What’s Bugging You Finale
After nearly 10 years and more than 400 episodes, What’s Bugging You? has come to an end. Join VPM radio producer Steve Clark and entomologist Dr. Art Evans as they reminisce about the genesis of this insect-inspired radio program and recount some of its highlights.
Art Evans: I'm Dr. Art Evans, entomologist, with Steve Clark and this is What’s Bugging You. Every great partnership has a beginning, middle and end. Steve, what are your recollections of the genesis of What’s Bugging You?
Steve Clark: I'm a facilitator here at the station. Producers called me up on the phone and asked for someone to come in, and Art Evans was one of those. He was going to be talking to a woman who conducts a gardening show, maybe in the state of New York. I was expecting a dry old scientific [laughing] sort of conversation between these two.
Evans: Boy were you disappointed.
Clark: Yeah, and I wasn't really that interested in gardening at that point.
Evans: Or bugs either.
Clark: Bugs, no, certainly not bugs. And for an hour, these two had a wonderful conversation. And I said, “What a wonderful conversationalist this scientist is.” That appealed to me very much. And I started getting interested in what was being said about the bugs, whether they were a pest or beneficial or whatever it happened to be. When the phones were hung up, I said, “We ought to do something.”
Evans: I remember that very clearly. You were looking at me and said, “We need to do something here.” But it didn't happen right away did it?
Clark: No, it took us a few years to kind of . . .
Clark: . . . circle around one another. I'd see you at the Science Museum. Maybe you were doing your Lust In The Dust series or something.
Clark: And afterwards, I said, “We ought to do something.”
Evans: I remember inviting you over for dinner. You brought your recorder with you, and I just gave you a tour around my study and started pulling out drawers of specimens and talking about them.
Clark: Yeah, that was after you gave me a phone call saying, “If we're going to do . . .
Evans: Oh right, that’s right. I did.
Clark: “If we're going to do something, we better just let's do it.” And I said, “Okay”, and carried the recording rig out there. And you know it's not easy to launch into something like this.
Evans: No, it's not. And I was lucky that timing was right at that time, but I remember we did several recordings, and they all aired during membership week almost 10 years ago. What were some of your standout segments that we did over the years?
Clark: Well, one of the top ones had to be, just for the gross effects, the skin-crawling effects, was the botfly.
Evans: Oh yeah.
Clark: It was a botfly that had buried into a dog.
Evans: That's right. One of our listeners is a veterinarian, and he extracted one from the leg of a puppy. [laughing] That was a great picture too.
Clark: Yes, and it's still on our archive. For me, it became not so much the yellow journalism aspect of botflies, but every life cycle of all these, up to that time for me, unknown insects. Now, I couldn't name five I don't think – bee, grasshopper. . .
Evans: Well, you're no different from any of my students [laughing].
Clark: And I probably haven't advanced very far at this point.
Evans: Ah, that's not true. That's not true at all. We also brought in some great guests to talk with us about their projects and their work. Do you remember some of the interviews we did?
Clark: Bob Anderson.
Evans: Bob Anderson. Yeah, he was great.
Clark: He does stand out.
Evans: He does.
Clark: All other names wither and die.
Evans: [laughing] Bob Anderson is the top of your list?
Clark: Yeah, I think so.
Evans: No David George Gordon or Jeff Lockwood?
Clark: Oh, David George Gordon sent me congratulations about my retirement.
Evans: Yeah, your retirement is a big deal. I want to thank you for this opportunity you've given me for nearly 10 years to help spread the word about insects and entomology. This program has expanded my audience tremendously, and I'm very grateful for that. I realize these things don't come together easily. And I so much appreciate everything you've done for me and what you've done for insects and entomology in this part of the world. It's been a lot of fun. It'll be interesting to see what's next for both of us.
Clark: I'm excited to see.
Evans: And I really want to take the opportunity to thank all of our listeners too, who have been so supportive. Who would have thought a three and a half minute show on insects would have taken off like it did? Listeners have been great sending in their photos, questions and positive comments. We couldn't have done it without them.
Clark: This program has not only been educational for me as part of my continuing education, but our relationship has just been delightful - dining at your house, dining out, going places, and enjoying life in and around bugs and not always focused on them. But just the camaraderie has been wonderful.
Evans: And I look forward to that continuing.
Clark: Me too. Who's closing this thing out?
Evans: You are.
Clark: Okay, well for the last time, Dr. Art Evans is a research associate at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. You’ll find photos and audio, links to the museum and Art’s Facebook page and maybe some memories at vpm.org/bugs.