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The Saturday Special airs every Saturday at 3pm on Ideas Network stations and web streams.
This special hour allows us to bring you interesting, unusual and often provocative programs selected from stations and producers from
around the world. Some programs are just a single hour, while others present a short series of related programs.
December 25, 2010
Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites
This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
November 20 - December 18, 2010
The Promised Land
A public radio show about leaders and visionaries who are transforming lives and communities.
December 18 - Nalini Nadkarni
Pioneering researcher and "queen of the forest canopy" Nalini Nadkarni, shows host Majora Carter the wonders of the Olympic rain forest — from the treetops! And the two visit a correctional facility where Nalini’s innovative Moss Project employs a team of prisoners turned botanists.
December 11 - Audrey and Frank Peterman
If they have their way, many more of their fellow black Americans will visit our national parks. They take host Majora Carter to Yosemite, where she crawls through a hundred-foot cave and meets Yosemite’s only permanent black park ranger.
December 4 - Brenda Palms Barber
She wasn’t always drawn to beekeeping. But her quest to find work for residents of Chicago’s economically disadvantaged North Lawndale neighborhood — where some 50 percent of adults have been in the criminal justice system — led her to start Sweet Beginnings, a transitional jobs program for formerly incarcerated individuals and others with significant barriers to employment.
November 27 - Winona LaDuke
Outspoken, engaging, and unflaggingly dedicated to matters of ecological sustainability, Winona LaDuke introduces host Majora to the pine forests, lakes, and windswept plains of the White Earth Reservation; and she talks about harnessing wind power, nutrition and diabetes, preserving heritage crops, and a mandate to protect the land inherited from her ancestors.
November 20 - John Francis
Decades ago, in response to an oil spill off the coast of California, John Francis made a vow to give up riding in motor vehicles, and stepped out on a walk. And he kept on walking for the next 22 years. Wherever he went, he carried a message of respect for the Earth — silently for 17 of those years. We get to know this man who has raised awareness and changed minds globally, a man who, no surprise here, chooses his words carefully — a man who has dedicated his life to saving the planet one step at a time.
November 13, 2010
The State of the Re:Union The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sending our veterans home with wounds and obstacles not always clearly visible to the rest of the country. These two current wars also illuminate how veterans of previous eras are still trying to come home years after returning from war. In this episode, State of the Re:Union explores how veterans are serving each other after they come back home from serving the country. The State of the Re:Union is produced by Al Letson, and presented by PRX and NPR.
October 23 - November 6, 2010
Pop + Politics with Farai Chideya is a three-part series about the 2010 midterm elections, looking beyond the horserace to get to the real issues, fears, and beliefs that motivate voters. Chideya looks at hot-button issues such as race, immigration and economics. She presses politicians in battleground states for answers and turns to real people, on their turf, to ask if they think America is headed in the right direction. Also examined is the undercurrent of vitriol present in American political discourse, and Chideya will explore how America can move forward, post-election, towards reconciliation. Pop + Politics with Farai Chideya includes a truly diverse spectrum of people in the conversations of our times.
November 6 - The New Map: America, Redrawn and Reconceived
Immediately following the midterm elections, Chideya and guests will analyze the resulting new political map. They'll look for connections and trends, drawing on everything from the 2010 Census to themes in pop culture. Chideya and her team will also discuss what may lie ahead for politicians and private citizens alike.
October 30 - New Voters, New Challenges
We look at immigration and jobs, and check in with first time voters from 2008 to see if they're still engaged. With the passage of the state's controversial immigration bill earlier this year, Arizona is at center of the immigration debate. From Phoenix to Yuma to the tribal lands of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which span both the U.S. and Mexico , we talk to real people about their hopes, fears and anxiety.
