Feature article in October 2006 AIRblast

Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Jesse Thorn's Sound of Young America

Jesse Thorn

Why become the first public radio program west of the Mississippi to podcast? "Well," says Thorn, "it was more like: why not?" In the year and a half since its modest podcast launch, The Sound of Young America has logged over half a million program downloads and been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time and Salon. The show's hipper take on interviews has found resonance with listeners—though acceptance from pubradio's powers-that-be has been somewhat slower in coming. The over-the-air distribution network of the show now counts five stations, and Thorn hopes that will continue to grow, perhaps one day allowing The Sound to become a genuine professional operation. "My long-term goal," says Thorn, "is to somehow translate my listenership into dollars (American), which I will then exchange for goods and services."

To listen to the podcast of The Sound of Young America or to help make Jesse's goal a reality, go to