Taylor Quimby

Producer, Word of Mouth

Taylor Quimby started his career in radio in 2010 as a part-time board operator for NHPR. As Producer of Word of Mouth, he cultivates ideas, writes and produces segments, shapes the sound of the program, and sifts through endless emails. Taylor also lends his voice to the show as an occasional substitute host and contributor, and is responsible for the blog Abbrev. Movie Reviews.


Ways to Connect


As we look back at 2013, we’re struck by the number of mishaps made by politicians, celebrities, athletes and companies…followed of course, by the oh-so-heartfelt public apology. Word of Mouth's senior producer Maureen McMurray and producer Taylor Quimby join Virginia Prescott to talk about the year of saying sorry…or in some cases, the year of the non-apology.

Logan Shannon/Sara Plourde / NHPR

It’s the season for giving back and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at soup kitchens, at clinics and hospitals, or swinging a Christmas bell for the Salvation Army … but what about those volunteer opportunities that fly under the radar?  In New Hampshire, a number of brave and selfless volunteers tackle a task most people dread…filing taxes.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, ‘tis the season for awkward dinners with your loved ones’ parents. It’s no secret that navigating your relationship with your in-laws can feel like walking through a minefield, but a new study suggests that keeping close to them is a sign of a healthy marriage – for some. According to Dr. Terri Orbuch, men who get close to their in-laws within a year are 20% less likely to go through divorce later in life, but women who do the same are 20% more likely to split with their husbands down the road.

Dr. Terri Orbuch is a professor of sociology and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where she’s known as “The Love Doctor.” This year, she published a 26-year study looking at love in relation to the in-laws.

Courtesy Tim Mitsopoulos

On September 15th, 2008, the financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11.  The subprime mortgage crisis had been percolating for months by then, as had a global economic decline – but the bankruptcy of the nation’s fourth largest investment bank panicked Wall Street, evaporating liquidity markets, sending the economy sharply downward, and sparking the worst global recession since World War II – a crisis from which the world’s economy is still recovering.

twaffles via Flickr Creative Commons

A full decade into the drone war in the Middle East, we’re still asking questions: what does an unmanned military mean for the future of warfare?  Who chooses who lives and who dies? What does it mean to pull the trigger on a target half a world away?

And what is like being a veteran of the drone war?

Matthew Power is a freelance print and radio journalist and a contributor to GQ Magazine, where he wrote a profile of former drone operator and Airman First Class Brandon Bryant.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

This Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” series will broadcast worldwide. The live performance will be streaming to more than 700 theaters in the United States, seven of which are right here in New Hampshire.  Starring in the opera is soprano Patricia Racette of Manchester, New Hampshire.

alliance1911 via Flickr Creative Commons

As Instagram passes its third birthday, a small but growing community of users are beginning to utilize the website for the private exchange of goods. Two million of the site’s annual photo uploads are items being put up for sale, with the actual negotiations taking place via comment threads and private messages.

Among the many items being legally sold through Instagram are firearms.  Brian Ries is Senior Social Media Editor at The Daily Beast and joins us to explain.

via Knack.it

There’s been a lot of fuss made in recent years over the increasing “gamification” of everyday life – that is, the use of game mechanics in unusual settings like personal fitness, or in schools – where the incentive to get points or awards might have more motivational power than getting good grades, or dropping a dress size. In the workplace, companies like Cold Stone Creamery and the Miller Brewing have starting using video games to train fresh hires – and a recent study by the University of Colorado found that employees trained using video games did their jobs better, and retained information longer than those who were instructed by more conventional methods. One company thinks video games can play a role in businesses even earlier – before an employee has even been hired.

sheeshoo via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's a blinking laser gun, a noisy video game, or a robot doll that cries real tears, chances are this year's biggest selling holiday toys will be high-tech, battery operated, and chock full of bells and whistles.

Fighting back against the trend toward bright, noisy toys is Thierry Bourret of the toy company Asobi and founder of Slow Toy Movement, a website dedicated to promoting toys that educate and engage without plastic or power sources. Later this month, he will be announcing the winners of the 2nd annual Slow Toy Awards, and joins us for a preview. 

dimmerswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval rating hit a new now of 10.5 percent this week. If you’ve found yourself yelling at the radio and TV news coverage of the government shutdown and plotting revenge at the next election, you may not have to wait until 2014.

Last month, two of Colorado’s Democratic state senators became targets of a successful recall after voting for more restrictive gun legislation, adding to the increasing number of recall campaigns launched over the past two years. 

Seth Masket is a political scientist at the University of Denver, and a regular contributor to Pacific Standard.  He spoke with us about his article “The Recall is the New Normal”. 

