Ron Rosenbaum

Radio Recommendation: The John Batchelor Show

He’s kind of a madman, but in a good way. Not a typical talk show way, but an old fashioned pitbull reporter way. When he gets on to a story, you feel like this almost palpable lust to get behind the official story and into the real deal. You can hear The John Batchelor Show at 7-10 p.m. in most cities–go to the link for schedules.

He’s got sources in every hot spot in the world, particularly the Middle East, and when the show’s over you don’t want it to end, and how often can you say that about your typical liberal NPR or convservative talk radio droning.

He’s kind of a know-it-all, it’s true. One who’s too smart to be a great self promoter. (He’s always telling listeners to go to his website “” without telling them it’s not spelled conventionally, losing a lot of them, I fear. Tell them about the “t”, John!). I once was invited on his show to discuss my anti-semitism anthology Those Who Forget the Past but he kept telling me how much he knew (and demonstrating that he hadn’t actually read the book as carefully as a know-it-all should) so that I actually started arguing with him in the pre interview, something you learn never to do in putting up with book promo, and blew my chance to plug a book–something no author is crazy enough to do, but he was insufferable and it just wasn’t worth it to me to pretend I didn’t think so. But he is genuinely knowledgable about that subject and a host of others and he has great opinionated guests and the show is breathlessly entertaining, so I forgive him and just look foward to listening.

Pluis–and not many peole know this and I don’t know if he likes it to be told–but he once perpetrated one of the greatest, wittiest literary hoaxes ever perpetrated, a long time ago (he’s a skilled novelist as well) when he wrote a piece for the long defunct SoHo News claiming to have proven that J.D. Salinger was the author of the works of fellow recluse writer Thomas Pynchon. (Ever seen them in the same room together?). It was the hoax as a work of literary criticism, indeed as a work of literature in itself, and evinced a deep and sensitive understanding of the works of both writers. My hat is always off to him for that. And I’m glad he’s back on the air. Check him out.