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.

Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or find us on Stitcher.

Send us an email: Word of Mouth

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

dan glaser via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4kxUoz

The first Harry Potter book was published in Britain in 1997 – now with a major film franchise already behind us, a theme park, and countless bits of online fan fiction, those first seven  books serve Potter-fanatics as a source for life-lessons, inspiration and comfort - not unlike religious texts. Today, the podcast that reads Potter like the bible. 

Plus, we cover the coverage of the US Open. Some say this is the golden age of tennis - so why do so many Americans need to be convinced to care? A writer argues American tennis coverage needs a reboot.

Karen Kenney

Andre Dubus III's memoir Townie told the story of his violent childhood on the wrong side of the tracks. Writing was his way out, and he's made more than good, with multiple NYT bestsellers, an Oprah’s Book Club pick, and an Oscar-nominated film adaptation (for his novel The House of Sand and Fog). And he gets out there, as a public speaker and writing instructor for graduate programs, seminars and retreats. We caught up with him at New Hampshire Writers’ Project's annual Writers’ Day.

A Kettle of One

Sep 6, 2016
David Maher via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2PWhTk

Each autumn, New Hampshire birders are treated to abundant flocks of broad-winged hawks beginning to migrate south. This September, Word of Mouth’s favorite bird dude Eric Masterson will be biking across five time zones, 40 degrees of latitude and 5000 miles tracking the migration of the raptors. Why? Well, despite the hawks’ impressive numbers, little is known about their migration.

James Vaughan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cNWc4d

Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

And, want to guess how America's internet speed stack up to the rest of the world? Not even top 20... That means below Mongolia, Slovenia and dozens of other countries.Today, find out why the leader of the free world lags so far behind in fast -and affordable - access.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/84Dbc7

The BBC's list of the top 100 movies since 2000 included a lot of foreign and art house films, with hardly a blockbuster in the bunch. The internet peanut gallery was not pleased. Has anyone even seen these movies besides movie critics, they cried? Today, movie critic Ty Burr talks about the chasm between film buffs and mainstream movie goers.

Then, as we bid a fond farewell to August, it's time to catch up on worthwhile summer movies before the leaves  turn. The Hippo's Amy Diaz runs through a few you and the kids don't want to miss.

Jenn and Tony Bot via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8aVSNW

Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

And, an experienced philosophical take on a question that family, fortune and circumstance once made non-negotiable, and is now is the province of self-help books and fortune tellers... How do you choose a partner in a culture where everything is available and laid out like a superstore?

kento via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/89fdMQ

In states all across the country, the days of pot prohibition are coming to an end. Today, critics say new regulations favor so-called the "Walmart weed" industry and put the squeeze on home growers.

Plus, Derrick Hamilton has never been to law school - but that hasn't stopped him from filing federal complaints against inhumane treatment of inmates, and helping others obtain hearings. He also fought the wrongful that put him in jail for 21 years. We'll talk with a jailhouse lawyer who was set up, but still believes in the power of the law.

Fernando Stankuns via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5tSdbv

Presidential candidates talk a lot about what they'll do to jump start the economy. But what about local TV stations that rely on campaign ads to pay the bills? They're hurting. Today on the show, it may feel like all campaign, all the time, but not on TV.

And, the Rio Olympics have ended - and green pool and Ryan Lochte-gate aside, it wasn't half the disaster people feared. But now with the Paralympics just around the corner, and only a fraction of tickets sold, disaster might just get another chance.

8.24.16: Best Summer Listens

Aug 24, 2016
Allison Marchant via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4jZ1ad

So late August is just about the toughest time to produce a radio show, because just about everybody is on vacation  -  of course, that doesn't matter much for podcasts - these days with so much on-demand audio, our playlists are packed with great new shows, and fresh episodes from our long-time favorites. Since Virginia is off swimming in a lake somewhere, and all of the other newsmakers are off squeezing the last few drops out of summer, today we're going to do a summer playlist of staff podcast picks. 

Justin Green via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aMk5w2

With hefty endorsement deals from Speedo and Under Armour, now-retired Olympian Michael Phelps doesn't need a new job anytime soon.  But aren't you a little bit curious about just how much those twenty-two gold medals worth? Today, the true worth of an Olympic gold medal.

And from the best of sport to the worst of music - From Bob Dylan to Yoko Ono, audiences have long had a fascination with the off-beat or out of tune. So why do we love some bad singers, and love to hate others?

Playing Dead, Women of the Whites, & Half Wild

Aug 19, 2016
Scott Wylie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/pR8CVW

Today on the show, a writer explores the greatest escape plan: pseudocide... We'll hear about the global disappearance industry that plots, facilitates and forges documents for fake deaths - and the investigators who track them down.

And musician and author Robin MacArthur talks about her debut collection of short stories called Half-Wild, weaving tales from an untold side of Vermont, where double-wide trailers sit alongside swanky second homes, and old hippies and homesteaders carve a life out of the wilderness.