October 23 - Rage, Race and Reconciliation
We go to Florida to talk to real people about the ways the American Dream is colliding with reality, and what it means in the voting booth. You'll hear from Colonel Allen West, a black Tea Party candidate, residents of a historic black community where the land has been contaminated by industrial toxins, who say business and politicians have abandoned them, Muslim-Americans in Gainesville where a canceled Koran burning reminds them of everyday biases, and in Miami from victors and victims of the foreclosure crisis.
September 25 - October 16, 2010
returns this fall for an eighth broadcast season. Radiolab is an investigation. Each program is a patchwork of people, sounds, stories and experiences centered around One Big Idea. On Radiolab, science bumps into culture... information sounds like music.
October 16 - "Falling"
There are so many ways to fall-in love, asleep, even flat on your face. This hour, Radiolab dives into stories of great falls. We jump into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, upend some myths about falling cats, and plunge into our favorite songs about falling.
October 9 - " TBA "
October 2 – "Words"
It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago.
September 25 - "Oops"
You come up with a great idea. You devise a plan. You control for every imaginable variable. And once everything?s in place, the train hops your carefully laid tracks. In this hour of Radiolab, unintended consequences abound: from a psychologist whose zeal to safeguard national security may have created a terrorist...to a community whose efforts to protect an endangered bird had deadly consequences.
September 18, 2010
In this episode from American Radioworks, a good teacher can be the key to a child's success in school. And so the push is on to find better teachers, and fire bad ones. But what do we really know about what good teaching is?
September 11, 2010
There's a deep rift in American society. We see it when we argue about what kids should learn in school. In this episode from American Radioworks, the story of one county where the battle for the hearts and minds of America's children erupted in violence.
August 7 - September 4, 2010
State of the Re:Union
Winner of the Public Radio Talent Quest, host Al Letson takes you on a journey of the new Americana. In each episode, State of the Re:UNION (SOTRU) travels to a different American city or town and asks the questions; What makes community? Who are the people who bring it together? What are the issues they face? With music, poetry, interviews, and contributions from local residents of the featured area, SOTRU is a unique audio experience.
September 4 - "New Orleans - The Big Easy"
The city of New Orleans is as proud of its traditions as it is steeped in them. But since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the city and its residents have been thrust into new relationships with those very traditions they hold so dear. SOTRU visits the Big Easy and explore how the city is negotiating that tension between the old and the new ? from race relations to po boys to combating crime ? five years after the storm.
August 28 - "Oakridge - A Work in Progress"
Back in the timber industry?s heyday, the small mill town of Oakridge, Oregon was thriving. Business was booming. Then in the early 1990s, the saws stopped. The mills shut down and their economies crumbled. SOTRU surveys how a town that has lost its identity reinvents itself through recreation, community-building, and entrepreneurial spirit.
August 21 - "Milwaukee - City of Vision"
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, once referred to as "America's Machine Shop," has suffered a similar fate to other rust-belt cities. But despite the decline of some of its industries, passionate, hard-working citizens are changing this manufacturing mecca into a city of ideas. This episode of SOTRU explores the depth and viability of some of Milwaukee's most surprising community projects, and a people of unwavering resolve.
August 14 - "Greensburg - To the Stars through Difficulties"
One night in May of 2007, a tornado wiped Greensburg, Kansas, off the map. The town's residents have decided to not only resurrect the town, but to rebuild in a true spirit of renewal. SOTRU examines the profound devastation and the rigors and rewards of this innovative rebirth."
August 7 - "Brooklyn - Change Happens"
Brooklyn is New York's most populous borough. Ever evolving, Brooklyn has been celebrated as everything from a bastion of industry to a refuge for immigrants from around the world. This episode of SOTRU charts Brooklyn evolution, celebrates the diverse communities and explores both sides of the dilemma that high-rise condos and gentrification has brought.
