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Tom Scharpling Divulges Details of ‘The Best Show’ Revival at CMJ

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Tom Scharpling, host of the beloved cult radio show The Best Show on WFMU, was interviewed by Chris Gethard, host of the also beloved cult public access show The Chris Gethard Show, as part of the CMJ Music Marathon’s college radio panels on Wednesday afternoon. Scharpling, who ended The Best Show last December and announced its resurrection on October 10, with a start date of “November 2014 or thereabouts,” talked a little more about what to expect from the new Best Show during the hour-long conversation.

According to Scharpling, the new iteration of The Best Show will have the same call-in format as the WFMU show, but will not be on terrestrial radio. Instead, it will be streamed live over the internet and made available as a podcast. Gethard gently ribbed Scharpling about this, pointing out that Scharpling is becoming a podcaster, a group the curmudgeonly host was “at war with” at one point in The Best Show’s history, which goes back to 2000.

“I was teasing,” Scharpling insisted, adding “I don’t like when people do podcasts who have no love for the art form, who are just doing it as a stepping stone.”

Gethard asked if, now that The Best Show is no longer beholden to radio standards of decency, Scharpling will allow cursing on the famously PG show.

“I love cursing,” Scharpling answered. “Cursing is very funny, right? But it’s fun to find loopholes to say something filthy and get away with it,” like saying “whitewashing your hand” as opposed to “jerking off.” So cursing will be avoided, but it won’t necessarily be penalized.

Scharpling also revealed that he is building his own studio in New Jersey, and will be producing the show completely independently. He mentioned that his studio was robbed while under construction, with thieves taking a mixer and, ironically, the not-yet-installed security system.

In addition to relaunching The Best Show, Scharpling is also working on a massive 16-disc, 20-hour box set of Best Show calls with his comedy partner John Wurster, which comes out in March.

“A part of me was murdered by this box set,” he said of the editing process. “It’s not healthy to listen to yourself for 16 hours straight.”

Tom & Chris unedited

Tom Scharpling in conversation with Chris Gethard at CMJ 2014