Word of Mouth

Saturdays at 11 am, Tuesdays at 8 pm

Word of Mouth explores the nooks and crannies of New Hampshire. Airs Saturdays at 11 am and replays Tuesdays at 8 pm.

Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts or find us wherever you get your podcasts!

Send us an email: Word of Mouth

Leave us a message: 603.513.7796

Curious about things you've seen, heard, or experienced in our state? Send us your "Only In New Hampshire" questions here!

Speech Bubble

May 18, 2018
CREDIT FACEBOOK - ALL EYES ON UNH

In this episode, Producer Jimmy Gutierrez heads to the UNH campus to find out more about how debates over free speech are playing out on a majority white campus. Check out his earlier reporting here

Also on the show, NHPR's Annie Ropeik takes to the Crawford Trail to find out what it takes to maintain the region's oldest continuously used hiking path, and the story of how the humble potato came to North America. 

Courtesy Mark Baer

Before Nintendo 64, before Playstation, before Wii or Dreamcast or Xbox... there was the Magnavox Odyssey.

Taylor Quimby

California may be home to some of the video game industry's biggest players, but  Ralph Baer, considered by many to be "the Father of Video Games," developed the first game console in good ol' New Hampshire.  Today on the show, vignettes from the past, present, and future of gaming in the Granite State.

New Hampshire State Flag
Wikimedia Commons

In 2001, North American Vexillological Association conducted a survey of the 72 flags of the United States and Canada.

New Hampshire's state flag came in 63rd place .

Tom Mungovan teaches Graphic Design at the Concord Regional Technical Center at Concord High School.

I visited the school last week to see what his students thought of our state flag. 

Eric Masterson

What exactly is going on with the design of New Hampshire's state flag... and why is it so very unsatisfying? We investigate.
 

Plus, we chase the spring bird migration and examine the legend of the casserole.

Elmire Jolicoeur
FindAGrave

There’s a story out there… a story you’ll find on dozens, maybe hundreds of websites, about the invention of the casserole:

“In 1866, Elmire Jolicoeur, a French Canadian immigrant, invented the precursor of the modern casserole in Berlin, New Hampshire.”

That’s from Wikipedia. If you don’t trust Wikipedia, you can also find this attribution in print, too.

tupperware party
State Library and Archives of Florida

In the early 1940s, an inventor from Berlin, New Hampshire, created a container made of refined polyethylene, an odorless, non-toxic plastic. He called the material “Poly-T.” A few years later, he designed an airtight lid.

While April is National Poetry Month, it's also the time of year when some people whisper among themselves that the form is "really not for me". On this week's show we'll ask a couple of local wordsmiths how to make poetry more accessible.

And, as the ghost of William Shakespeare enjoys renewed interest every April, one local man gets down to brass tacks - was Shakespeare a plagiarist?

NHPR and The Music Hall Present Writers on a New England Stage with Katy Tur. Tur's memoir, Unbelievable, recalls the relentless pace of reporting on the unprecedented Trump presidential campaign for NBC and MSNBC. Tur became a fixation for Trump as he ratcheted up hostility against the media. Tur stood up to Trump's taunting on Twitter and his calling her out at rallies.

Even though I spent the first 21 years of my life in New Hampshire, I  did a lot of growing up much later at NHPR. My experience in community and public radio had been vast and fulfilling by the time I returned to my home state in 2008. I’d produced programs for NPR with sleek professionals in New York and Boston;  trained journalists in the Balkans; and worked with stations in West Africa that deliver programs via cassette on motorbikes. But I had never sat in the host’s chair.

The State of The 'Free State'

Apr 13, 2018
Fyn Kyn, Flickr CC: https://bit.ly/2H0bBO8

An anarchist, a libertarian, and a Bitcoin enthusiast walk into a bar ... no, it's not a joke: it's likely a gathering of members of the Free State Project. So, just what is the FSP, you ask? It's a non-profit, a political experiment, a Libertarian mass migration movement, and a difficult-to-categorize spiderweb of connected subcultures—a group that's been confounding long-time residents and recent transplants to New Hampshire for years. 