Many of you called our Breaking Bad Hotline to let us know how you felt after the credits rolled on the finale. Here are just a few of the messages you left for us...and we've made them SPOILER FREE!

Just remember...WE'RE the ones who knock! Or something.

And if you're not ready to let go of our favorite meth cooks yet, check out some of our favorite 'Breaking Bad' memes:

'Breaking Bad' theme, played on meth lab equipment:

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth's Saturday show is everything you've come to expect from the public radio masterminds at WOM Inc.: you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be compelled to listen twice. This week's show features our own Taylor Quimby working the controls, giving the lovely Virginia Prescott a well deserved vacation from our little radio factory:

warriorwoman531 via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1975, Boston firefighters battled more than 400 blazes. Last year, there were only forty. That 90 percent drop reflects a nationwide victory in the crusade against fires, but even as America’s blazes burn out, the number of career firefighters per capita remains relatively unchanged.  

Leon Neyfakh is Ideas reporter for The Boston Globe. 

Curtis Gregory Perry via Flickr Creative Commons

Activism and innovation among Greeks started long before that country's debt crisis. In 2002, an Athens community fed up by slow and expensive service set up its own private internet. More than 1000 members of the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network have free access to the web with speeds up to 30 times faster than commercial telecom carriers in the area. Given global concerns over the extent of the NSA’s surveillance program, independent “mesh” networks like the one in Athens could be adapted in other communities.

Joe Kloc is a reporter for The Daily Dot.

Photo Credit KP Tripathi, via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval ratings are currently scraping the floor at about 15%. Voters report feeling frustrated at the dominance of political posturing over action. The exasperation has many wondering what our Legislature does exactly, and what in the Sam Hill are they talking about on the hill. A new web-based tool allows citizens to track congressional discussion, bills -- including state bills -- and regulations concerning issues they care about. From raw milk to education bills to campaign finance, Scout is designed to deliver real time results and encourage a more informed public. Our guest is Tom Lee the director of Sunlight Labs, the technical arm of the Sunlight Foundation – which works to make government transparent and accountable. He and his team helped develop Scout.

Rakka via Flickr Creative Commons

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder caused by a reaction to a gluten protein affecting one in one-hundred Americans. Despite the low percentage of those intolerant to wheat products, more people are experimenting with the anti-gluten diet and claim to enjoy health benefits like better skin and fewer allergies.  But is this fad just that...or is there some medical substance behind these claims?


A few years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, writer, producer, and Public Radio host Dave Iverson learned that the Mark Morris Dance Group was teaching dance to people with Parkinson's at its Brooklyn headquarters.  Dave was touched - and produced a special on the dance group for the PBS Newshour and the PBS series Frontline.

More recently, he's rounded up a team of pros to film students preparing for their first public performance. He’s launched a Kickstarter project called “Capturing Grace" to finish the film.

Also joining us is David Levanthal – who until recently was one of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s most celebrated dancers. He’s now focusing entirely on dance for PD, the program working with Parkinson’s patients.

A couple weeks ago the Associated Press reported that the Department of Agriculture was dropping new vanilla-flavored rabies vaccines by airplane over New Hampshire forests as part of a five-state pilot study. Okay, if that sounds a little strange to you, get this: apparently the government has been distributing rabies vaccines by plane for over fifteen years. The story piqued the interest of NHPR environmental reporter Sam Evans-Brown, so he did some digging and is here to tell us more.

Don Pettit

NASA’s Don Pettit has been back from his last mission aboard the International Space Station for over a year, but his blog “Letters to Earth” remains one of the most fascinating and profound windows into the creative and emotional life of an astronaut.  While in space he penned and published poetry, An Astronaut’s Guide to Space Etiquette, and the series, “Diary of a Space Zucchini”, which detailed life on the ISS from the unusual perspective of a se

Farming...In Space!

Sep 16, 2013
Courtesy NASA.gov

If you think there are too many food deserts in cities across the United States, try finding some fresh produce in outer space.  Naturally, NASA makes sure astronauts living on the International Space Station don’t go hungry, but since it costs about $10,000 to send a single pound of food to the I.S.S., you can bet they don’t see a lot of leafy greens.

That cost is just one reason growing fresh food in outer space is a crucial step in the future of manned space exploration.  Jesse Hirsch is a staff writer for Modern Farmer, where you can find his article, “Space Farming: The Final Frontier”. 

ed_needs_a_bicycle via Flickr Creative Commons

When was the last time you read a book? Not for work, not a kid’s bedtime story, but a real honest to goodness book, just for the pleasure of reading?

If you sheepishly answered, "more than a year ago," you’re not alone. A recent survey puts the number of Americans who have failed to crack a spine in more than a year at one in four. While new technological distractions have certainly cut into our reading time, our next guest would also like to blame the Sisyphean task of merely trying to choose a book that’s worthy of reading. His solution? Authors should take a break from writing to give readers a chance to catch up.

