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19 | Pre-Midterm Ramblings

Your host goes solo in an episode recorded about two days before the Midterms. It's a quick one, mostly to share several great stories, columns, and radio or podcast work by people who are focused on the ways that media and politics interact in America under Trump. Listen and visit the website for a list of links to that work, along with a suggestion for music at times when you need a break from politics. Related LinksNew York Magazine article on young people likely to not vote Longform...


18 | Gretchen Rubin: Habits and Happiness

Gretchen Rubin is a one-woman media empire. She has published several books, many of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Her award-winning podcast has been downloaded more than 40 million times. She’s also conquered several other new media spheres, ranging from her blog and buzzing, video-rich Facebook presence to a new online course. In addition, she’s been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and hung out with the Dalai Lama. All of these accomplishments prove the value readers and...

17 | Rick Berlin: Music, Memoir, and Building Community

Boston-based pianist and songwriter Rick Berlin recently published The Paragraphs, a revealing and funny memoir of a life's journey that included dropping acid at Yale in the 1960s and encounters with the likes of Meat Loaf, Frank Zappa, and Patti Smith. But rather than dwell on his brushes with fame, Berlin focuses his series of linked essays on self-knowledge, making art, and a life devoted to the power of friendship and community. In our conversation, in addition to mentioning some of...


16 | Mu-Chieh Yun and Iliana Panameño: Elevating Women of Color

Mu-Chieh Yun and Iliana Panameño founded We, Ceremony in 2015, years after they met in Boston as elementary school students. As women of color who had experienced marginalization and prejudice, they wanted to create a digital storytelling platform that celebrates and empowers other women of color. Since launching, We Ceremony has featured dozens of women through profiles and interviews, fostered a robust social media presence, published an ebook, and hosted a series of public forums. Yun...


15 | Hal Brooks: Guiding New Plays

Brooklyn-based theater director Hal Brooks has long had a focus on stewarding new plays. In this episode, Brooks talks about working with playwrights such as Don Delillo, involving audiences in the development of new plays, and Rachel Maddow's storytelling rabbinical qualities. Brooks has been artistic director of the Cape Cod Theatre Project since 2012 and associate artistic director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference since 2010. Among the plays he has directed on and off Broadway are...


14 | Nona Hendryx: Music and the Modern Pencil

The songwriter, performer, and multifaceted artist Nona Hendryx refers to herself as a "grazer." She says this because her wide-ranging interests in music taste and technology are also characteristic of her approach to art and life in general. Hendryx's open-minded ethic comes through during this interview, as she talks about her work in music, education, radio, activism, and other spheres. She uses the term "modern pencil" to stress the importance of analog thinking in a world filled with...


13: Solo | Family Questions, Podcast Movement

In this solo podcast episode, your host, Rob Hochschild, talks about the Podcast Movement conference, his goals for podcasting, and a personal story that led directly to a career path of journalism, communications, and podcasting. There's also a number of podcast recommendations in the show—and additional ones listed below—for all of you who are hungry to discover great audio content. In this episode, you'll learn about some highlights and takeaways from PM18, in Philadelphia, and hear how...


Carolyn Wilkins: Telling an African American Family’s Hidden Story

Musician Carolyn Wilkins has had an impressive career as a jazz pianist and bandleader, but she was compelled to apply her creative talents in a new direction—writing—after her family griot died. She not only learned why her grandfather left his high-ranking position in Eisenhower’s Labor Department, but uncovered a number of other revelatory stories about her family’s past and made connections to how these ancestors contributed to her own identity. In this episode, Wilkins talks about...


Ryan Walsh: Van Morrison and Boston in 1968

When historians talk about the importance of 1968 in U.S. history, Boston isn't necessarily the first city that they discuss. But thanks to a new book by Ryan H. Walsh, readers have a chance to learn about some of the ways the national tumult manifested in Massachusetts. Walsh's primary focus is on Van Morrison and how he spent several pivotal months of his young career working on a set of songs while living in Cambridge. But the book, Astral Weeks: A Secret History, also tells the story of...


