Whad'Ya Know?

One of the things I really looked forward to attending when we moved to Madison was getting to a broadcast of Whad' Ya Know?

I did in January, 2013, but at the time I was suffering the effects of sciatica down my left leg. So, while I enjoyed the two hour show the pain took away from some of the fun.

In early March this year, Wisconsin Public Radio announced they were cancelling the long-running interactive radio quiz.

Maybe 31 years was too much... I don't know.  It's one of my favorite programs on public radio and was frequently part of my Saturday mornings.

Just five shows were left while we waited for the clock to count down to 10:00 Central Daylight Time.

Host Michael Feldman is a Wisconsin guy.  Friendly and nice.  He's funny with a dry and sarcastic sense of humor.  In an early book he wrote about what it was like growing up Jewish while surrounded by jar grippers embossed with the logo of Aid Association for Lutherans.  He gets the state and the people who live here.

Before the show there are coffee and doughnuts for the audience.  He headed down for a little go-juice and a doughnut with the rest of us.  (I got a picture, but it's too blurry for this space.)

A little before 10, Michael came out to chat with the audience and prepare us for our big part.  When it started, he offered some wry observations before pausing to ask, "Whad'ya know?"

That's our cue, "Not much!  You?"

There's his humorous take on the news "that isn't" and he took calls from the audience which turned into good - natured laughs with the callers.

An interlude of Jazz music with John Thulin and Jeff Hamann gives a breather for the host before he wades into the audience to answer some questions we wrote down on 4 x 6 cards before the show.

Then it's time to play the quiz.  A member of the audience gets an opportunity to tell Michael why they deserve to play the quiz, and then joins him on stage while someone in radio-land calls in to join the fun.

If you get on stage, you are going home with a prize.  Michael won't tell anyone the answer, but finds ways of moving the deliberating partners to the right answer.

Andrew, a landscaper at the University of Wisconsin (right), and his tag-team partner got all three questions right.

In the second hour, Michael's phone interview with author Micheal Lynch, "The Internet of Us," ran a little long and by the time he got to the quiz there was time for just one question before the clock made it to 11:59:00 and the end of the show.

Michael Feldman isn't retiring, and I expect he'll turn up around the state and hopefully on the air to continue sharing his humor and perspective on the place he calls home.


After the show, Feldman sticks around to meet members of the audience.  That's when the photo (up top) was taken.

He was gracious with his time with me and others.  I told him how much I've loved the show through the years and about my last time in the audience - he said he's had bouts with sciatica too.

After thanking him for the photo (we took just the one), we went our way so others lined up to shake his hand, ask for an autograph, or share a story could do so.

Michael Feldman never received the acclaim Garrison Keillor has for his Prairie Home Companion show.

In the hearts of many, and especially here in the Dairy State - he is one of us, Wisconsin nice all the way, a man who made us smile and makes us laugh.

Thank you, Michael, and good luck in the future!