8.24.16: Best Summer Listens

Aug 24, 2016

So late August is just about the toughest time to produce a radio show, because just about everybody is on vacation  -  of course, that doesn't matter much for podcasts - these days with so much on-demand audio, our playlists are packed with great new shows, and fresh episodes from our long-time favorites. Since Virginia is off swimming in a lake somewhere, and all of the other newsmakers are off squeezing the last few drops out of summer, today we're going to do a summer playlist of staff podcast picks. 

Listen to the full show. 

Imaginary Worlds: Ghost in the Shell

Producer Molly Donahue's summer pick is an episode from the podcast Imaginary Worlds, a podcast about "science fiction and other fantasy genres - how we create them and why we suspend our disbelief." In "Ghost in the Shell," host Eric Molinsky discusses the influential 1995 anime movie and the new live action version starring Scarlett Johansson. The casting for the new movie has sparked a discussion about the ongoing problem of whitewashing in Hollywood films - but the reaction in Japan has been totally different. The excerpt we played gives a primer in anime history and helps to explain why Japanese audiences are less shocked to see a white actress playing an anime hero. 

You can listen to the full episode here: Imaginary Worlds: Ghost in the Shell

Radio Diaries: Majd's Diary: Two Years in the Life of a Saudi Girl

Producer Jimmy Gutierrez’s pick is from Radio Diaries, “a brilliant podcast that helps ordinary people share their stories, in their voice”. Founder and executive producer, Joe Richman and his squad do an incredible job of training their diarists how to use the equipment, when and what to record, and how to think sonically. They also get out of the way so that the diarist is our guide through their world – not a narrator. When I heard that Majd’s story was coming out I was pretty excited because I knew this was years in the making. Her diary tape takes you into the world of a teenage girl living in Saudi Arabia, which of course brings with it karate, genetics labs, and arranged marriages.

You can listen to the full episode here: Radio Diaries: Majd's Diary: Two Years in the Life of a Saudi Girl

Bob's Grill #1: Judith Miller

Executive Producer Maureen McMurray went with On the Media's series "Bob's Grill." Here's what she had to say about it: "You can always count on Bob Garfield to challenge guests, and Bob’s Grill showcases his most adversarial moments. It’s glorious. OTM kicked off the series with a 2005 Judith Miller interview that kept me hooked to my headphones…and treadmill."

You can listen to this full episode here: Bob's Grill #1: Judith Miller

Tuner: Same Old Song and Dancehall

Senior Producer Taylor Quimby's​ pick is from Tuner, "a really cool music podcast and a great companion to one of my other favorite music podcasts, Song Exploder."  Hosts Brian Barone and John Lagomarsino are the perfect music teachers for non-musicians - they explain aspects of music theory with great analogies and sound clips that break down the sounds step by step, and don’t leave you with a headache. Each episode focuses on one particular song.  If you grew up in the ‘90s, you should definitely check out the episode where they deconstruct Hanson’s “MMMBop”, and talk about how the band has had to change the key of the song as they’ve gotten older, and their voices have matured. If you’re a fan of Rihanna, take a listen to the lastest story on the musical traditions behind her single “Work”.

You can listen to the full epsiode here: Tuner: Same Old Song and Dancehall