Word of Mouth

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

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

The Granite State is graying and has been for decades - so what does that mean for the state's younger population? Today, we're taking to the streets to investigate one listener's question: Why does Portsmouth shut down at 9:00pm?

Then, we talk to Stay, Work, Play New Hampshire - whose goal is attracting more 20 and 30 somethings to the state, and we'll learn about the built-in advantages of living in a state the size of New Hampshire.

And we'll hear from singer and cellist Ben Sollee ahead of his performance in Concord at the Cap Center.

All over New Hampshire, towns are divided into even smaller communities; Barnstead contains Center Barnstead, Barnstead Parade, and South Barnstead. There’s Conway, North Conway and Center Conway. Chocorua, South Tamworth, Wonalancet, and Whittier - are all part of the town of Tamworth.

This prompted a listener to our Only in New Hampshire series to write in and ask ,why are so many towns split up this way?

NHPR’s Molly Donahue found the answer to that question with a visit to Grafton.

Listen to the story:

Village Names, Unincorporated Towns, & Civics 101

Sep 8, 2017

Every New Hampshire town has a past - though not always remembered with pride.    This week on the show, we explore the stuff you might not see on a postcard. Like how unincorporated places function...no town government? No rules? Plus, we’ll talk to Howard Mansfield about opening our eyes to the extraordinary revelations that live side by side with ordinary village life. Join us as we dig into the habits, histories, hidden gems of small town life.

mwms1916 via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/T2RUKY

As part of our continuing series Only in NH, in which listeners ask questions about the state and their communities, we sometimes hear from people much closer to our newsroom.

In this case, we got a question from NHPR's own Digital Director, Rebecca Lavoie. (And we should note, Rebecca's also a true crime author, so that may have influenced her curiosity!) 

She asked:

For generations, the Old Man of the Mountain gazed out from Franconia Notch, but fourteen years after its collapse, a listener asks if maybe it's time to move on? On this week's show, we investigate all the ways the granite profile that was, is still deeply rooted in the state's identity. 

Plus we'll report on what you had to say when it comes to a possible replacement, should the fateful day ever come when the state decides to change its official emblem.

Word of Mouth Presents: Intelligence Squared

Aug 29, 2017

We've heard from a number of Word of Mouth fans wondering why we haven't been producing a lot of new shows. The answer is that we're going local -- we're pulling out of our weekday afternoon spot and re-launching as a weekly/weekend show that answers questions, shares the stories, and explores the place we call home. Our new, New Hampshire centric show kicks off on Saturday, September 2nd at 11am - right after Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, so don't miss it.  In the meantime, we're still playing you some of our favorite shows you don't usually get to hear - and this week we’re sharing some episode from Intelligence Squared U.S.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

In our continuing Only in New Hampshire series, we answer your questions and explore your state. Today, producer Hannah McCarthy find an explanation for what may be the state's most perplexing intersection.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Have you ever come to a familiar stretch of road, only to find that it's been transformed into something...alien? Something few people seem to understand? And makes fools of drivers everywhere? Well, you're not the only one who's frustrated.

This week on Word of Mouth, we're taking a spin around the intersection that people love to hate: roundabouts, which are replacing traffic lights and stop signs across the country. So, why are engineers so enamored of these things people love to hate? Or are they just misunderstood?

We'll also learn about the hidden ecosystem that is thriving on the not-so-deserted island of a local roundabout.

Via NH DOT Facebook page

As part of our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we're answering questions posed by Granite Staters about their communities. Producer Hannah McCarthy answered this one:

Samer asks: "Why is there no exit 21 on I-93 North?"

Episode 50: U.S. Voting Systems

Aug 22, 2017

When you cast your ballot in a national election, you’re participating in a specific kind of voting system. But what about the other methods of choosing your candidate and counting your vote? There are systems that approach voting in very different ways… and ways of determining how fair a voting system really is. Producer Hannah McCarthy and Eric Maskin, Harvard Professor of Economics and Nobel Memorial Prize winner, guide us through majorities, pluralities and the ways we make our choices. 

Adam Moss via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/nC7L4L

The white supremacist movement went public last week in Charlottesville--an ugly wake-up to a growing racist movement. On today’s show, we'll get a racial reality check from a teacher at one of the state's most exclusive private schools.    

Plus, calls to confront America’s racial legacy extend from coast-to-coast and above the Mason-Dixon line. We'll hear about the challenges of being a student of color at the University of New Hampshire--both past and present.

Word of Mouth Presents: Dinner Party Download

Aug 17, 2017

"Look Up and Listen!" is an audio odyssey designed to reacquaint the busy human with the wonders of nature! Hosts Rico and Brendan-- two bonafide city slickers-- will stumble their way through the woods (and ultimately into space, and around the world) gleaning wisdom about the great outdoors from unexpected sources: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Feist, Fleet Foxes, a talking wolf named "Nick Offerman," and more. This hour is best experienced OUTSIDE, so pack a night picnic, lay out a blanket...and look up and listen. ("LUAL!" is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.)

Word of Mouth Presents: Masters of Scale

Aug 15, 2017

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman explores theories about scale that are bold, new and sometimes contrarian. It’s a series that easily jumps fields, connecting the dots between seemingly disparate stories, all with the aim of illuminating big concepts and simple hacks that can change everything. Much more than an interview program, Masters of Scale is a genre-defining series on how to think boldly and differently about the world.

