Molly Donahue

Producer, Word of Mouth|Outside/In

Molly interned - twice! - Word of Mouth, before joining the team full time in 2016. A graduate of Barnard College, Molly is a grown-up Girl Scout, former radio show co-host at the student-run WBAR, and well-documented fan of Dr. Who. Her love of Jeopardy has served her well in her writing for NHPR, giving her an outlet for a lifetime’s worth of fun facts. Molly went to high school in Salem, NH and currently lives in Windham.

Ways to Connect

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Picture this: the nation listens spell-bound - to a stand-off on the interstate between state police, the national guard and an organized group...helicopters swirl in the sky. The rebels are angry, they're fortified by heavy machinery, a truckload of explosives and are threatening to break through every blockade the cops set up. 

Jack Donahue

Everyone has an ice-breaker fact about themselves right? Something quirky, cute, not too heavy? Then there those other facts, the ones you don't necessarily hide, but that you don't bring up either. This is one of those. Now, this is nothing that people close to me don’t already know. It even features on my resume, and almost always comes up in job interviews.

I’m an adult Girl Scout.

I know, it’s an oxymoron. Kind of like jumbo shrimp. But believe me, anything you have to say, I’ve heard it. I’ve gotten the confused looks and fielded the burning questions, for example:

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 In April 2010, WTF host Marc Maron sat down to speak with Robin Williams. Following the news of Williams’ death on August 11, Maron reflected back on that interview and shared some of his thoughts on a conversation that he considers life-changing. The interview is at times delicate, as Williams talks about his battle with addiction and depression, but it also raised a new perspective the comedian which people had rarely seen before.

Workman Publishing -

Throughout her time at Dartmouth, Priya Krishna catalogued inventive twists on dining hall fare for her college newspaper. Shortly after graduation she began gathering together recipes for her new book Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks, which came out in June 2014.

« RMTOlympic » par Inconnu — Sous licence Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

We spoke with The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer about CV Dazzle, a way to camouflage your face from surveillance technology. He wore one of the designs featured on, where there are many more ideas for ways to make your face indistinguishable to technology using facial recognition.

Nico Nelson via Flickr CC

What do you really know about placentas? If you’re like the majority of people, the "tree of life" is probably pretty mysterious. Despite being vital to both maternal and fetal health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development says that the placenta is the “least understood human organ.” That’s starting to change as more scientists study the invasive organ, a pattern Denise Grady wrote about for the New York Times, but outside the laboratories people are taking the placenta into their own hands. Literally. So we asked: what are some of the most popular and strange things people are doing with their placenta?

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As part of our investigation into all things death, we spoke with Barbara Bates Sedoric, president and founder of Lasting Matters, about planning for death by saving your family from extra stress to making sure documents are in order. And now one of those documents may very well be part of a new trend that is on the rise.

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We spoke with Glen David Andrews about his new album Redemption, which features his band and select friends who played major roles in a spiritual recovery that started him on a new path in life. The New Orleans musician came out with the new album after reconnecting with music, and its healing powers, in rehab. Many listeners have observed the similarities between Andrews and New Orleans itself, and in the album it’s hard to distinguish where the influences of one ends and the other begins.

Molly Donahue

One of New Hampshire’s long-time treasures is America’s Stonehenge, an archeological site in North Salem. Opened under the name Mystery Hill Caves in 1958, the site received its current name in the 1980s to distinguish it from more geological sites. Whatever you call it, it’s a New Hampshire classic.  

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New Hampshire is often advertised as a state filled with natural attractions, famous for our mountains (Mt. Washington and Mt. Monadnock are both known world-wide), lakes, and rivers. But the state is filled with historical landmarks as well, which Lucie Bryar covers in her book Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on Back Roads and Quiet Waters. Here are some of the cultural attractions in southern NH you may not have heard about, but that you’ll definitely want to check out.

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Dr. Joy Reidenberg caught us up on the new PBS series she hosts, Sex in the Wild. She brought some crazy stories and fun facts with her, the best of which we’ve compiled here. We’ll add a quick warning: Dr.

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For years, the fact that classical music helps little brains grow and develop has been common knowledge. It appears in books about raising kids, comes from other parents, and spurs sales of CDs with names like “Bach For Babies.” But is it actually solid advice? We spoke with Jayson Greene who wrote the article “Mozart Makes You Smarter…And Other Dubious Musical Theories." He says no, it isn’t.

Molly Donahue

Back in 2013, downtown Concord, NH welcomed a new, unusual, addition. Yoyo Heaven is owned and operated by the father and son team Andy and Dan McBride, and it’s exactly what you could expect from the name. They sell assorted ‘skill toys,’ anything that engages people physically and can help build coordination, but the focus is on yoyos. They sell a wide range of yoyos and prices range from $5 to more than $200, and are more than willing to explain the different attributes of all of them.

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We spoke with National Geographic Traveler Magazine editor-in-chief Keith Bellows about what makes a great beach town, and he gave us some idea locations all across the country. This inspired us to make a list of New Hampshire summer spots, with particular attention to one of the state’s specialties – lakes.  We’ve also squeezed a couple rivers in here as well.

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There is an increasing number of books that share titles, a fact that might not confuse a person in a bookstore but can pose problems for online search algorithms. Word of Mouth intern Molly Donahue spoke with author Emily Schultz about a strange phenomenon she experienced this year. So what happens when two authors release two different books with the same title?

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We spoke with Kiera Butler about the truth behind bug spray and came away with some interesting facts. For instance, those bug sprays professing scents like cedar wood or ‘silky vanilla’ are by no means guaranteed to actually do a good job of keeping away bugs. You know what is? DEET.

