Theme Time Radio Hour Season Two

Theme Time Radio Hour Season Two

Season Two of "Theme Time Radio Hour" began on September 19, 2007 and ended April 2, 2008. Following are Season 2 highlights:

The Missing Shows of Season 2

In early September 2007, XM Radio announced the return of TTRH, beginning September 19. The press release read in part..."Future shows will center on such motifs as "Young & Old," "California," "Dreams," "Fruit," "Something," "Nothing," "Streets," "Parties" and "Mail..." The highlighted shows were not aired during Season 2.

Caller on Line 2

The theme of the first episode of Season 2 was "Hello." As in Season 1, Ellen Barkin opened the show, announcing the "Hello" episode with the lines: "It’s night time in the big city. Something isn’t quite right. Nobody will answer the phone"."

The show followed the same general format as Season 1, and introduced a new segment that would continue intermittently through the season, the "Caller on Line 2" (occasionally on "Line 3" and "Line 6"). This was a comedy segment featuring a listener call, supposedly as Dylan broadcast the show live from "Studio B." In this first call, a "Rob Harrison" requested that Dylan play The Doors, "Hello, I Love You." Dylan politely demured.

Battle of the TTRH CDs

In early October 2007, [ ISIS magazine] announced its release of "The Best of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour," an unauthorized 2-CD compilation featuring selections - out of copyright in the United Kingdom - from the TTRH Season 1 playlist. In apparent response, the U.K. label, Ace Records released its own TTRH 2-CD compilation, "Theme Time Radio Hour with Your Host, Bob Dylan," in March, 2008, publicizing its set as "authorized," and compiled with the involvement of TTRH producer, Eddie Gorodetsky and Dylan manager, Jeff Rosen. In the summer of 2008, ISIS magazine released "The Best of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour: Volume 2." As with the first compilation, "Volume 2" is a 2-CD set containing 52 selections from Season One of TTRH. The Ace set features a broader - and a better representative - mix of music from TTRH than either of the ISIS compilations, including selections from The White Stripes and The Clash.

None of the sets include any commentary from Dylan or other material from Theme Time Radio Hour.

Commercial Affiliations

During the "Days of the Week" show broadcast in October 2007, Dylan received a supposed email from listener, "Jackie Vann." who writes in part, "...what is your take on Sheryl Crow using Buddy Holly's great Not Fade Away for a TV hair dye commercial? I felt the most awful, stinging disappointment when I first heard it. I felt betrayed by Crow, as I'm almost sure Buddy would have. He was such a stickler for controlling his own material. I can't imagine his liking this commercial adaptation"." Dylan responded with a list of artists "proud of commercial affiliation," including Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmie Rodgers, and himself.

Later in October 2007, the Cadillac luxury car and SUV division of General Motors and XM Radio released a cross-promotional advertising campaign featuring Bob Dylan and Theme Time Radio Hour. Elements of the campaign included Dylan appearing in a television commercial for the 2008 Cadillac Escalade hybrid, and a TTRH episode dedicated to the theme, "Cadillac." As could be expected, Dylan's participation was greeted with almost universal criticism from both the mainstream press and Web commentators.

Cadillac and XM Radio also published [ a web page] featuring a promotional version of the first half of the TTRH "Cadillac" show.

The Theme Time Radio Hour Poster

In late October 2007, the pop-culture web site BoingBoing posted an article on a promotional poster TTRH producer Eddie Gorodetsky commissioned from artist/illustrator Jaime Hernandez. Each of the scenes illustrated in the poster refer to Ellen Barkin's "It's Night in the Big City," introductions from Season 1 of TTRH. Fan Simon Nielsen (aka "ukulele.elvis") would later create a multimedia walkthrough of the TTRH poster, using Ellen Barkin's introductions as the voiceover. The walkthrough was also featured on BoingBoing, and Nielsen received a congratulatory email from XM Chief Creative Officer, Lee Abrams, on his initiative.

The poster was available as a free high-resolution download at from October 2007 through July 2008. However, that link was discontinued upon the relaunch of the site on July 29, 2008. [ A print version of the poster is being offered] to the first 5,000 people to order any one of the three "Bootleg Series Volume 8: Tell Tale Sign"s packages being sold through the site.

Leftovers Again?

To the disappointment of many fans, the "Halloween" episode for Season 2 was a re-run from Season 1, rather than original programming. Season 2 would include two other Season 1 re-runs, both also holiday shows - the "Thanksgiving Leftovers" show and the "Christmas/New Years" episode. As Season 2 began midway through the month of September, it would not be until January 2008 before TTRH would air a complete month of original programming.