This episode is dedicated to answering a single complicated question, sent in from a listener as part of our Only In NH series: What exactly is the Free State Project? 

For the print version of this story, featuring photos and links to more information, click here (or on the link below). 

There are plenty of examples of literary and artistic couples: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald, George O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera... but some of these partnerships were famously fraught. A relationship that functions on many levels, both creative and romantic, brings the particular challenge of balancing family and art. 

In Lebanon, Keiselim Montás and Kianny Antigua are living that balancing act. They are both published, acclaimed writers... and they're married. How do they balance their family life with their literary practice?

In the mid-19th century, the country was in the throes of a widespread religious revival. It was called the Second Great Awakening, and it fostered the founding of new denominations and inspired millions of converts. This movement laid the groundwork for Methodists and Baptists to exponentially in number, and for Joseph Smith to establish his church of Latter Day Saints.

A lot of people hear "cooperative business" and think of their local food co-ops. But, the co-op model isn't limited to bulk bins of quinoa - it was designed to share profits with workers and give small businesses leverage against megastores.

So, what role do they play in the Granite State? 

Plus, we'll hear from area high school students, in this post-Parkland moment, who are organizing to tell lawmakers: Never Again. 

Taylor Quimby

Which of these subjects is more controversial: New Hampshire liquor laws, regional pizza preferences, or the concept of a broad-based income tax in NH?  

In this episode, we look back at some of our favorite (and most hotly debated) stories from our "Only in New Hampshire" series, where you ask the questions and we find the answers. We'll hear about a requirement that bars selling hard alcohol must also serve food. We'll find out why one style of pizza dominates the Granite State, and we'll explore how New Hampshire became known for eschewing the use of broad-based income taxes to increase revenue. Plus, some updates, listener feedback, and behind-the-scenes editorial debates that helped shape these stories.


As the legend goes, Sevilla Jones and Henry N. Sargent were courting when Sevilla's heart changed, and their romance took a tragic turn.

The pair died over 160 years ago, but the notorious gravestone in New Boston's cemetery still draws curious visitors.

But what really happened?

In the months since #MeToo went viral on social media, millions of people across the globe have broken the silence on their stories of sexual assault and harassment. But where do we stand in New Hampshire? How has the Granite State responded to the Me Too movement? What conversations are we having? What actions are we taking?

If you're looking for a slice in New Hampshire, you can find a House of Pizza in just about every town in the state. These pies are pan baked, with a hard crust that works like a retaining wall for an even layer of sauce and cheese. This is Greek pizza. And if New Hampshire's got a signature 'za, this is it.

But why are all of these Greek pizza joints called "House of Pizza"? And how did Greek pizza come to corner the market in the Granite State?

Big Brother and the Tax Man

Feb 9, 2018

New Hampshire is one of 9 states without a state income tax, and one of just two states without a broad-based sales tax either. 

Democrat or Republican, almost every serious candidate for governor takes the Pledge: a promise that they won't even consider a broad-based state income or sales tax.

When listener Mary Douglas moved to New Hampshire in 2005, she couldn't make sense of the state's strong anti-tax sentiment. For our "Only in NH" series, she asked us: why doesn't New Hampshire have a state income tax?

Chris Jensen

When the state of New Hampshire submitted a bid to Amazon , throwing Londonderry into the ring as home for the company’s second headquarters, they summed up their case like this: "All the benefits of Boston… without all the headaches."

Of course, that logic doesn't really apply if you live in New Hampshire's northernmost towns, where the closest city of size is Sherbrooke, Quebec.  In this episode, as part of NHPR's series "The Balance", we look at arts, culture and economy north of the notches.  

Plus, New Hampshire filmmaker and visual artist Amy Jenkins on her film Instructions on Parting, which premiers at MOMA later this month. 

For many, the mention of contra dance conjures images of tradition and wholesomeness -- a thoroughly American, and old-fashioned, past time. But in New Hampshire, contra dance has shifted over the decades. From turn-of-the-century stiffness to hippy ease to Millennial intensity, contra accommodates whatever community chooses to adopt it.