Colin Robinson is a co-founder of the New York based independent publisher OR.

Daniel Sylvester Hurd via Flickr Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act has gotten its fair share of media coverage since passing in December of 2009, but much of the discussion has focused the behemoth law’s more controversial aspects, like the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion.  One under-discussed provision of the A.C.A. is called “The Sunshine Act.” It's designed to reveal the substantial fees and gifts doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Joining me to discuss the provision and what it will mean for doctors and companies is healthcare reporter for the Wall Street Journal Peter Loftus, as well as physician and author Danielle Ofri, who writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for The New York Times.

There’s not a ton to look at in Los Alamos, New Mexico these days, but one of the most terrifying and iconic series of pictures in the history of the human race were once taken there, a little over 65 years ago, when a group of pioneer scientists photographed the world’s first atomic bomb test. They captured a speck of light, that turned into a snow-globe burning hotter than the surface of the sun, that turned into a mushroom cloud, now a universal symbol of epic destruction.  

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is co-founder of Two Fine Chaps, a graphic imprint dedicated to adapting and illustrating classic works of literature and natural science… he’s also the author and illustrator of Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

When it comes to food I can be a bit of a cheapskate. If I can’t tell the difference between two similar products, the first thing I look at to determine which to buy is the price tag. But sometimes, being a frugal shopper means more than picking the right brand – sometimes it’s about getting your hands dirty. 

Take pistachios for example. I always buy them with the shells on.  Why?  Because they’re cheaper. Presumably, consumers are paying extra for the privilege of not having to split a thumbnail cracking them open. But when we asked around the office at our Concord studios, it turned out there were lots of reasons people choose to buy whole pistachios.

M.C. Chavez via flickr Creative Commons

Do you cut coupons or drive around looking for the gas station with the lowest price? If so, you might think of yourself as a skinflint…but you’ve probably got nothing on Jeff Yeager, who proudly claims the title “The Ultimate Cheapskate.” Jeff doesn’t just stretch a dollar; he gets his cash to do calisthenics.  He is the author of several books rife with miserly tips, including the The Cheapskate Next Door, Don’t Throw That Away and How To Retire The Cheapskate Way. Jeff is also featured in the AARP web video series, “The Cheap Life.”

Phil Jern via flickr Creative Commons

If recent revelations about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs have you worried about the future of American privacy, it might do you good to think back to when you were still in high school… and nearly all of your activities were monitored by another powerful domestic agency: your parents.

Since then, technology has made surveilling students remotely, easier than ever before...Including a new program called “Power-School”, which offers parents around-the-clock online access to their children’s grades and academic progress. Jessica Lahey is a New Hampshire parent and educator, and author of the forthcoming book Why Parents Need To Let Their Children Fail. She recently wrote for The Atlantic about why her family is choosing not to use the system to monitor their fourteen-year old son.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

This past Saturday, I visited Durham New Hampshire for the 700 family yard sale, an annual fundraising event for the St.Thomas More Parish that’s been held every year for more than three decades. When I arrived, parking was scarce – and a crowd of a hundred people or so had already gathered to get a sneak-peek at the goods laid across dozens of tables. I joined the growing throng – and produced this audio postcard.

sneurgaonkar via Flickr Creative Commons

You may have heard the news earlier this week that taste-testers and scientists in the U.K. sampled the world’s first lab-grown burger.  One food researcher said that the burger tasted “close to meat, but not that juicy”. Another quipped, “what was consistently different was the flavor”. Not a great review for a patty costing somewhere around three hundred and thirty thousand dollars, but you’ve got to start somewhere.  Henry Fountain, science reporter for the New York Times, tells us about the science under the bun.


What makes you happier? This simple question lies at the heart of a new app called “Happier” – a social media community and iPhone app which collects and shares the little actions, moments and gesture that brighten their day. The app was developed with the idea that the key to happiness is focusing on the positive and plenty of people have joined so far. We wanted to know – are they any better off? Nataly Kogan is co-founder of the Boston-based Happier Inc. and she spoke with us about the app.

Logan Shannon

On July 14th, Brian Vickers led a group of professional NASCAR drivers to take the sprint cup at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.  Less than a week later, a group of men and women with absolutely no racing experience took to the same track, in the same six-hundred horsepower stock cars, in hopes of hitting the same high-octane speeds as the pros.  The Richard Petty Driving Experience is a payed sports adventure that lets NASCAR fans get a taste of life in the fast lane… Producer Taylor Quimby was with them in Loudon last Friday, and brought us back this audio postcard.