Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth airs at 2 pm Monday through Thursday, weeknights at 9 pm, and noon on Sunday.

Word of Mouth is the sound of new ideas, hosted by Virginia Prescott, and produced by Taylor Quimby, and Logan Shannon. Our Senior Producer is Maureen McMurray

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or find us on Stitcher.

We're also on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube.

Have an idea for the program? Email us

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You can also leave us a message on the Word of Mouth Listener Line anytime. We reserve the right to use your message on the air: (603) 223-2448

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Word of Mouth
2:15 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

1.28.15: The Science Of Smelling, Crowd Funding Hate, & Good Gig

"The Boy Who Smelled Everything," published in the August 1959 issue of Family Circle magazine. Illustration by Richard Hook.
Credit clotho98 via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7xS1rf

Scents can evoke memories, arouse appetite, and even alter moods. On today’s show we’ll sniff out the science of smell.

Then, internet trolling can be a hobby for angry people with a sadistic bent, but now crowd funding is supporting a new brand of professional troll. We’ll take a look into the lucrative business of posting hate.

Plus, for the latest installment of our series Good Gig we’ll talk to a music editor who’s compiled the 101 strangest records on Spotify.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:13 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Good Gig: Spotify Browse Editor Rob Fitzpatrick

Initially we contacted Rob Fitzpatrick to talk about the series he's been writing for The Guardian, "101 Strangest Records on Spotify", but when we found out what he does for a living, we realized we had a real Good Gig on our hands. The job title "Browse Editor" for Spotify was not one we'd heard of before, but now we all want that job! Getting paid to listen to music seems like the best kind of job.

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Word of Mouth
1:29 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

1.27.15: Black History Is American History & Making A Fashion Statement For The Sake Of Vaccinations

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

In a series of comic books, Joel Christian Gill shines a light on unsung African American figures from history. On today’s show, he tells us why he’s launched a campaign against Black History Month, and makes the case that #28DaysAreNotEnough.

Then, an outbreak of measles traced to Disneyland has outraged parents and cast anti-vaccine advocates as dangers to the public. We’ll hear about a propaganda tool that targeted anti-vaxxers in 18th Century France: fashionable hats!

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:53 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

1.26.15: The Secret History Of Women In The Senate & An Argument For Paid Maternity Leave

US Senate Chamber circa 1873.
Credit Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Male-only swimming pools, too few bathrooms, inappropriate sexual comments: On today’s show the secret--and not so honorable--history of women in the U.S. Senate.

Then, common wisdom tells us that half of marriages end in divorce. Turns out, the oft-quoted number is wrong. We’ll debunk the pervasive divorce rate myth. And, we’ll take an unfiltered look at the state of family and maternity leave in America.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
12:56 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

1.25.15: In Defense Of The Office, "Necro-Streaming", & The Problem With Woody Allen's Amazon Deal

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

From 9 to 5 to The Office, we’ve got plenty of examples of cookie-cutter cubicles where workers toil away in soul-crushing boredom and fatigue. On today’s show: in defense of office life.

Then, My So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development: all celebrated shows that fans argue were canceled too soon. A TV critic urges us to take pleasure in shows that have been given the axe prematurely.

And a critical take on Amazon’s deal to premiere Woody Allen’s first ever TV series, and why it may not be such a coup for the company. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:51 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

The Uncommon Core: Intro To Turfgrass & Golf Course Design

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Introduction to Turfgrass Management,  Golf Course Design and Construction , Turfgrass management and Irrigation, & Golf Course Management

“There is a split between students that like to play golf and students interested in horticulture, but I think that sometimes there’s a blend of both.  I think that it is important to be able to play golf, to understand the rules and the concerns of the players.”

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Word of Mouth
2:51 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

1.22.15: Changing Our Understanding Of Merit, Trapping Bed Bugs, & The Uncommon Core

Credit Benjamin Chun via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/bSXrxr

For students hoping to get into a competitive college or university, high SAT scores are crucial. On today’s show, law professor and civil rights activist argues that the SAT is a more accurate measurement of family wealth, race and ethnicity than merit. 

