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Round 3 of PRTQ is now live!

As you may recall, for this round of the Public Radio Talent Quest, we were asked to conduct an interview with anyone, so long as they weren’t a friend or relative. In response to my previous call for help, I got a lot of great suggestions, including one from Melusine: Randall Munroe of Randall quickly agreed to help me out with an interview, and we met the Wednesday before last to record.

Randall is, as you may suspect from reading his comic, smart and funny. We enjoyed some lemonades before and after the interview (well, I had a celebratory beer after) and had a great time talking. Hanging out in the studio doing the interview felt very natural, like a normal conversation you might have even without headphones and mics and a ticking clock. After the show we were joined by Adrianne from PRX, who had come to make sure everything went smoothly but stuck around because she is also a fan of XKCD. All around, I enjoyed it all so much that it was totally worth the time and effort it took to get to this stage of the contest.
So now, I once again need your support! You can hear an excerpt of my interview with Randall by clicking here:

And giving me however many stars you think I deserve (preferably five or more [before you ask, that’s a joke, five is the most you can give]). Then, stick around and listen to some of the other finalists, all of whom have made a wonderful effort to make this an entertaining and diverse round.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Ack, I can't listen to this until I get home from work, but I'm totally going to first thing.

    And then I'm going to give you like a billion stars or something.

  2. That was a great interview! This is the first round I've gotten around to actually listening to (sorry!) but I've signed up for an account so I can vote. Your voice is mesmerizing :)

  3. Very good job, Rebecca! I don't remember, now, who suggested using Randall Munroe as your interview subject, but it was a BRILLIANT idea. I think that you sounded rather natural. Had someone bopped me on the head, giving me temporary amnesia, and told me I was listening to an actual established public radio show, I probably wouldn't have known the difference. Unless, of course, I had a photograph or a tattoo warning me otherwise. I have this condition, you see…

  4. Weird, I just started reading through his comics a few days back after occasionally catching one in reference. Easily moved to my top three web comics, along with dinosaur.

  5. Luckily we skeptics don't believe in jinxing, so I can go ahead and say congratulations on your victory! This was the first time I listened to all of the entries, and while they are all pretty good – certainly better than I could do! – yours honestly was the best.

    Is it weird to say, "I'm proud of you!"?

  6. I figured it was him you were going to interview. Can't wait to get home and listen to it though. Oh yeah, and voting … I promise I'll vote this time.

    No, really.

  7. Rebecca, I'm so glad you were able to interview Randall Munroe and had a great time doing it. (When I saw "Round 3" and the tesla coil comic I smiled.) I listened to all the entries earlier today, scribbled notes while listening, and then voted. This round was definitely more interesting than the last round and I found all the interviews enjoyable to listen to, albeit a few too frustratingly short. (So, yes, if you have more snippets, post them!) I like diversity and there was a good array of interviewees. What's interesting is to hear the table turned on you all and how that affects the question: "Would I want to tune into this person's show?" I also think some of the entrants had better interviewers than others in the way they were prompted for further information. I think you handled yours well, especially the not so simple "What is something you believe in or someone you believe in?" question.*

    I was going to comment on all of them, but was too exhausted from flea-fighting, so I'll do so tomorrow, or yikes, today. In short, I think you have a natural conversational manner and not a canned radio voice, which is good – you sound real but still professional in the interview format. (I already determined you do well at copy-read.) Your manner was right for the subject/interviewee and I hope those not familiar with xkcd were curious enough to check it out. I enjoyed it since I couldn't really hear what Randall was saying in those MIT videos. Good job!

    All around, I enjoyed it all so much that it was totally worth the time and effort it took to get to this stage of the contest.


    BTW, I saw via Stogoe on Blake's blog that xkcd made this Periodic Table of the Internet.

    *I'm always interested to hear non-religious people's answer to this question though I am often disappointed with the responses. Another entrant fumbled on this because he got hung up on the word "believe" and so therefore didn't say much of anything. I think it's important, especially for atheists, to have an answer clarified in one's own mind and be able to convey this to others fairly concisely and clearly. Just something I wish was tossed around more…

  8. Great job and great guest choice! Any chance that you can post the whole interview here or is it “property of NPR” or some such? Would love to hear the rest of it.

  9. So I voted. I'm so proud of myself now.

    I hope I was actually still on time.

    And this was kinda funny. Among the most recently registered was the nickname Hellkat.

    Well, okay, that's ancient history I suppose.

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