Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth is the sound of new ideas, hosted by Virginia Prescott. Airs at 2 pm Monday through Thursday, weeknights at 9 pm, and noon on Sundays.

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Looking for our Song of the Day? Click right here.

On this weekend's show: 

  • Walt Hickey talks to us about 538's Oscar Tracker and which categories will be the most interesting to watch.
  • "Now There's Only Time to Live Forever" from producer Jessica Ripka. Listen again at prx.org.
  •  A Series of Tubes with Rob Fleischman, our new series all about tech. 
  • We talked to Robert Meyer about the book he co-wrote with Howard Kunreuther called: The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters.

oscar.go.com / http://gph.is/1KWCGy8

On today's show:

Atomische * Tom Giebel via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/tDD78

On today's show: 

2.21.17: Executive Orders & The Ostrich Paradox

Feb 21, 2017
Victor Trovo Afonso via flicr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/a2BN15

On today's show:

Presidents' Day 2017

Feb 20, 2017
Neil Cowburn via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/qRUmr

On today's show:

Kusakabe via flickr Creative Commons

On the weekend show:

Steven Nichols via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/59y3nV

On today's show: 

Andrew Malone via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4uix3a

Episode 7: Executive Orders

Feb 13, 2017

You may have heard of executive orders, but how about executive memoranda? Today, we talk about the different tools of executive action that the President uses to direct his administration, and enforce public policy. Are they laws? Can they be revoked by Congress? How are they vetted? Karen Hult, Chair of the Department of Political Scientist at Virginia Tech, fills us in.

Episode 5: Calling Your Congressperson

Feb 9, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're often urged to call our elected representatives to voice opinions on the issues, but what happens after that call is made?  Where does the message go? And do those calls ever sway decisions?  In this episode of Civics 101, we go into a congressional representative's office to find out.

David J. Murray | Clear Eye Photo / cleareyephoto.com

All this week we're revisiting some of our favorite Writers on a New England Stage interviews featuring two Supreme Court Justices, a SCOTUS scholar and a presidential scholar. Here's the schedule for this week: 

On this weekend's show:

Walt Jabsco via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/23vvEm
James Cridland via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/Wd54U

On today's show:

Daniel Gregory via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/o4fTvk

On today’s show, we’ll talk to the host of The Lonely Palette, a podcast that aims to put art appreciation back in the hands of the masses, one painting at a time.

Plus, the Grammy-award winning group OutKast has had an undeniable impact on hip-hop, and put southern hip-hop on the map. Now that musical legacy is being deconstructed for college credit. We’ll talk to the professor behind a new upper level English class that puts OutKast on the syllabus.

And we get ready to kick off the 12th year of the Portsmouth-based RPM challenge, when artists around the world try to write and record an album in just 28 days.

Logan Shannon

You've probably heard the term "comment period", but do you know what it means? What exactly happens when a government agency opens a proposed rule to public comment?  And do these comments ever sway decision making? Today, a look into the notice and comment rule making procedure. 

1.30.17: Civics 101 & End of Life Care for Kids

Jan 30, 2017
joe bustillos via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6m7Jhs

The Constitution grants the press freedom to hold elected officials feet to the fire. How does the White House Press Corps do it?  Today, Civics 101 gets a lesson from a master, NPR's Senior White House Correspondent Scott Horsley.

Also today, hospice care is increasingly a choice for end-of-life care. What does it mean for lives that have just begun? We'll hear about an option that's so far been unthinkable - hospice care for terminally ill kids.

Matt Biddulph via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/88HygA

All the annual hoopla about Super Bowl ad sales is a little different this year, since sales are way down. On today’s show we’ll look into what that says about media and politics.

Plus, time is money, it heals all wounds, it even flies. We'll speak with the author of a new book who investigates our perception of time, and how it affects our minds, our culture, and our bodies—often in ways you would never expect.

And, a new episode of the 10-Minute Writers Workshop with Caitlin Moran.

aveira via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/6Myi84

In the first 100 days of his presidency, FDR passed a staggering seventy six pieces of legislation. Barack Obama, passed just 11. On today’s show we’ll look into partisan politics and the changing presidential mandate, and why the first 100 days is a metric worth looking at.

