Full episode
90: Telephone
Act Two

When The Telephone Is Your Medium

Sure you can try to get your pop songs onto records, or on the radio, or onto MTV. But what happens if your medium of choice is ... the telephone? Before they had record contracts, the band They Might Be Giants distributed their songs through the medium of Answering Machine. They created their own Dial-a-Song line. They say it taught them a lot about songwriting, because they could hear which songs people hated, because people hung up on the bad songs. It taught them how to do better musical arrangements for their songs. Sarah Vowell visited John Linnell and John Flansberg in Brooklyn and talked to them about Dial-a-Song. (15 minutes)


“I'm Sick” by They Might Be Giants (A song they wrote about This American Life, for us)