AP

The obituary, so stark and visceral, captured the public’s attention.

It was for 24-year-old Molly Alice Parks. She died in 2015 of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of her Manchester workplace.

The obit’s final line: “If you have any loved ones who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”

But what if you don’t? What if you’re lucky enough not to have a loved one battling this addiction?

Death Resulting

Jan 21, 2018

New Hampshire is one of the hardest hit states in the current overdose epidemic, leaving communities grasping for answers. Meanwhile, some local courts and prosecutors have dusted off an antiquated state statute called "Death Resulting" to target drug dealers. But how are courts discerning between dealers and people with active substance use disorders? On today's show, we'll hear a complicated and tragic story that may shed some light moving forward. 

*This story was produced with support from the Third Coast Radio Residency at Ragdale

Stalking The Wild Frost Heave

Jan 12, 2018
Taylor Quimby

Every spring, many New Hampshire roads come to resemble obstacle courses as frost heaves emerge with the thaw. On this week’s installment of Only in N.H., we answer a listener question: “How and when did the term 'frost heaves' originate? Is the phenomenon unique to New Hampshire?” The answer brings us from 17th century Swedish geological manuscripts to Martian ice formations and, finally, on a winding journey down the country roads through New Hampshire’s hills.

In Conversation With Bill McKibben

Jan 5, 2018
Word of Mouth

On a rainy night in December, author Bill McKibben joined Virginia Prescott in front of a live audience for the "In the Spotlight" series at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, presented in partnership with Gibson's Bookstore.

In this episode, McKibben reads from his newest book, and speaks with Virginia about the importance of humor in activism, hope and despair in the face of climate change, and how to deal with the depression that's tied to covering an overwhelming global threat.

Why Are Liquor Laws In New Hampshire So Weird?

Dec 29, 2017

Whether you buy, drink, or do business in the Granite State, liquor plays a significant role in the culture and the economy.  Today, Word of Mouth tackles a complicated (and very broad)  question sent in by a listener: "Why are liquor laws in New Hampshire SO WEIRD???"  So here goes: in this episode, we'll try and get to the bottom of a Prohibition era law that requires bars to sell food,  take a trip to a local distillery to find out more about what it means to produce "scratch-made" liquor, and look at how liquor revenue is used. Plus, three attempts to make a signature NH beverage.  Go slow! This episode is high-proof.

As the farm-to-table movement caught on nation-wide, a cohort of farmers, chefs, and organizers put in the legwork to make local food possible here in New Hampshire. 

This week on Word of Mouth, we trace the history of local food in the state, and we address a listener's question: How can you distinguish real, authentic local food from the dizzying display of marketing gimmicks? 

We also hang out with a local arts collective on the seacoast, and we sit down with National Book Award-winning poet Frank Bidart. 

Years ago, in the very early days of Youtube, a video was posted that mesmerized audiences and inspired thousands of imitators across the country. But there's someone in New Hampshire who says he's been doing it just as long: syncing sound and light in an all-consuming holiday spectacular on his front lawn.

On this episode, we find out what it takes to produce the kind of Christmas display that stops traffic.

Also: what exactly happens to your leaves after you rake them up and send them off?

Taylor Quimby

In this episode, a look back at the most controversial stories from our "Only in NH" series, where you ask the questions and we find the answers. We'll hear about the origin of the famous "Chicken Farmer I Still Love You" rock, get an update on the health effects of inhaling wood-stove smoke, and investigate whether New Hampshire's lack of seat-belt law results in more accidents. Plus, your feedback on what we got right (and wrong) reporting each of these stories!

This week on Word of Mouth, two stories about New Hampshire's past, and what it means for the future. First, what did New Hampshire's landscape look like before the intensive logging and development of the past few centuries, and what does that tell us about our history?

Next, a New Hampshire court case in the 1970s wound its way to the Supreme Court--and what seemed at the time to be a narrow freedom of speech case is still influencing laws today. 

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