these shows, or just listen in as they are recorded "live" for later broadcast.
(Updated at 5:30 p.m., June 15th: In a late afternoon e-mail to Dick Jordan, Timothy Tattan, Executive Producer of Rick's radio show, said that unexpected technical problems prevented listeners from tuning into to Rick's conversation with Paul Theroux as it was being recorded. But you can hear it on September 10, 2011, when "Travel With Rick Steves" airs on local radio stations (click here to find one near you), by subscribing to the show's podcasts, or by checking the show's archives after the broadcast date).
How It WorksFind a topic that interests you, then fill out a simple form with your comments or questions and submit it to Rick. Include your phone number if you want to be interviewed, and plan to stand by a landline telephone for at least forty-five minutes to an hour-plus after time for recording for that segment is scheduled to begin. (Alas, when he interviewed me for the first time about four years ago, it had to be done over my cell phone and the sound quality was so poor the interview never aired and I never got even 1 second of fame).
On the appointed day (or maybe before), Rick’s staff may send you advance notice by e-mail that you are invited to be on the show. But his radio team might call you just ten to twenty minutes ahead of time so you need to be listening in to make sure you are ready to take the call from Rick (who doesn’t guarantee that he will be able to phone each person who volunteered to be interviewed).
If you won’t be available to speak to Rick or are too shy to talk to him, you can submit comments and questions related to a program topic that interests you and Rick may read those on the air. You can also listen to live “Webcasts” as the interviews are conducted, and later listen to the “finished” show over the radio or via podcast.
The recording sessions typically begin with Rick talking to with guest experts before hearing from callers like you and me. During this time his staff will call and put you on hold until it is time for your “fifteen seconds of fame”, and you will be able to listen to the program over the phone until you are “on.” (The length of time that you will be interviewed will depend on how much taping time remains, and how many other callers are in the queue).
The interview process is quite informal. Rick may start out by asking you to offer a comment or pose a question to himself or his panel of experts, and then there will probably be some back-and-forth discussion between you, Rick, and his guests. After these live sessions are complete Rick’s crew will edit the raw recordings and produce shows for broadcast on the radio and download as podcasts.
I've been a "caller" five times in the past. (The first time I had to use my cell phone and the sound quality was so poor my brilliant commentary couldn't be used. I'm still waiting to see if I'm included on two sessions recorded in January of 2011. Click here to find out more about my involvement with Rick's radio show). It’s a lot of fun being “On The Radio With Rick Steves” and I encourage you to “phone in” or submit comments via e-mail.
(From time to time travel writer Dick Jordan posts book reviews under the “Armchair Travel” and “Book Review” sections of his blog, Tales Told From The Road. His last post to the Book(ed) Passage blog was “Getting to Timbuktu, Electronically”, about how the Sunday newspaper Travel section is changing as it moves from print to electronic editions.
When Dick isn’t traveling, you can usually find him hanging out with other members of Left Coast Writers at the Book Passage Corte Madera store on the evening of the first Monday of each month.)