Then, The Uncommon Core, our series on offbeat college courses, continues with golf course management. We’ll also hear from a husband and wife research team going to great lengths to end the bedbug epidemic– including offering themselves up as food!

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:21 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

6 Films That Feature The Office As Supporting Actor

Credit Michael Lokner via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7kYSTb

The workplace/office has long been the source of gripes at the dinner table, but it is also a mainstay in Hollywood as an obstacle for movie characters to overcome or endure. The movie Office Space is an obvious example of an office playing an essential supporting role--or even the lead role--in a movie, so we didn't include it in the list. There are plenty more that didn't make the cut. Have a favorite? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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Word of Mouth
2:21 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

1.21.15: In Defense Of Office Life, Can We Save The Creative Class, & "Necro-Streaming"

Still from the 1967 film Playtime.
Credit Stephen Cole via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/AMuDH

From 9 to 5 to The Office, we’ve got plenty of examples of cookie-cutter cubicles where workers toil away in soul-crushing boredom and fatigue. On today’s show, we flip the script and hear a defense of office life. 

Print media circling the drain, record and film companies battling piracy, the rise of cheap, reality TV: while some sectors have bounced back from the recession, creative industries seem to remain in peril. A former arts reporter ponders the decline of the creative class and what society loses when artists can’t make a living.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
4:25 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

2nd Annual State Of The Union Bingo!

This is Bingo Card 1. Print the whole set below!
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Back by popular demand, it's the 2nd Annual Word of Mouth SOTU Bingo Card!

Planning on watching the State of the Union address this evening? Why not have a little fun and play State of the Union bingo with us! Simply print one--or the whole set if you're hosting a party--of our fancy bingo cards, and keep your eyes and ears open. We'll also be live-tweeting the speech, if you'd like to join the conversation online. It all kicks off at 9 p.m. sharp!  

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Word of Mouth
2:53 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

1.20.15: Fact Checking The SOTU, Digital Hoarding, & The Baby Blanket Standard

A Member of Congress wearing a ribbon in support of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., reads along as President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011
Credit Pete Souza / flic.kr/p/9dq2yf

If you’ve felt skeptical during a political speech, fear not! Politifact is fact-checking tonight’s State of the Union address and the Republican response in real time. On today’s show: how to truth squad a speech that has not yet happened, and the challenges of distinguishing fact from fiction in the political realm.

Then, in an age when so much information is kept in the cloud or on hard drives, hoarding is no longer a problem unique to the physical realm; we’ll talk to a self-diagnosed digital hoarder.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
11:05 am
Tue January 20, 2015

1.18.15: Invisible Primary, The New Puberty, & Understanding Comics

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary may be a year away, but presidential hopefuls are already jockeying for position. Today we’ll talk about why you should forget election fatigue and start paying attention to the race now.

Plus, it turns out that girls are growing up much faster than they used to. Why is this generation of girls going through puberty much earlier than previous ones?

Then, one of the world’s leading theorists on comics tells us how the brain interprets simple cartoons and symbols – much differently than words.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:31 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

1.15.15: The Invisible Primary and Authentic Brands

Credit cmh2315fl via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/neZUmD

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary may be a year away, but presidential hopefuls are already jockeying for position. Today,we’ll talk about why you should forget election fatigue and start paying attention to the race now – and we'll talk about signs that a politician is considering a run at the presidency.

And we'll continue our series on offbeat college courses, the Uncommon Core, with Beauty Pageants 101.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:36 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

1.14.15: The New Puberty, Hits And Misses From CES, & A History Of Cheerleading

Credit Maurizio Pesce via Flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/kJ2MCk

Kids grow up so fast…and it turns out that girls are growing up even faster. Why is this generation of girls going through puberty much earlier than previous ones?

And while the international Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may be over, journalist David Ewalt remains giddy after touring it. He’ll recap some of the best and worst product ideas he saw at the show.

