17 October

The Call-In Show That Nobody Called: Bring It On!

by Jon Katz

How does it feel to host a call-in show that nobody calls?

I can tell you. Only person called my new two-hour show debut on WBTN  radio today, we chatted about her congenial Chihuahua for a few minutes. I didn’t want to let her go.

The  show was exciting for me. But I’ll be  honest, we were not exactly swamped with calls.

Thankfully Thomas “Maestro” Toscano and I clicked anyway, we are both troopers, and we talked easily with one another – good chemistry. And we had some fine discussions about dogs and horses, training and communicating.

I had a nasty head cold and a cough, my voice was just about giving out by the time we got to 3 p.m. I sounded like Froggy The Magic Twanger.

I could talk about dogs and animals for me, but I did miss the interaction with other people, animal people are always fun to talk to. People stir things up, I get sick of myself when I talk that long, even me.

I can talk about animals for days on end, but would rather not.

I will admit, though, that I was surprised that nobody else called. On our pilot show last week, there were non-stop calls, and I got a lot of e-mail from people who listened last week today.

They said they loved the show.

So this is show business, yes?

There’s no business like show business,

Like no business I know

The opening when your heart beats like a drum

The closing when the customers don’t come

You’re broken hearted, but you go on!”

Ethel Merman, There’s No Business Like Show Business.

I read a bunch of e-mail questions, that was engaging and interesting for me.

I enjoyed it, I think it went well.

And I well understand that anything in life worth doing is difficult, there are few instant triumphs in the world. The game is on.

I did a lot of research and homework, I hope it was helpful to the people who did listen. I have no idea how many people that might be.

We talked about everything from dog vaccinations to controlling dog barks to the New York Carriage Horses and the elephants in the circuses.

I was puzzled by the lack of calls but in no way discouraged. I do love a challenge.

It’s been a long time since the station had any callers at all, and I know it will take hard work, perseverance and commitment to make the show successful.

The station’s equipment is quite old and frail, their staff is thin and overworked, and they are, to say the least, underfunded.

I was wearing new headphones – the old ones were disintegrating – that a blog supporter purchased on the WBTN Amazon Wish List over the weekend (thanks!) and the Wish List has already sold out twice. The Wish List will be re-stocked tomorrow (Thursday). Check on it if you can, they need everything.

While I was on the air, the Post Office arrived with a big stack of Amazon boxes.

So people out there are paying attention and donating,  but perhaps were shy about calling.

Or perhaps I’m dreaming to think this can work. We’ll see.

At one point in the show, Tommy, the Executive Director (he was a child prodigy) looked at me and he beamed at the new headphones: “this,” he said,”is the beginning of the re-building of the station.”

I hadn’t looked at it that way, but I have been spoiled at the easy attention I’ve always gotten, the crowds I could always draw.

I’ve got some work to do. I want the show to work.

I know the subject is good, I know I can speak well about it, and I know there is enormous interest. We just have to put it all together. And that is not going to happen in a day.

There’s always next week.

It did occur to me that the call-in lines may not have been working or were inadvertently turned off – you never know there. But that was perhaps rationalizing –  I’m pretty sure there was only one person in America who called me.

Look on the bright side: more than 350 million new listeners out there.

This broadcast is a great challenge for me, the station has been nearly left for dead. I appreciate a challenge, and I have no illusions that just because I host a radio show, people will instantly come.

But there are 75 million owned dogs in America, and more cats. This is the right broadcast.

I have to work hard and roll with the ups and downs, and there will be many, no matter what happens. I am absolutely committed to work hard to make this work, I believe the world very much needs a program like this, and once people get wind of it, it will work – hopefully.

And the station is wild about the financial and Amazon Wish List donations that have been coming in steadily. It is good to know you are all out there, whether you call me or not.

This is a good cause, and I will stick with. Next Week, Wednesday, 1 to 3.  You can call at 866 406-9286 or e-mail me your animal questions to jon@bedlamfarm.com. And you can live stream the show next week here.

I’ll  remind you.



  1. tuned in late in the program and would loved to have called in to ask a question when you were talking about training your cow! will tune in next week, can’t wait!

  2. I’m so sorry I didn’t call! I assumed the lines would all be tied up! But please keep at it, as people get used to the idea, I really believe the calls will come. This is just something new that will take time to get going.

  3. Enjoying the conversation between you and The station master..you both have deep rich interesting stories..next week I will be tuned in..this is the start of something GOOD!

  4. I hope people overcome shyness and call in. I had a problem streaming it. Downloaded a newer Adobe flash player
    but made no difference. Probably my system but couldn’t stream it directly from either link.

  5. I listened to your show and it was great. I thought up a question for next week’s show. I have a sticky on my dresser reminding me when it’s on. I’m ready! Hope you are!

    1. Great, Ally, 866 406 9286. Looks like there were some technical problems yesterday with the phones, a bunch of people said they tried to call and couldn’t…

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