Word of Mouth

Airs at 2 pm Monday through Thursday, weeknights at 9 pm, and noon on Sundays.

Word of Mouth is the sound of new ideas, hosted by Virginia Prescott

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In Conversation With Richard Russo

10 hours ago
Camille Gévaudan via Wikimedia Commonc CC

Today, a conversation with Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool, which was adapted into a film starring Paul Newman as Donald "Sully" Sullivan -  a quick-witted under-achiever eking out a living in a decaying factory town.

6.23.16: How We Can Be More Nordic & Citizen Khan

Jun 23, 2016
Valerio Fuoglio via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/dcPCcv

Bernie Sanders’ proposals for free education and healthcare were flatly rejected by those who said "we are not Denmark". A new book argues that the policies and protections in Nordic countries don't work because of shared benevolence, but because they benefit everyone's selfish interests. Today, a Finnish expat gives the US a pep talk.

Then, Zarif Khan migrated to America in the early 20th century and became prosperous and beloved in his Wyoming town...though the law prevented his citizenship.

Elias Levy via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/orHiFR

There are a lot of adjectives used to describe great white sharks:  Giant. Fearsome. Deadly.  But author and naturalist Sy Montgomery has seen sharks up close and might choose another word - like sublime. Today, the ocean's most mysterious and misunderstood predator gets a closer look.

Then, maybe you heard about the guy visiting Yellowstone who put a cold, abandoned baby buffalo in his car and drove it to a ranger station.  Attempts to reunite the little guy with its herd failed and it was euthanized - inciting an online riot over how humans interact with wild animals. 

Holly via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9njS1o

With a divisive candidate at the top of the ticket, some republicans up for re-election in 2016 are looking to pivot their campaigns towards local issues. But can these low-level contenders avoid being tarred by the brush of presidential politics?

On today’s show, how Democrats and outside groups plan to play the trump card against local GOP candidates.

Also today, crowd sourced ratings of movies, TV and music allow everybody to chime in, but from movie critics boycotting the new Ghostbusters movie, to dismissing Taylor Swift songs as shallow, the whiff of sexism is all over online reviews...or is it?

Listen to the full show:


In Conversation With Russell Banks

Jun 20, 2016

Russell Banks is one of contemporary fiction's most acclaimed writers. With six short story collection and more than a dozen novels to his credit, Banks has portrayed the hard scrabble lives of people hemmed in by class, race and geography. 

Virginia sat down with Russell Banks in front of a live audience at the Shapiro Library and Learning Commons at Southern New Hampshire University. The event commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the SNHU's Master of Fine Arts in Fiction and Non-Fiction program. 

Happy Father's Day

Jun 17, 2016
http://gph.is/1sHPC2C

Writers On A New England Stage: Grace Helbig

Jun 16, 2016
Sara Plourde / NHPR

On today's show, it's Writers on a New England Stage with Grace Helbig, recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Helbig is everything you’d expect in an internet superstar: funny, extremely photogenic, self-deprecating, and little known to people over 30. 

Writers On A New England Stage: Alexander McCall Smith

Jun 15, 2016
Sara Plourde

Today on Word of Mouth it's Writers on a New England Stage with Alexander McCall Smith, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.  Best known as the author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, McCall Smith made his living for many years as an esteemed lawyer, medical law professor, and international authority on medical ethics and bioethics. 

aaronmahnke.com

A bona fide podcasting star, Aaron Mahnke has turned his love of the darker side of history into the spooky smash hit, Lore, which he researches and authors.

He's also the author of four thrillers (Grave Suspicion being his latest), a veteran of self-publishing, and handy with an 80s film reference.

Listen to the interview below.

Writers On A New England Stage: Patti Smith

Jun 14, 2016
(C) Hear and There Photography, CC BY 4.0 / http://on.fb.me/1QGOtR4

On today's show, it's Writers on a New England Stage with Patti Smith, recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. A poet, musician, and photographer, Smith is often called “the godmother of punk”. She co-wrote the radio hit "Because the Night" with Bruce Springsteen, but soon afterward she stepped off stage to move to Detroit and raise her family. It was with the publication of Just Kids in 2010 that she transformed from downtown cult figure to National Book Award-winning writer. 

American Dueling Grounds, Chuck Klosterman, & SpaceX

Jun 10, 2016
Nat Welch / https://flic.kr/p/dZ3KLR

Dueling was once a common part of the American experience. Today, we’ll learn more about this history and some popular dueling spots that that public can still visit today.