July 3- July 31, 2010
The Moth Radio Hour
When was the last time somebody told you a really good story? The Moth Radio Hour is old-fashioned storytelling on modern topics. Each episode presents a selection of the very best stories from The Moth, which has been staging live storytelling shows since 1997. >The Moth Radio Hourfeatures true stories told live on-stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment. Each Moth Radio Hour mixes humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant tales that captivate, surprise, and delight audiences with their honesty, bravery, and humor.
A retired felon remembers his tenure in pickpocket school; a Mormon virgin gives us an episode of No-Sex in the City; and the victim of a random stabbing has his day in court. Hosted by The Moth's Executive and Creative Director, Lea Thau.
The editor-in-chief of French Vogue rents a haunted flat in Paris; a man takes his wife on a final motorcycle ride; legendary rapper Darryl "DMC" McDaniels admits his Sarah McLachlan obsession; and a high school sophomore is put to the test when he comes out of the closet. Hosted by The Moth's Producing Director, Sarah Austin Jenness.
A man in a mid-life crisis takes a terrifying parachute jump; an Iraq war veteran comes out of the closet; a daughter "pulls the plug" on her ailing father; a fireman tries to save two children; and a would-be Romeo laments the agony of platonic love. Hosted by The Moth's Senior Producer, Jenifer Hixson.
Geneticist Paul Nurse, a Nobel Laureate, learns the shocking truth about his origins; a nine-alarm blaze in Boston's Chinatown teaches a daughter about her father's wisdom; and a cop makes an erroneous ID on a stakeout. Hosted by The Moth's Artistic Director, Catherine Burns.
A prisoner in a small town lock-up gets sprung on a promise; a man desperate for a cure for depression travels to Africa to try a tribal remedy; and novelist/screenwriter Richard Price ("Clockers," "Lush Life," "The Wire") gets a lesson in interrogation in the back of a NYC cop car. Hosted by The Moth's Founder, George Dawes Green.
June 5 - 26, 2010
The Really Big Questions hosted by NPR's Lynn Neary
June 26 - "Can science explain why we believe?"
Go practically anywhere on this planet, and you’ll likely find a place where people worship. For as long there have been humans, we’ve felt the need to venerate certain special beings, objects, and ideas. Today’s evolutionary biologists see a signature feature that raises a really big question: Can science explain why we believe?
June 19 - "How do we face our own mortality?"
Death is a fact of life, an absolute and unavoidable certainty. Yet we don’t want to believe it will happen to us or those we cherish. NPR's Lynn Neary wonders if we are psychologically and physiologically equipped to deal with constant reminders of death. This leads to a really big question: How do we face our own mortality?
June 12 - "What is consciousness?"
What is the self… the soul? How are they related to the brain, language, and culture? The modern idea of a conscious self underlies our concept of the human person, yet there is very little scientific consensus on a definition. Lynn Neary talks with scientists and philosophers, and asks a really big question: What is consciousness?
June 5 - "How do emotions shape our worldview?"
The nature and meaning of emotions have been debated since Plato, yet no single definition seems sufficient. Lynn Neary interviews some of today's great thinkers and asks a really big question: How do emotions shape our worldview?
May 1 - 29, 2010
Radio Lab Season 7
May 29th - "Who Are You"
This hour centers around a chilling question: can you ever really know the people around you? Even those most dear to you--your mother, your child, your loved one--can you ever really know what they are thinking, feeling, or experiencing? Or is it all just a leap of faith? In this episode of Radiolab, we talk to neuroscientists, primatologists, zookeepers, actors, and dog owners, who are all trying to get inside another’s mind.
May 22nd - "Famous Tumors"
This hour of Radiolab is dedicated to tumors. It may sound like a grim topic, but what we find when we look closely at these anatomical aberrations, are fascinating tales of evolution, immortality, and even…maybe…God? We’ll hear about a tumor that changes modern science, and the tragic untold story of the woman attached to that tumor. We’ll witness terrifying contagious tumors, tumors that bring joy, and tumors that bring ecstasy. And Robert will try to touch, literally touch, the tumor that killed President Ulysses S. Grant.
