There’s a rich crop of podcasts this week! I wont be posting any podcasts next Saturday, so if you hear any good ones I shouldn’t miss, let me know in the comments.
Throughline :: How The CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democracy In 4 Days
The overlooked history of one of the worst crimes ever committed by the United States government.
Hub History :: Apocalypse on Boston Bay
The indigenous population of New England suffered significant casualties from epidemics of infectious disease that swept their communities in the 1620. The colonizing English saw these plagues as the grace of God to their settlement.
Tomorrow Society :: Peggie Farris on 50 Years at Disney and Producing Spaceship Earth
An interview with a remarkable woman who rose from being a ride operator at Disneyland to an influential Imagineer at Disney Parks across the world.
99% Invisible :: National Sword
China has enacted a program to no longer import recycled materials, which means that recycling collected from many US communities no longer is actually being recycled. This podcasts prods consumers to “reduce and reuse” more than they recycle, but also questions placing the burden on the consumer and suggest industry needs to reduce the material created in the first place.
Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Cheech Marin Gets Antsy
Cheech Marin, famed for starring in stoner comedies, now works to bring attention to Chicano art in galleries and museums.
Planet Money: The Indicator :: The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor
The 1937 General Motors strike presaged a highpoint for union membership in the United States and a period of shared prosperity. This podcast discusses how we got from there to today with record low union participation.
The Truth :: Meet Cute
A romantic comedy where one the members of the couple dies before the first date. There’s a lot of clever twists in this story.
Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:
Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Emergency Alert System
I’ve always had an fascination for those tests of the Emergency Broadcast System. I taped one off the radio as a kid, I actually did them as a college radio DJ, and about 20 years ago I heard one that was NOT a test (warning for intense thunderstorms, which was both a relief and a bit underwhelming). Here is the story behind how they work.
Planet Money :: The Blue Pallet
Pallets are ubiquitous, overlooked, and seemingly hard to improve. This is the story of how CHEP pallets revolutionized the industry. My wife writes about pallets and her enthusiasm is infectious, so I loved this story.
The Nation – Start Making Sense :: It’s Time to Break Up Amazon
Reporting on the dangers of Amazon’s monopoly powers, as well as how mandatory non-compete agreements have helped corporations keep low-wage workers from getting better jobs.
Slate’s Hit Parade :: The Year Rap Music Broke
1986 is a significant year in rap music history, mainly due to RUN-DMC’s crossover hit “Walk this Way” which inadvertently helped revive the fortunes of the rock band Aerosmith (I was one of the kids who knew RUN-DMC well, but never heard of Aerosmith before their collaboration). Chris Molanphy tells the story of Def Jam Recordings, founded by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, and how in 1986 they unleashed not only RUN-DMC’s hit album Raising Hell, but also Radio by one of rap’s first solo acts with wide appeal, LL Cool J, and Licensed to Ill by the bratty white kids the Beastie Boys. Molanphy doesn’t end the story in 1986 though, but follows the ongoing careers of all four acts.
Hidden Brain :: E Pluribus Unum?
Democracy is resilient and will buoyed by the conflict of our times.
Slow Burn :: How Watergate Turned America into a Nation of Conspiracy Theorists
Turns out that one, high-level conspiracy is enough to convince people that all sorts of things are plausible.
All Songs Considered :: Our Top Discoveries from globalFEST 2018
Every year I hear the highlights from globalFEST and think “I should try to go next year.” Then I forget. Until then I can always listen to the great music on this podcast.
Radio Boston :: Accusations Against Aziz Ansari Spur Conversation Around Sexual Misconduct, #MeToo
An interesting conversation about positive consent.
I was impressed listening to former big league catcher and current MLB manager Mike Matheny discuss the culture of youth sports, the subject of his new book The Matheny Manifesto. He also had some fascinating stories of his major league experience and concussions. It actually made me like a St. Louis Cardinal!
I just started following a new podcast bringing my total number of subscription up to 60! (Yes, I know I have a problem, but I don’t listen to every single episode).
Code Switch is an NPR project featuring discussions about race and identity, an interesting and important, albeit challenging topic.
So far there are two episodes: #1 discusses whiteness and #2 is about black and brown people being outdoorsy.
Check it out!
The Podcast of the Week from
ProPublica strikes close to home as we’re dealing with serious underfunding of urban school districts in Massachusetts while other communities have invested in creating some of the top public schools in the nation. Sadly this is a problem throughout all of the United States.
For more on the issue follow the NPR School Money series
Author: Jessica Abel
Title: Out on the wire : the storytelling secrets of the new masters of radio
Publication Info: New York : Broadway Books, 2015.
I received this as a free book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.
Out on the Wire is a comic book about the production of NPR radio shows and podcasts, or perhaps the nerdiest thing I’ve ever read. Through the graphic art medium, Abel details her interviews, observations, and storytelling processes of the creators of This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, and Snap Judgment. For lack of a better term, these programs are called “narrative journalism” and storytelling is central to all of these shows. I’m a big fan of all of these podcasts and it is fun to see comic representations of the faces behind the voices (not to mention learning how to spell Chana Joffe-Walt). Abel’s approach is an effective way of using art to create a documentary.
Recommended books: Feynman by Jim Ottaviani, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.
Rating: *** 1/2
Young Fathers is a hip-hop trio from Edinburgh, Scotland. Their sound is described as psychedelic with comparisons to De La Soul (which is a good group to compared to imo), but I found their sound unique with classic soul and electronic sounds strengthening the mix. Check out “Low” below, the track brought to my attention by the most recent episode of All Songs Considered.
If you have a new sound you’d like to share, let me know below in the comments.
Fennesz is electronic artist Christian Fennesz of Vienna, Austria. “The Liar” is a track that is a pure aural attack that affects some other senses as well. I learned about it through NPR’s All Songs Considered.
What’s buzzing in your ears this week? Let me know in the comments.