One of the luxuries that I afford myself while John is away teaching, is listening to the radio as I fall asleep at night.  I can’t really listen to it during the day because I have to concentrate on school and work, so as a reward in that last hour before I fall asleep, I love to listen to the Dinner Party Download from my bed. This is a light, interesting, funny and entertaining program that imparts a lot of knowledge into a one hour format.

I’m sure there are other ways to find it, and I think you can even pick it up online, but I use the Tunein Radio app on my phone. After the app is open, I click “Talk” then “Arts & Culture” and finally, “Dinner Party Download.”  The program is hosted by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam who have formatted it so that listeners can “win” their dinner parties.  That is, the entire program is much like a dinner party itself.

The show always begins with a corny icebreaker….just some dumb joke told by a celebrity…a one-liner, usually at about a 4th grade level.  After that, listeners hear news headlines for the week.  Then comes a bit of trivia or interesting history.  For instance, last night’s program was about this week back in 1849, when the great gothic horror writer Edgar Allan Poe headed off on his last business trip. What happened after that remains a mystery… except for the fact that he died.

So, after every detailed historical trivia story, listeners are taught how to concoct their  own  appropriate cocktails from  bars that have something to do with the historical story that was just told.   The Poe-related cocktail was from a bar named after his famous poem, Annabell Lee….and the bartender talked about how the cocktail was developed and how to make it.  Each week, it is something different.

The show talks about books, food, films and has great musical guests that select THEIR favorite songs that they deem appropriate to play during a dinner party.  Some of the playlists are great, and I’ve added them to my own iTunes playlists.  The tastes are always eclectic and usually very interesting and good.  Quincy Jones was on a few nights ago, and talked about his idol, Clark Terry.  There are new musicians, old musicians and everything in between.  It is a great way to learn some musical history and to get turned on to some great music that you might not have known about previously.

Mia Wasikowska was on the program talking about her film work.


Steve Martin talked about his endeavors playing the banjo.  Geoffrey Rush was on.  Mads Mikkleson.  The guests are interesting, and they talk about things from unique angles.  It isn’t one of those trite celebrity gossip shows.  The entertainment is pithy and gives in depth looks into these people’s lives and work.

This show is a winner, folks.  I highly recommend it.