May 15th - "Limits"
How much can you jam into a human brain? How far can you push yourself past feelings of exhaustion? In this hour of Radiolab, we examine human limits. We talk to Ironman tri-athletes and hear the memorable tale of a man who couldn’t forget. Are we limited by the size of our brain and the strength of our muscles - or will there always be a way to push ourselves just a little bit further? And what about human comprehension? As science barrels forward, will we reach the limit of human understanding?
May 8th - "Lucy"
Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes. We take a look at what happens when we all try to live together. Our main story is the haunting tale of a chimp named Lucy. When Lucy was only two days old she was adopted by a psychologist and his wife who wondered: if given the right environment, how human could Lucy become? This story and other tales of radical sharing between humans and the creatures on earth most like us.
May 1st - "Animal Minds"
When we gaze into the eyes of a wild animal, or even a beloved pet, can we ever really know what they might be thinking? Is it naive to assume they're experiencing something close to human emotions. In this hour of Radiolab, we explore what science can say about what goes on in the minds of animals. Guests include: a humpback whale, Paul Thoreaux, camels, Jonah Lehrer, and a bloodthirsty leopard seal.
April 24th, 2010
In this program listeners will meet a wind power expert from Brussels, and visit the world’s largest solar tower in Spain and hear reports on a wide range of green technologies being developed around the country.
From Massachusetts - turning cooking oil into fuel for driving; From Michigan - making fuel from Algae; From Virginia - pumped hydroelectric storage; From North Carolina - development of a new efficient electricity grid; From California - nanotechnology to improve LED's.
April 17th, 2010
The coal and power industries want you to know about "clean coal," but environmentalists say there’s no such thing. This documentary will dig into those claims, and take your listeners on a journey from their light switch back to America’s coal fields.
We start at Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Lab; visit a coal-burning power generating station; go down into a coal mine in downstate Illinois; travel to the rural counties of West Virginia where mountaintop mining is pulling on the state’s social fabric; and take a closer look at the technologies that promise to deliver coal into the new green economy.
The Environment Report’s documentary explores the effects of coal in our lives and in the lives of those who depend on coal for a living.
April 10th, 2010
Backstory: Our Civic Duties - A History of Taxes
Since 1765, when England imposed the Stamp Act… its first direct tax on colonists…generations of Americans have rallied around their hatred of "unfair" taxes. "Taxation without representation is tyranny" was the rallying cry of the Revolution, and quick on the heels of independence, Americans seized arms once more to protest the taxation of whiskey to pay off our brand new national debt.
These days, Tea Party supporters are out on the streets decrying the abuses of our current system. And yet, as Oliver Wendell Holmes reminded us, "Taxes are the price of civilization."
This episode of BackStory takes a look at the historical tension between the necessity of paying for government, and the feeling of being robbed by it. Are Americans especially adverse to taxes? Why has government often turned to "sin" as a source of revenue? Does war always lead to higher taxes?
For more, visit the BackStory website here.
April 3rd, 2010
Bridging the Shores: The Hmong-American Experience
An encore broadcast from Wisconsin Public Radio, the program explores the issues of identity, preservation, adaptability, and perseverance that many Hmong-Americans grapple with in a continually-evolving culture.
Forced to flee their native Laos due to Communist persecution resulting from their serving as allies to U.S. forces during the Vietnam War, thousands of Hmong began arriving in the U.S. in the late 1970s. The immigrants have since struggled to adapt to American customs, yet retain their traditions.
For more information, click here, or visit the companion website at www.wiipps.org. This documentary, premiered on September 12, 2008, is also be available via the audio streaming and archive services on this website.
March 27th, 2010
from America Abroad
AIDS has been a viral wrecking ball across Africa, and much of the globe for that matter. More than 25 million have died from the disease, but the international community’s bedside manner is getting better. They’ve succeeding in treating millions already infected with HIV, but stemming the spread is a much tougher case. And with the doctor’s orders often running up against religious convictions and traditional customs, prescribing a potent prevention protocol is a complicated operation.