And then we’ll take a look at the sordid history of cheerleading.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
4:18 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

1.13.15: Benefits Of Being Cold, Reinventing Comfort Food, & Making The Case For Snow Days

Credit Costel Slincu via Flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/jNs2ez

It’s going to be another cold week, so it’s time to turn up the thermostat, and pile on the blankets. Or maybe not. On today’s show, we consider the benefits of being cold.

Then, as winter progresses, school superintendents will grapple with whether or not to cancel school – we’ll hear the case for more snow days.

And a chef reinvents classic comfort food.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:31 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

1.12.15: Understanding Satire & The Invisible Art Of Comics

Credit Dinuraj K via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/eYeQHS

Last week’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris prompted an outpouring of support from satirists and comedians around the world. On today’s show a candid conversation with the former editor of The Onion on how the fake news magazine considered and created satire.

Then, one of the world’s leading theorists on comics tells us how the brain interprets simple cartoons and symbols -- much differently than words.

And we’ll get a sneak peak of NPR’s new show Invisibilia, which explores unseen phenomena in science and human behavior.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
4:12 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

The Onion's Former Editor: Satire Is A Careful Craft

Credit Steve Rhodes via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/epYJk

In the wake of Wednesday's attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the former editor of America's Fake News Source The Onion, Joe Randazzo wrote an op-ed piece for MSNBC in which he states, "Satire must always accompany any free society. It is an absolute necessity." Virginia spoke to Joe about his experiences while at The Onion and why satire, in its many forms should always have a place at the table.

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Word of Mouth
4:12 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

1.11.15: The Careful Craft Of Satire & Putin's Macho Power Play

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

Wednesday’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris prompted an international outpouring of support from satirists and comedians around the world. On today’s show, a candid conversation with the former editor of The Onion on the careful craft of satire.

Plus, the manliest man of Russia. A simple Google search reveals countless images of Vladimir Putin, riding horseback, hunting, and brandishing weapons. We’ll talk to a scholar about how the Russian leader uses machismo and gender stereotypes to build political legitimacy.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:52 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Sleeper Films Of 2014

Credit Sara Robertson via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7TR6o3

The Golden Globes are coming up, the event that will spark moviegoers to re-watch their favorite – now award-winning – films of 2014. But what about the other films of 2014, the ones that didn’t make the cut? We spoke to Amy Diaz about her list of “sleeper” films – films that are not nominated, but that you should pay attention to anyway. From The Babadook to The Obvious Child, Amy gave us some great suggestions about what to watch on a snow day.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Word of Mouth
1:23 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

The Uncommon Core - Invented Languages: Klingon & Beyond

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond

“I wanted to start teaching this course because I wanted a way to engage students in linguistics without having to actually teach them linguistics.  I wanted a kind of pop-culture back road into linguistics.  Also I’m a huge Star Trek fan.”

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Word of Mouth
1:20 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

1.8.15: Cuba's Internet, The Uncommon Core, & Sleeper Films Of 2014

Credit Ed Yourdon via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/bcz7De

Last month’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will restore diplomatic relations sparked waves of speculation about what the thaw means for diplomacy, trade, and tourism. On today’s show: what normalized relations mean for Cuba’s internet infrastructure.  

And we usher in awards season by going off the red carpet. We’ll celebrate some of the best films of 2014 that were not nominated for a Golden Globe.

Plus, we kick off a new series on offbeat college courses, The Uncommon Core. Today: Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:02 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Photoshopping Vladimir Putin

Putin on the Ritz.

Do a quick search of Vladimir Putin and you'll find a countless array of photoshopped images of the Russian leader riding a bear, a shark, a giraffe, an eagle and, because: puns, a Ritz® cracker.

There are a bevy of tumblr's devoted to photographs of Putin. Some are photoshop and mash-up photos, other are just " normal" photos of Putin, that manage to somehow appear photoshopped.

Uncomfortable Moments with Putin

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Word of Mouth
2:02 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

1.7.15: Putin's Macho Power Play & How To Think About Exercise

Credit Jedimentat44 via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/auAnDK

A simple Google image search reveals countless images of a shirtless Vladimir Putin, riding horseback, fishing, and brandishing weapons. On today’s show: how the Russian leader uses machismo and gender stereotypes to build political legitimacy.

