My Top Five - NPR/WHQR Podcasts

Nov 14, 2011

Web Intern John Mortara shares his top five public radio podcasts from NPR and WHQR.

Back in the day, I had always assumed that if I didn't catch my favorite program on-air, well, that was the brakes. But over the course of the last few years, I began to understand how far beyond the airwaves the public radio experience can go. The internet age has definitely redefined radio, and in a lot of ways I think it has for the better. I won't go on and write you a giant wall of text explaining how much I love web content. There is just SO much available to the public radio listener, it's hard not to be excited.

Instead, and in honor of our new website, I'd just like to share some of my recent-ish favorites from NPR and WHQR:

(5) - All Songs Considered, Cry Baby Cry: Songs That Make You Weep

For this week's all-tearjerker episode of All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton took the conversation offline and set up shop in Bob's apartment, armed with some home recording gear, a box of Kleenex and a bottle of wine. Thousands of listeners contributed stories about the music that makes them cry, and while there were some usual suspects — Adele, Sufjan Stevens, and Paul Simon, to name a few — Bob and Robin discovered that a song needn't necessarily be sad to get the waterworks going.


(4) - WHQR Commentary, Roller Derby Grandma by Shane Fernando

It can be a dangerous sport with a great deal of shoving, pushing, and women on skates flying off the track in various directions after losing balance.

(3) - Fresh Air, Astronaut Captain Jerry Lineger

Retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon and NASA astronaut Captain Jerry Linenger talks about the awe and peril of space travel. He spent five months on the Russian Space station Mir and wrote about the account in his book, Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir." He described the Mir as "six school buses all hooked together." During his time there, he says, he and fellow crew members had numerous brushes with death, lacked adequate supplies and battled constant system failures.

(2) - WHQR Commentary, The Check is in the Mail: Dear Recipient by Nan Graham

In our present economic confusion, some letter writers from the Madoff school of business have hit the e-mail for new money-making schemes. Here are some creative scams I've received via e-mail.

(1) - This American Life, 402: "Saves The Day" - I'd Like To Spank The Academy.

For the last 13 years, the University of Montevallo in Alabama has held an event called The Life Raft Debate, where several professors take the stage and each tries to convince the students that his or her discipline—chemistry, say, or communications—is the most essential field of study. But in 2007, a professor named Jon Smith decided that the debate itself needed saving. Producer Nancy Updike tells the story.


What are some of your favorites? Please share below!