Cult Pubradio Host Tom Scharpling Signs Off

Citing that producing the show is almost a full time gig, and one that doesn’t pay, WFMU’s Tom Scharpling signed off after 13 years. It illustrates the need for pubradio to find ways to keep talent…

Courtesy Tom Scharpling via WBEZ/Chicago.

Courtesy Tom Scharpling via WBEZ/Chicago.

Wired into the New York music and comedy scene, for more than a dozen years Tom Scharpling hosted something of a free-for-all called The Best Show on WFMU – the free-form community station in Jersey City.

It ended yesterday, and perhaps for all the wrong reasons.

Money was first among them.

Scharpling, who has television credits that range from Monk to Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, as well as writing credits in GQ and New York Magazine, said he just can’t do it anymore for free.

This, despite being credited with the ability to raise $200,000 in pledge drives. Regulars on The Best Show ranged from Patton Oswalt to John Hodgman to Aimee Mann.

Considering the hue and cry we regularly hear at pubradio about the inability to attract, develop, or otherwise nurture talent, it’s maddening to hear that someone like Scharpling, who obviously loves the medium, would have to throw in the towel.

Fact is, pubradio’s talent development problem is really about risk aversion — and we need to collectively get over that hump or we’re all gonna be toast.

Great reporting on The Best Show and its end in Current, USA Today, and Grantland.


Filed Under: Actual NewsFeaturedNewsRadio and RecordsSideways Is the New Up


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