TTRH On and Off AOL Radio

In November 2007, AOL Radio removed XM Radio's "Deep Tracks" station from its free online playlist. An XM Radio representative responded to an email inquiry that AOL Radio rotated XM Radio channels, and that the "Deep Tracks" channel could be expected to eventually return. The channel did reappear on the AOL Radio playlist in January 2008, but later in the year XM Radio announced that it was ending its relationship with AOL Radio and that no XM Radio channels would be available through AOL Radio after April 30, 2008.

Notable Shows

In October 2007, TTRH aired the series' long-promised "Classic Rock" episode, with the music featuring rocks of the mineral sort. Later that year TTRH would do a second "Countdown" show, with all-new material, the series first theme to cross two seasons.

In February 2008, The "President's Day" episode was a surprise two-hour show. It showcased both music with a "presidential" theme as well as music relating to earlier themes, similar to the "Thanksgiving Leftovers" and "Spring Cleaning" shows from Season One. Dylan remarked in explanation that Theme Time Radio Hour was "having a President's Day Sale" of music that hadn't been included in their original theme shows.

Two themes extended over two weeks: "Around the World" Parts 1 and 2, and "Birds" and "More Birds."

Starbucks and "Tim Ziegler"

During the "Lock & Key" show broadcast in January 2008, Dylan lectured a supposed telephone caller, "Tim Ziegler", arguing that Theme Time Radio Hour "isn't a classroom," after Ziegler complained that Dylan had gotten a record label wrong. Later in the year, the Starbucks coffee house chain released a Bob Dylan "Artist's Choice" CD, featuring music chosen by Dylan. The credits noted that the compilation was produced by "Tim Ziegler."

Abrupt End to Season 2?

In March 2008, Lee Abrams, XM Radio Chief Creative Officer and the person who brought Dylan to the station, announced that he was moving to a new job at the Tribune Company beginning April 1, 2008. Also that month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had approved the buyout of XM Radio by Sirius Satellite Radio, removing one major roadblock to the proposed merger which was eventually completed in late July 2008.

While apparently unrelated to those announcements, Bob Dylan closed the "Cold" show on April 2, 2008 with the news that it was the last show of Season 2, noting that "...This is our final show of the season. We’re gonna go away for a little while, but not for too long. Just long enough to look for some more themes and records to go along with them. In the meantime, you try to stay warm. Be careful, 'cause I’ll be counting heads when we come back for Season 3. You better be there! See you soon."

According to an update on the XM Radio site in October 2008, the premiere episode of Season Three - "Money: Part 1" - will air on the XMX channel all day beginning at 12 a.m. ET on Wednesday, October 8, 2008. Season Three of Theme Time Radio Hour will also air in its normal time slots on "Deep Tracks" (Channel 40) and "The Village" (Channel 15).

There has been some fan speculation in online forums that Season Two came to an unplanned, early close possibly caused by Abrams departure, the Sirius merger, or some other, unknown reason. Supporters of this theory point to the facts that Season One had aired 50 original shows broadcast over a year; that unlike Season One there was no pre-announcement of the final show of Season Two; that announced Season Two shows never aired; and that Dylan's closing statement appeared to be a last-minute addition, as no closing credits were read.

On the other hand, Season Two of TTRH had exactly half - 25 - of the original shows broadcast in Season One. Season Two also ended almost six months to the day after beginning, and Season Three is starting almost exactly six months after the close Season Two. All this lends credence to the theory that after a successful first season, the Theme Time Radio Hour producers negotiated a new contract requiring less original material and fewer episodes than Season One.


September 19, 2007

September 26, 2007

October 3, 2007

October 10, 2007

October 17, 2007

October 24, 2007

October 31, 2007A repeat of last year's Halloween episode.

November 7, 2007

November 14, 2007

November 21, 2007 A repeat of last year's Thanksgiving episode.

November 28, 2007

December 5, 2007

December 12, 2007

December 19, 2007 A repeat of last year's two-hour Christmas and New Years episode.

January 2, 2008

January 9, 2008

January 17, 2008

January 23, 2008

January 30, 2008

February 6, 2008

February 13, 2008

February 20, 2008

February 27, 2008

March 5, 2008

March 12, 2008

March 19, 2008

March 26, 2008

April 2, 2008

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