Baumgartner’s Got Nothin’ On Charrette*

The English Channel

On this Saltcast, further evidence of the infiltration of Radiolab into the ears of new radio producers.

Matt Kielty interviewed the guts out of Pat Charrette, a 60-year-old woman who attempted an English Channel swim in 2008. Pat was a great talker and Matt thought assembling the story would be a cinch — until he listened to the tape. That’s when he realized he needed more than just good interview tape to tell the story. He needed sound. But there wasn’t any. No one recorded Pat’s swim. So, Matt did the next best thing. He “designed” sound.

Happy listening!


PS – On a completely unrelated note, be sure to listen to Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, the radio program based on the book of the same title.


*It’s quite possible the Salt story featured on this Saltcast could win an award for “Most Obscure Title.” ‘Baumgartner’ is a reference to Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver. In 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel. ‘Charrette’ is a reference to 60-year-old Pat Charrette from Westbrook, Maine who swam the English Channel in 2008.


  1. 2 Responses to “Baumgartner’s Got Nothin’ On Charrette*”

  2. By Todd Melby on Jun 2, 2011

    Great piece! I’m a swimmer and radio producer. I could totally imagine myself slogging through the water with France in sight. And failing.

  3. By Emily on Jun 5, 2012

    I really enjoyed this story. Yes, totally RadioLab, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

    And good news – according to her blog, Pat successfully swam the English Channel on August 22, 2011 and plans to take on the Tsugaru Strait in Japan in September 2012.

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