According to Butler, due to the increase of insect borne illnesses, DEET is a tested-and-true method for keeping the bugs away. Although studies have shown minimal health risks associated with DEET in commercial products, some people still prefer a more natural route. It’s important to note that these solutions have not been tested enough to prove to be good ways of warding off insects, though you’ll find many proponents of natural remedies who defend them. If you’d like to put nature to the test, we’ve made a list of some of the popular plant solutions to avoiding bug bites.

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Few things are as nostalgic for many Americans as the idea of sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and looking for constellations or listening to scary stories. It’s these memories that the National Wildlife Federation hopes to rekindle with the Great American Backyard Camp-Out on Saturday, June 28.

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There’s always debate about what will be the ‘song of the summer,’ a title usually determined by airtime and download statistics. But what about all the other songs that deserve a chance at becoming your summer anthem? Here is an alternative summer playlist, with songs from all across the board. Pick your favorite and listen until you get sick of it, hopefully sometime around September. via Flickr Creative Commons

When Ruth Graham published the Slate article “Against YA” there was an immediate push back. Here we’ve compiled some of our favorites for both sides of the debate.

Nay to YA

Against YA,” by Ruth Graham for Slate.

Here it is, the original article. It’s well-reasoned with a lot of good points, even if it’s getting billed with the uber-polarizing line, “you should be embarrassed to read YA.”  Many criticisms seem to skip straight to the part where Graham says adults shouldn't be reading YA, but there's more in here, so take a look.

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We spoke with Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner about three issues that have been dominating headlines lately. In case you’ve missed them and need to catch up quickly, we’ve compiled the highlights so you can be a champion of serious water-cooler discussions.

The major take-away? Dubner urges you to think like a freak, and to listen to more public radio.

What Is "Twee"?

Jun 9, 2014
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We spoke with Marc Spitz about his new book Twee, in which he tries to give a comprehensive and explanatory history of “the gentle revolution.”

(You can hear that conversation here.)

The tenants of Twee are varied but they come down to this: there is darkness in this world that can only be overcome by cultivating passions that foster beauty and evoke a sense of innocence, goodness, and childhood.

In other words, when the world gets scary, just put a bird on it.

As with any cultural movement, the question of Twee can spark long debates (and trying to sort through “Twee vs. Not Twee” makes an awesome party game). To get you up to speed, here’s a handy list of things that are definitively Twee. As Twee defies categorization, we present this to you as a holistic experience, books mixing with music mixing with…hairstyles?

Sean Hurley

The forests of New Hampshire provide an excellent hiding place for those things that either wish to remain hidden, or have simply fallen into the past. Old logging towns, abandoned train tracks, and the leftovers of eccentrics funded by economic booms all litter the state and set the background for many a local legend. Here we’ve listed some of the loneliest, and often mysterious, spots in the state. 

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No matter your opinion on them, grand musical numbers are notorious earworms. Here we’ve compiled some of the most famous, beloved, and recognizable movie musicals. Go on, sing along, everyone else will too.  

Top Hat (1935)

This was the first screenplay that was written specifically for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though they would go on to do at least 6 more movie musicals together. The movie helped to save RKO from bankruptcy with $3 million in box office revenues and it was only beaten by Mutiny on the Bounty, which would go on to win the 1935 Best Picture.  

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We spoke with Meg Favreau about the tasty treats that are funeral cookies and the various forms in which they come. There are the spongy cookies found in Wales, the chocolate cake-like confections of Belgium, and traditional molasses cookies from Colonial America, to list a few.  Here we’ve listed some of our favorite funeral cookie recipes that we've found, from the historical to the very modern. 


As we learned from Joe Hanson, space weather can be an amazing thing. As receiving real-time space weather forecasts is becoming more of a reality, it would be good to familiarize yourself with some of the weather events you can expect to see. We’ve compiled a list to test your space weather knowledge. All of these events sound fantastic and have been the fodder for many a Sci-Fi plot, but do you know which one of these 4 space weather events isn’t real?

People often lament that handwriting is a lost art. But if the creators of a new educational tool have their way, calligraphy will never die out completely. The Lernstift – or “learning pen”– is a working computerized pen which uses vibration to help improve handwriting, and is projected to go into production this fall.   Word of Mouth’s Molly Donahue spoke with Daniel Kaesmacher who helped develop the Lernstift, to learn a little bit more about it.

Harper Collins Publishers

We spoke with author Robert Kolker about the unsolved case, dubbed the Long Island Serial Killer by the press and public. Here's an abbreviated version of the timeline in Lost Girls of the events surrounding the ongoing investigation. The full story and timeline is discussed in Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery.

April 20, 1996: Two female legs, wrapped in a plastic bag, are discovered on Fire Island west of Davis Park Beach.

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Our exploration of Aesthletics reminded us of some of our other favorite bizarre sports. From the safe, if not always tame, World Beard and Moustache Competition to the surprisingly dangerous Outhouse Races, strange sports are everywhere. These are not the weirdest sports, by far, but they top our list as most memorable and well organized.

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As we explored earlier, the voice is a powerful tool. We form very strong images and opinions about others without ever having seen or met or interacted with them, simply because of the way they sound.  Even when they aren’t a good representation of the person, voices are often the first impression we choose to trust. From actors who have built entire careers on their voice, to the often unnoticed background on thousands of film trailers and television spots, here are some of the most iconic voices we’ve heard, whether you’ve realized it or not.

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After speaking with Chuck Klosterman about his new book, I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains, and the nature of villainy, we gave him a quick quiz about some of the subjects he writes about in the book. He tells us who is more villainous with frequently hilarious, and thought-provoking, answers.