From Small Mountains to Twin Peaks

Aug 11, 2017
Logan Shannon / New Hampshire Public Radio

Diehard New Hampshire hikers tend to fixate on four-thousand footers, but as any peak bagger who's climbed Owl's Head or Mount Isolation knows, big mountains aren't always the best mountains.

On today’s show, a day out with a heartwarming hiking group that's been shouldering packs since 1979: the Over the Hill Hikers.

We continue with a seemingly simple listener question about the Wapack Range that sends our producer into a geological can of worms for this week's Only in New Hampshire segment.

And, Twin Peaks is back and weirder than ever. We’ll talk to Kristine McKenna, the author who collaborated on a forthcoming memoir and biography of David Lynch, about the filmmaker's life and career. David Lynch is being honored at this year’s Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.

Via the NH Division of Historical Resources

As part of our continuing series Only in New Hampshire, we're answering questions posed by Granite Staters about their communities. Producer Molly Donahue tackled this one:

"Is it true the NH Division of Historic Resources has a secret list of archaeological site locations to protect them from looting and development?"

The short answer? Yes. (Sort of.)


Photo courtesy of the Over the Hill Hikers

There are loads of hiking groups in New Hampshire—groups for women, families with young kids, birders...a quick search on Facebook will turn up one or more that fits your style. The Over the Hill Hikers club has been climbing New Hampshire’s mountains since 1979. Back then, the group's schedule was mailed out by hand. 

Word of Mouth's Virginia Prescott recently took a hike with the club, and came back with plenty of stories to tell.

Via the NH State Parks Blog

When we started asking for questions from our listeners about the state, we got pages and pages of submissions online; so many we couldn’t answer them all. 

So I combed through and picked one that sounded interesting to me. And that’s how I ended up calling a woman named Jen, and asking one of the stupidest questions I’ve ever asked.

Paul Hutchinson is a Boston University lecturer and co-curator of an exhibit on New Hampshire’s summer camp history.  It's on view at the Museum of the White Mountains in Plymouth until September 13. I went to the museum to see the exhibition and to talk to Paul about the long history our state has as a summer camp getaway. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spofford_Lake,_Chesterfield,_NH.jpg#/media/File:Spofford_Lake,_Chesterfield,_NH.jpg

Kelly’s dad grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She remembers her father, George, telling stories of growing up in "Irish Harlem", a pretty rough neighborhood squeezed between Spanish Harlem, Black Harlem and Columbia University. George was a straight-up "city kid", but each summer from about the age of 6 or 7, until he was a tween, George escaped to New Hampshire, and a Catholic boy’s camp called Camp Notre Dame on Spofford Lake.   

Summer Camps, Only in NH, & Civics 101

Aug 4, 2017
Photograph courtesy of Camp Pasquaney

New Hampshire is the mainspring for America’s summer camp story. The birthplace of a tradition that has shaped the lives of not only local kids, but kids we'd now call "at risk". Kids who'd never been out of their city or even neighborhood. And a number of celebrities spent their summers tucked away at Squam, Spofford, or Winnipesaukee lakes. People, like Paul Fireman, the founder of Reebok. James Frey, the once disgraced then quasi-redeemed author of A Million Little Pieces. Actors and siblings Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, Fight Club's Edward Norton; The Breakfast Club's Judd Nelson. Generations of adults forged in the shared experience of camp, the bunk-beds, the letters home, the bug bites and the bad food.

Today on Word of Mouth, we go back to camp. Plus we’ll answer one of your questions from the Only in New Hampshire mail bag, and we’ll go to civics class to learn more about The Speaker of the House. 

Word of Mouth Presents: Selected Shorts

Aug 1, 2017

This week we continue our summer audio tour of some of the best podcasts and programs we've heard. On Tuesday, we begin a trio of specials from Selected Shorts. If you're not familiar with the show, it's made from recordings of primo actors reading short stories and distributed by PRI, Public Radio International.

On today's show:

  • Only in NH: You asked, we answered! Why does New Hampshire still require annual car inspections? NHPR's Casey McDermott went in search of answers. 
  • Our very own Jimmy Gutierrez talked to Margaret Gillespie a naturalist at Squam Lake Science Center about Animals with Bad Reputations and then talked to the team about a creature that might deserve its bad rap: the tick.  You can visit the Red Barn Speaker Series at the New Hampshire Audubon to hear a talk about some animals who get a bad rap, and why you might want to give them a second chance. 
  • Keb' Mo stops by WMOT Roots Radio to discuss how he lives life and how he loves music, including his new TajMo collaboration with Taj Mahal. Listen again at PRX.org.

IIP Photo Archive via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/Pj7gW9

On today's show: 

Kris Williams via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/hdFDUU

On today's show: 

7.25.17: Nerdette's Summer Homework Special

Jul 25, 2017
Nathan Oakley via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/fHEvdT

On today's show, we're tuning into WBEZ's Nerdette, hosted by Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen! In this Summer Homework Special, we’ll get homework assignments from astrophysicists, writers, sex therapists, and even Tom Hanks.

Ghostowns, Civics 101, & Andrew Greer

Jul 21, 2017
Logan Shannon for NHPR

On today's show:

NHPR/Sara Plourde

The woods of New Hampshire are scattered with signs of civilization: crumbling foundations, railroad spikes, scraps of unidentifiable metal.

Find enough of these in one place, and you're probably looking at a ghost town - a place people once called home, and have long-since abandoned. 

Ben McLeod via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2xMv5

On today's show: 

Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/d6GCKA

On today's show: 

Adam D. via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/UnziBL

On today's show: 

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