an appeal to my readers

Though I’ve only recently made it official, I’m proud to say I was probably a Friend of Tom before you. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Tom Scharpling was one of those 12 or 13 diehards I could always expect to see at New Brunswick, NJ’s Court Tavern when an out-of-town band like Tar or Pavement played. He did a zine called Eighteen Wheeler; later he had a record label of the same name that released Dump’s first single and a great Bartlebees comp. Tom was a nice guy and I liked his zine quite a bit. I was critical of it at times, but then Tom didn’t always love Writer’s Block or CIF either. Still, any rivalry we had was good-natured.

Fast forward ahead a decade and a half, and Tom’s doing quite well. He’s a head writer for Monk, is working on his own Conan O’Brien-financed sitcom, happily living in Central Jersey, and doing “The Best Show on WFMU.” A few months ago, “The Best Show” began podcasting, and I finally got to listen. It was then that I began to get acquainted with the show’s various lies, half-truths, rants and running gags. One of the very first podcasts found Tom picking a fight with the Poster Children over whose show was better. And these crazy people kept calling: it took several shows to figure out that most of them were Jon Wurster, Superchunk drummer and Tom’s partner in laffs. From the first podcast, I was actually laughing out loud.

For someone in my situation – far away from WFMU’s on-air reception, too busy to listen online, and thankful for podcasting’s time-shifting advantages – having something like “The Best Show” to listen to on weekends or in the car is great news indeed. So you can see why I’m a little afraid that Tom’s going to make good on his recent threats to stop the podcast.

It seems that “The Best Show”‘s podcast audience could fit into this tiny office space from which I type. A few weeks ago, Tom claimed to have three podcast listeners; now, after weeks of haranguing and threats, he’s up to 15. That’s not very much, especially for a show that benefits from WFMU’s large, loyal audience and a host who’s not afraid to drum up publicity.

So, as a newly-minted but loyal FOT, I’m imploring you to give “The Best Show” podcast a try. Visit WFMU’s podcast page, or simply copy and paste this XML into your iTunes, and every Thursday morning you’ll get approximately two and a half hours of quality broadcasting and mirth galore. I believe you’ll like it, but between you and me, you could delete it unheard every week and I wouldn’t care. Just so long as the podcast keeps going.

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