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

Eric Constantineau via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aqAzXP

Dueling was once a common part of the American experience. Today, we’ll learn more about this history and some popular dueling spots that that public can still visit today.

Then, Legos encourage kids and adults alike to build and create new worlds and aside from the rage you might feel when you step on one of those little bricks barefoot, Legos remain a relatively peaceful toy. Despite that reputation, Legos have gotten more violent over the years - and there’s decades of evidence to prove it. 

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/sc9pR8

In July, nutrition fact labels  will see their first major overhaul in twenty years. Among the changes, a jumbo version of the calorie number - three times bigger than the rest of the listed information. Today, if we focus too much on calories, do we miss the bigger problem?

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

RICARDO PABLO via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/qTaa3F

Psychiatrists have noticed an increase in patients who believe they are subjects of a reality TV show. Today, we learn about “the Truman Show delusion,” and the provocative hypothesis linking psychosis not only to brain chemistry and genetics, but culture and environment.

Then, studies on television viewing habits can be confusing: it shortens lifespans, improves sex-lives, decreases motor skills, and builds empathy. But what if it were your job to be glued to the tube?

Phillip LeConte via flickr Creative COmmons / https://flic.kr/p/9ECTMu

Cell phones, commercials, social media - wherever you are, whatever you're doing - something else is trying to get your attention.

On today’s show an author and motorcycle mechanic on why not everything can be engaging. And how overcoming boredom and mastering focus are essential skills in the age of distractibility.

Then, a segment composed almost entirely of our own distractions here at Word of Mouth - for our monthly installment of Overheard - a curated collection of online ephemera that's just about guaranteed to get you to Google while you listen.

Overheard - June Edition

Jun 6, 2016

We spend a lot of time researching stories, looking for segment ideas, and listening to hours of audio. In part because it's our job, but also because we like it! For the June Edition of Overheard, we welcome the newest member of our team Jimmy Gutierrez and we all share the best--and weirdest--audio stuff we've discovered recently. 

Little Marcy made her way into Jimmy's album collection recently and now he has done us all a kindness by sharing it for his first Overheard. 

Justin Ennis via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/juNFgM

It feels like summer. Time to head to the coast, the lake, or local pool. The urge to jump into water may feel instinctive on a hot day, but swimming is a learned behavior for humans. Today, an historian says that by learning to swim a little, humans have learned to drown a lot.

Plus, Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Richard Russo joins me for the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop. He talks about shedding pretentiousness, learning humility, and why the hapless citizens in the decaying mill town of his youth keep coming up in novels like Nobody's Fool and Empire Falls.

matthew chamberlain via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/68u1pz

Canadian officials are allowing some residents back to the scorched remains of Fort McMurray in Alberta. The colossal fire that began there in early May is still burning, and destroyed more than 2000 homes. Today, predictions that the next major fire disaster could be much closer to home.

Plus, canceling a wedding isn’t just emotionally traumatic - it can be a financial disaster. Now, websites are popping up to help unhappy couples sell their canceled weddings to thrifty couples looking to get hitched on the cheap.

Ulf Bodin via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/qwhVkN

Public concern about concussions has mostly centered around football and other male-dominated sports. But another population experiences concussions at an even higher rate...female athletes. Today, some alarming research on the frequency, diagnosis and treatment of concussions in women and girls.

Then, we may be on the verge of the next major milestone in long-distance running: the sub two-hour marathon - that's if one scientist has his way. So, can new technology, training and even genetic selection make people run long distances even faster?

5.30.16: Happy Memorial Day

May 30, 2016
Bill Dickinson via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/c6kur7

Each Memorial Day, the country comes together to remember the fallen – but history hasn’t always been so kind. When President Lincoln was assassinated, many publicly celebrated his death...and not just in the south. 

On today’s show, we’ll shatter the myth of a country united in mourning. Then, we'll look at why some important historical events go entirely unremembered – like the sinking of the Sultana, America’s deadliest maritime disaster. 

Listen to the full show:

Athenamama via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/JpXUh

Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn are familiar names, but what about Caccini, Strozzi, and Maconchy? Today, we hear sounds and stories from the forgotten female composers of classical music.