And, while most ski mountains in New England are facing the effects of a warming climate, another problem is slowly developing: aging chairlifts.

Plus we’ll check in with chamber pop band San Fermin before they play House of Blues in Boston this Saturday.

Somayeh Pakar

The Trump administration has vowed to roll back Obama's laws, but what does that mean for Title IX? On today’s show, we'll consider the future for the amendment now linking college and university funding to how they respond to sexual harassment and assault on campus.

Then, it can take months, even years, to plan a wedding...now imagine you have to do everything twice. Later in the show, a look inside gender segregated weddings in Iran, and how the single sex parties are boosting opportunities for creative women in the workforce.

Plus our semi-regular segment Overheard introduces you to sounds we think you need to hear.

Eugene Kaspersky via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rBHFRr

When confronting transphobia, what's the best way to encourage understanding? How about a face-to-face discussion? Today, a study follows a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantifies what we probably know instinctively - conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Plus, just because you saw The West Wing 10 years ago, does not mean you understand how government works. And that's ok. Today we introduce Civics 101 to untangle the fundamentals you learned in school and probably forgot - like what exactly does a Chief of Staff do?

Episode 1: Chief of Staff

Jan 20, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're all familiar with the title, but what does a White House Chief of Staff actually do? What does the daily routine entail? And how much power does the position hold?  Our inaugural episode covers the basics of the President's gatekeeper.

Hazel Watson via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/uuET81

In Australia, there is a small marsupial called the antechinus. It looks a lot like an ordinary mouse, but it has an extraordinary life-cycle. On today’s show, we discover a host of incredible organisms that illustrate the absurdity and elegance of evolution.

Plus, what happens when we confront transphobia face to face? We'll hear about a new study that followed a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantified what we you already may suspect: conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Skipped Civics Class? Send Us Your Questions!

Jan 19, 2017
Logan Shannon

Just because you saw The West Wing a decade ago, doesn't mean you actually understand the mechanics of the American government.  Don't feel bad, it's been years since most of us had to study any of this stuff, and there are lots of well-informed people out there who – when pressed – might not remember how the Electoral College works, or what it takes to pass a constitutional amendment.

onepinkhippo via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8oatHS

In Australia, there is a small marsupial called the antechinus. It looks a lot like an ordinary mouse, but has an extraordinary life-cycle. Today, we discover a host of incredible organisms that illustrate the absurdity and elegance of evolution.

Plus, a regulatory conundrum over catfish. At a moment when the political divide is as wide as it's ever been, some republicans and democrats are actually coming together - over a bottom-feeder.

splityarn via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6m2iYw

In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party made racial pride a rallying point for social justice and arming citizens against police brutality - and was targeted by the FBI. So was the Puerto Rican nationalist party called the Young Lords. Today, we look back the little known activist movement strongly influenced by feminist ideals and the Latina experience.

Plus, want information? Google it. But try Googling: "is the Holocaust real?" and you'll be led to a barrage of Holocaust denial. We'll dig into why even when the facts are indisputable, finding truth online is not guaranteed.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day '17

Jan 16, 2017
Ted Bell / https://flic.kr/p/dehv96

Think Civil Rights era, and the Jim Crow south probably comes to mind: Selma, Birmingham.  How about Brooklyn and Boston, where battles over school desegregation also raged? On today’s show,  a history of progress and regression in a region that considered itself blind to race.

Then, facial recognition software is now everywhere - in airports, stores, on our gadgets and on social media. The goal is security and public safety, but there are drawbacks to our growing dependency on biometrics:  not all faces are recognized equally.

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

Then, for most people who sustain traumatic injuries from bullets or car crashes death occurs within an hour. Now, what seems like a miracle cure is freighted with questions of consent, ethics and racism in a country with a sordid history of medical experiments on African Americans.

Logan Shannon

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

And, eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is down to pre-recession levels. Another indicator has not faired as well: underemployment. Is part-time work the new normal?

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