Then, among the most popular New Year resolutions, getting in shape ranks close to the top, but less than 10% of weight-loss resolutions last. A philosopher shares his take on how we should think about exercise, in order to maintain a regimen.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:35 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

1.6.15: Classical Music Needs A Revolution & The Danger Of A Condiment Monoculture

Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra @ Oslo
Credit Miguel O. Strauss via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/89BTbC

Bankrupt orchestras, aging audiences, skyrocketing tuition at conservatories; the death knell for classical music in America is sounding again. On today’s show, a concert cellist offers some tough love for the classical music world.

Then we’ll investigate the condiment that brought down an empire. Among the disturbing parallels between America and the fall of Rome: over reliance on one condiment!

Plus: we’ll sample some of history’s craziest hangover cures. From fried canary to raw eel.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
2:34 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Word Of Mouth's Official Condiment Questionnaire

Credit Florian Schroiff via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4LGNke

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who submitted answers to our questionnaire. We'll leave it up in case some of you haven't had a chance to submit. Here's a link to the answers we've received so far: Questionnaire Results.

Overview of Results: These don't include the results of our panel.

Ketchup: Heinz or Hunts?

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Word of Mouth
1:29 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

1.5.15: The Internet's Last Refuge, The Brain As Fountain Of Youth, & Secret Sidekicks

Chat: Then and Now
Credit L: Blake Patterson R: The Verge / flic.kr/p/8Z7VsR | bit.ly/1pMBf6S

In the early days of the internet, millions flocked to chat rooms to connect with like minds – and bodies -- the world over. But the group chat was soon replaced by Facebook and Twitter…or was it? On today’s show, the group chat makes a comeback.

Then, western history is dominated by stories of great men and women, but we rarely hear about those who helped them along the way. We’ll unearth history’s secret sidekicks: from the man who encouraged Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to embrace pacifism, to Julia Warhol, who set her son Andy on a path to the art world.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
3:00 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

1.4.15: To Friend Or Unfriend, The Excrement Experiment, & Who To Follow On Twitter

Snow guns in full force at Crotched Mountain in Bennington, NH.
Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

The Ferguson decision, Eric Garner protests, immigration, all topics we avoid at the dinner table, but opinions run free on Facebook. On today’s show what to do when your Facebook friends make racist posts.

And, when it comes to Twitter followers, Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, and President Obama hold the top spots. We veer off social media’s beaten path to share some hidden gems in the twittersphere.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

1.1.15: Happy New Year!

Credit Thomas via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/96asVp

It’s official: 2015 is here. And with the New Year comes an opportunity for a fresh start. On today’s show, we’ll start 2015 on the right foot. Philosopher and historian Roman Krzanric discovers lessons for living a richer, more satisfying modern life, by looking for examples in the past. Plus, an inside look at the 11-billion-dollar self-help industry. We’ll talk to a writer who attended workshops, conferences and visualized success – all to better understand America’s fixation with self-improvement.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

A Walk Across The Country

Credit Chris-Håvard Berge via Flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7rv4JN

“Lying in bed right now, it's getting around 7, 7:15. I can tell by the sound of my voice I'm a little dazed...just hard to believe that I have 150 more nights. 150 more days of walking 20 miles or so...”

It was February 20th, 1992 and it was the first day of my walk across the country. Twenty snowy miles from Cambridge to Sudbury Massachusetts. I'd set my tent up in the woods beside Longfellow's famous Wayside Inn and sat in my sleeping bag with a handheld tape recorder and read what I'd just written in my journal.

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Word of Mouth
9:20 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Finding Laughter In Loss: A Comedian's Take On Impersonating Celebrities Who've Died

This story originally aired on 9/15/2014 

For Gilda Radner, it hinged on a slight speech disorder. “I’m Baba Wawa.” For Eddie Murphy it began when he was a child and would imitate what he saw on the screen: Buckwheat.

For Josh Ruben, it all starts with a breath.

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