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August 28th, 2007 · No Comments

At the top of my radio/podcast playlist these days are two gems from Public Radio (full disclosure here: I am an NPR nut). They’ve been around for a while, but I’ve only recently discovered them:

The first is a show out of WNYC (NY Public Radio), called RadioLab:


I found this one right before we drove to DC and it really helped with the long drive. It’s a show that’s about Science, mostly —put forth in an entertaining and engaging way. Show topics this season have included: Sleep, Zoos, Memory and Forgetting, Placebos, and Mortality. I’ve never heard a radio show edited in quite the way that this show is. You have to hear it to see what I mean, but it really “pulls you in” by taking you in and out of the studio, into the “field”, and then back to the studio… sometimes several times in a single sentence. The hosts are Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, who have an easy going rapport and offer up an honest and balanced approach to their investigations.

This next one is new to me as well, but looks like it’s been active for over a year. This is a monthly podcast from NPR, called “NPR: Playback“, where they turn the clock back 25 years and remind of us all the great stuff that happened in the 80’s (you’re probably saying, “Huh? the 80s?“). But really, I love this! There’s so much that I’ve forgotten and things that make much more sense to me now (with 25 years of “wisdom” under my belt). The show replays the biggest and best news events, cultural happenings, and political sagas from each month… 25 years ago. It really is wild to hear some of it, such as one of the earliest stories about AIDS, before the disease was even named. Or to hear about the Challenger Shuttle and not hear about it in context of the disaster. There’s one clip about Hurricane Katrina… the one from 1981. I got a real kick out of the story about proposed legislation on banning the wearing of “headphones” from “walman players” when crossing a street. This would be a great show to share with older students and then follow up with research on how the topics relate to the present.


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