Learn more about The Politics of Prevention.
March 20th, 2010
Robots are not just science fiction anymore. They're making their way into living rooms and backyards, into classrooms, factories, war zones, and hospitals. We hear about robots that can help with household chores, assist surgeons in operating rooms, and go into disaster-stricken areas to help save lives.
Learn more about Robots for Real
March 13th, 2010
We take the Space Program and its history for granted. But it came to be through many twists and turns. These changes not only touched the Space Program, they helped shape American defense, K-12 education and America’s universities, as well as how the nation spends its science dollars today.
March 6th, 2010
"Rocket Girls and Astro-Nettes"
This is the story of women in the ultimate "Man’s World" – working first in the labs and then the Shuttle crew cabins of NASA. Told in the first person, these stories explore the experiences of NASA’s first woman engineers and scientists and its first astronauts. It also tells the fascinating story of a group of women pilots who – in the early 1960s – were led to believe that they would be America’s first women astronauts and were given the exact same physical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The program is narrated by Eileen Collins, the first woman commander of a Space Shuttle.
February 27th, 2010
"Race and the Space Race"
a Black History Month special
The Space Age began when America was going through a wrenching battle over Civil Rights. And because the heart of the Old Confederacy was chosen as its base, NASA played an unintended role in Civil Rights history. A look at the people whose lives soared from the cotton fields to the launch pad, breaking the color line at NASA. Their stories of frustration and their stories of perseverance.
February 20th, 2010
"Who Was This Man?"
a Black History Month special
from Al Letson’s State of the Re:Union
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s hallowed "I Have a Dream Speech" is an iconic moment in the history of civil rights. But this historic moment would probably have never happened if it weren’t for a man standing in King’s shadow… Mr. Bayard Rustin.
February 6th & 13th, 2010
"Memories of the Movement"
a Black History Month special
From PRI Specials, "Memories of the Movement," a 2-part special program, shares some of the poignant and very powerful memories of the Civil Rights Movement, as experienced by a few of the men and women who served on its front lines or played vital roles behind the scenes.
January 2 - 30, 2010
The Moth Radio Hour
The Moth Radio Hour features true stories told live on-stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment. Each Moth Radio Hour mixes humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant tales that captivate, surprise, and delight audiences with their honesty, bravery, and humor.
January 30, 2010
A man is instructed not to fall in love with his monkey, but fails; renowned performer Sarah Jones (Bridge and Tunnel) finds herself the subject of racial profiling; and the inventor of the Baby Calzone runs into trouble with the Mob.
January 23, 2010
This episode of The Moth Radio Hour includes stories from beloved author Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Blink, The Tipping Point) about a wedding prank gone horribly wrong; an African-American home care attendant caring for a dying Klansman; and a miracle survivor of a gang initiation.
January 16, 2010
Hear how celebrated author and writer Adam Gopnik (Paris to the Moon, The New Yorker) embarrasses his son and offends other loved ones by getting lost in the new world of Instant Message abbreviations. Also, stories of first love and unlikely pen pals, and the sad tale of gay man who comes out to his parents with dramatic consequences.
January 9, 2010
A severely stuttering child finds solace in speaking to animals and vows to speak for them if he grows up to find his voice. Years later we find him as the world's premier jaguar expert, having a face to face with an animal in the jungle of Belize. Plus, a Texas tale of moon pies and bedazzlers, and the surprising story of a Harlem man who ends up at a rodeo in Oregon.
January 2, 2010
A batboy for the New York Yankees goes on a wild goose chase for a left-handed bat-stretcher; an Irish-Catholic family obsessed with the Kennedys dedicates a summer to spying on their idols; a comedian experiences the ultimate heartbreak; and a drill sergeant faints at the sight of blood....