Julio Ricardo Varela | Part 2: Puerto Rico Death Count

In the second part of a conversation with journalist/editor/podcaster Julio Ricardo Varela, he talks about covering the controversy around estimates of deaths relating to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (1:00), challenges of being a journalist during the Trump era (15:00) media reports around the Junot Diaz sexual allegations (19:30); balancing hard news and humanity on the In the Thick podcast (25:00); and advice for the next generation of journalists (30:00).


Julio Ricardo Varela: News and Politics from the Latino Perspective

Julio Ricardo Varela began his journalism career working alongside sportswriters like Bob Ryan, Leigh Montville, and Bud Collins but returned to the field years later as a news reporter and multi-media journalist. A Puerto Rico native, Varela was an early adopter of social media platforms and remembers that period as his version of J-school. After founding, he began working with award-winning journalist, author, and PBS host Maria Hinojosa, for Latina USA and Futuro Media....


Adam and Arlie Hochschild: Empathy in Nonfiction

After meeting in 1960, Arlie and Adam Hochschild bonded around common ideals and activism, beginning a partnership that led to marriage, family, and, so far, a combined total of nearly 20 books. Their most recent—Arlie's Strangers in Their Own Land and Adam's Spain in Our Hearts—are must-reads for today's political watchers, focusing, respectively, on Tea Party voters in Louisiana and American journalists and fighters who chose to cover or join the Spanish Civil War. During our conversation...


Steve Morse: Writing about Rock

Steve Morse has interviewed and written about some of the biggest names in music, including Bob Marley, Bono, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. In this episode, the Boston Globe rock critic talks about the highlights of his decades-long career. During a conversation in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home, Morse talked about: Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and London in 1969 (1:30); early days of rock criticism (5:00); writing on deadline (7:00); roster of interviewees (10:30); Bob Marley in NYC...


Beth Schwartzapfel: Covering Criminal Justice

Journalist Beth Schwartzapfel has been covering the criminal justice system for more than a decade, with an emphasis on telling the human stories of prisoners that are often overlooked. She is an award-winning reporter and staff writer at the Marshall Project, and her work has also appeared in publications such as The American Prospect and the New York Times. During our 2017 conversation, Schwartzapfel talked about her beginnings in journalism (4:00); a college-prison collaboration in...


Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich: The Fact of a Body

In a conversation about her book, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich discusses how writing about the case of a convicted pedophile and murderer compelled her to reexamine her assessments of the legal system and her memories of abuse in her family. During the 2017 interview, Marzano-Lesnevich talks about connections between storytelling and the law (3:00); structuring and editing her book (8:00); embracing contradiction in the book's narratives and...


Julie Shapiro: Radiotopia, Podcasting, and the Art of Creative Audio

When Radiotopia executive producer Julie Shapiro talks about podcasting, you leave with the impression that we should all look at listening as a sacred act. Shapiro has long been one of the world’s most innovative leaders in the art of audio storytel...


Doug Glanville: Sports and Society

Having studied engineering at an Ivy League school before becoming a major league baseball outfielder, Doug Glanville sometimes thought about angles, vectors, and ballistics between pitches. He’s taken the idea of the cerebral athlete to even greater levels, post-career, as a New York Times columnist and a sports commentator whose analysis touches on society, psychology, race, and other ideas. During a conversation shortly after he left ESPN in 2017, Glanville talks about being an Ivy...


Billy Bragg on Skiffle and Music as Resistance

Influenced as much by punk as folk music, England’s great singer/songwriter Billy Bragg has always placed politics and social activism at the center of his creative life. Bragg has a new book out about the history and impact of skiffle: Roots, Radicals, and Rockers.He paused during his book tour to talk about why he wrote the book (1:00); examples of genre mixing in music that don’t qualify as cultural appropriation (2:50); hip-hop as the musical language of today (5:15); music as...


A New Podcast: The Media Narrative

In this short introductory episode, you'll learn about the mission of The Media Narrative, a new interview podcast focusing on authors, artists, journalists and others who are shaping the public conversation. You'll also hear clips from a few upcoming episodes.