Then, one sales strategy has stood the test of time, making the transition from 1950s house parties to digital media - multilevel marketing, or direct sales. But what might seem like an awkward annoyance is actually changing social dynamics for hundreds of thousands of women. 

Writers on a New England Stage: Joe Hill

May 25, 2016
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Joe Hill is the author of several short story collections, the Locke & Key comic book series, and best-selling novels The Heart-Shaped Box, NOS4A2, and Horns. He joined Virginia Prescott for a conversation for Writers on a New England Stage in Portsmouth on May 16, 2016.

Cliff via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6buvmh

Among the complaints about the presidential campaign on social media or talking with friends: how come the mainstream media never covers this candidate, those facts, that scandal. Today, is the media really dropping the ball?

Then, last fall, the aids health foundation launched a billboard campaign in Los Angeles linking mobile dating apps like Tinder and Grindr to the spread of STDs. The foundation charged that these apps are making casual sex as easily available as ordering a pizza. Now a start-up called Mately is banking that online daters will pay a premium to know the sexual history of their potential hook-ups

Mack Male via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/nh5sxm

Rifles or ruffles? Guns or glitter? Today, themed gender reveal parties are a growing trend among expectant parents...how does all the fanfare over proclaiming an unborn child's sex fit into the evolving conversation about gender identity?     

Then, a new surprisingly accurate metric emerges for determining if a tech company's bubble is about to burst. It has nothing to do with stocks or quarterly earnings reports - the answer might be in your basement.

Writers On A New England Stage: Lesley Stahl

May 19, 2016
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

As a reporter and White House correspondent for CBS News, Lesley Stahl covered Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis and the Gulf War. Her investigative work for 60 minutes brought her from America's nuclear mission control centers to Guantanamo Bay. She's interviewed heads of state, traumatized soldiers, Iraqi rebels, teenage gospel stars, and deftly refereed pitched debates on Face the Nation.  With a shelf full of Emmys, Murrow Awards and a few memorable scoops behind her, Lesley Stahl says becoming a grandmother is her best assignment yet.  

Roger Davies via flickr Creative Commons/Modification: Logan Shannon / NHPR

As college kids move back to campus, one Ivy League insider says that elite universities aren’t producing independent thinkers, but high functioning sheep. On today’s show: the downside of being among the best and the brightest.

Then, oh, the tales bellhops and hotel maids could tell. And many have shared stories of walking in on or cleaning up after some unsavory scenes. Concierges, on the other hand, tend to get a more polite view of guests - along with some fairly ridiculous questions. Later in the show, an inside look at the concierge, including how to tip. 

emerysteele via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aZVRG2

The ad agency for Royal Caribbean chose a lively, catchy tune for a series of commercials for the cruise line, but it didn’t exactly match the wholesome, fun loving image they were trying to promote. On today’s show we’ll explore how the power of sound can make or break an experience.

Then, we’ll speak with the Israeli musician known as Kutiman, about crafting an album made entirely of unrelated sound samples from YouTube videos.

Ed Yourdon via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7umThC

To catch a thief, you have to think like one. To prevent a crime, you have to case a joint like a potential infiltrator and find the weak spots. Today, an architecture and design critic gives us a burglars eye view of the built environment

Plus, humans respond to architecture on measurable cognitive and physiological levels - which means boring cities take a steep toll on our bodies and our minds.

madichan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8ivzgd

Radio broadcast news from the front during World War II. Vietnam was captured on television. Today, uncensored scenes from Syria's civil war are uploaded onto YouTube by the thousands.  Now, we’re learning what amateur videos reveal about Syria's brutal war.

Then, the intersection between technology and food makes a lot of people wary. Concerns over industrialized food, GMOs and big agriculture’s profit motive have sparked a foodie movement that demands whole, responsibly grown fare. On today’s show, an agricultural economist says high tech methods are crucial when it comes to confronting obesity, environmental degradation, and global hunger.

Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6q9vFQ

It's called poverty tourism: guided visits to slums and shantytowns for close-up view of locals living in the shadows of landmarks and luxury hotels. Today, the pros and cons of straying off the typical tourist path.

Then, media outlets, pop culture blogs, TV re-cappers and social media are all potential spoilers for others who've yet to see a blockbuster or hit show. Yet global social media thrives on discussion in real time...so what's a person to do? Vulture polled its readers to find out the best approach for spoiler etiquette and we spoke with a TV and movie critic about the results. 

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