The Colin McEnroe ShowThe Colin McEnroe Show

The art of the dial: Why we like hotlines and phone calls with strangers

View descriptionShare

Hotlines: whether you realize it or not, you’ve likely used one before. From emergency services to customer service and crisis lines, they often fly under the radar in our daily lives.

This hour, we’ll look at the history of hotlines and then meet some people who have created innovative ways to talk to strangers on the phone: from a hotline for advice from elementary schoolers to an app that calls you to talk.


  • Dr. Lee Humphreys: Professor of Communication at Cornell University

  • Jessica Martin: An artist who leads an art program for West Side Elementary in Healdsburg, California. She’s also the co-creator of the kids-advice hotline, Peptoc

  • Danielle Baskin: An artist who co-created Dialup, a voice-chat app that connects you to strangers

  • Michelle Rorong: An architect in Indonesia who wrote about her experience using Dialup during a COVID-19 quarantine period


  • Peptoc — 707-8PEPTOC

  • Butterball Turkey Talk-Line — 1-800-BUTTERBALL

  • Callin' Oates — 719-26-OATES


Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

The Colin McEnroe Show is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

Subscribe to The Noseletter, an email compendium of merriment, secrets, and ancient wisdom brought to you by The Colin McEnroe Show.

Colin McEnroe, Frankie Graziano, Sabrina Herrera, Jonathan McNicol, Cat Pastor, Lily Tyson, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on May 10, 2023.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Email
  • Download

In 1 playlist(s)

  1. The Colin McEnroe Show

    2,599 clip(s)

The Colin McEnroe Show

The Colin McEnroe Show is public radio’s most eclectic, eccentric weekday program. The best way to u 
Social links
Follow podcast
Recent clips
Browse 2,606 clip(s)