8.18.16: Utopia Drive & Overheard: August

Aug 18, 2016
James Vaughan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/e6efw9

In the early 1800s, America was new - a wide and blank slate for backwoods prophets, reformers and salvation seekers to create their own versions of paradise. Today, from Shakers to radicals to polygamists, a road trip through some of the nearly 200 utopian communities that emerged in the 19th century.

Then, on Overheard, a podcaster kicks objectivity to the curb at the RNC. Plus a viral meme that proves nobody really understands Olympic sailing. 

8.17.16: The Man With Made-Up Memories & Blood Brother

Aug 17, 2016

Dr . Martin Luther King Jr, Emmit Till, Medgar Evers  -  many sacrificed their lives during America's struggle  for civil rights. So did Jonathan Daniels, a white student from New Hampshire.Today, the authors of a new biography dig into Daniels' life and activism.

Plus, what makes up a memory? For years, filing cabinets or computer folders were used as metaphors for how our brains store and retrieve memories - the truth is a lot less reliable. One man's near-death experience reveals a lot about how and what we remember.

Women have always been drawn to the White Mountains. What surprises people is how many women have been leaders in shaping the region. The mountainous land gave women a place to explore their talents and creativity uninhibited by the constraints of urban life. 

The newest exhibition at the Museum of the White Mountains explores this history. It's called, Taking The Lead: Women and the White Mountains.

Blaise Alleyne via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/54QttY

Want to guess how America's internet speed stack up to the rest of the world? Not even top 20... That means below Mongolia, Slovenia and dozens of other countries.Today, find out why the leader of the free world lags so far behind in fast -and affordable - access.

Plus, love is complicated. Most people can agree that they want love in their life, but we are messy, imperfect beings and a lot of ways to get it wrong. From sibling resentments to misguided crushes to good old self delusion, one podcast is jumping in to take a closer look at love in all its forms.

Ben Beltran via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7uuhG8

In the 1968 Olympic games, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal stand - with the eyes of the world upon them - and raised their fists to the sky. Today, John Carlos talks about athletic activism today and the force of that protest nearly fifty years ago.

Plus, the multi-million dollar industry of suffering. A filmmaker explores why people pay money to grind through obstacle courses races through mud, icy ponds and electric shocks? Are we primitive beings taking flight from desk jobs? Or does running through fire just make for a better Facebook post?

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

Emily post said "never talk about politics or religion"... But with candidates so divisive, and voters so impassioned, it's a  tough rule to follow. Today, a polite guide to political conversation. First tip? Know what you're trying to accomplish.

Then, there are a lot of adjectives used to describe great white sharks: giant, fearsome, deadly. But author and animal lover Sy Montgomery has seen sharks up close and might choose another word - like sublime. 

Tom Wigley via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aWb3Uv

Poverty, suicide, and alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the two million Native Americans in the US - and at crisis levels on reservations. Today on the show, we'll look into one economic impediment: property rights.

And, women of the whites. A museum exhibit highlights how, from urban society, women took the lead in  developing access, accommodations and preservation of the paths and peaks of New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Amina Tagemouati via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rbxKAD

Today on the show, a writer explores the greatest escape plan: pseudocide... We'll hear about the global disappearance industry that plots, facilitates and forges documents for fake deaths - and the investigators who track them down.

And from Team Refugee to Superfan Mavis, a rundown of Olympic tweets, memes, and illegal gifs... Including a very photogenic Tongan flagbearer.

Here's What's Awesome: Rio Olympics Edition

Aug 10, 2016

The Olympics inspire us, thrill us, they engage us in the pursuit of what may seem impossible, and never have to leave our comfy chair. That's where Brady Carlson, our longtime awesomator, comes in to the picture as he observes the squabbles and strategies and fixations and silliness that happens online...sifts out the superfluous and brings it all to us.

Today Brady gives us a glimpse of the 2016 games in Rio in what will be his last run through the awesome filter for this program in this studio. Because, later this month, NHPR's  reporter and Weekend Morning Edition host and all around day brightener is heading to Wisconsin Public radio.   

Alex Eylar via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6VbpUm

Mugshots are considered to be public record by the American justice system. They're also a multi-million dollar source of revenue for internet scammers. Today on the show, an investigation of extortionist websites that hold people's images, and reputations for ransom.

Plus, the chancellor of a very unusual school talks about the growing business of cannabis, and a troupe of Muslim women form a B-Girl dance group and show the western world that just because you wear a hijab, doesn't mean you can't bust a move.  

PROJohn Carleton via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9MsoA9

The games have begun - the disastrous lead-up to the Rio Olympics has been overtaken by the spectacle of competition. Still, economists agree: hosting the games is a costly and complicated affair.  Today, we'll hear a thought experiment turned innovative solution: why not host the games in multiple cities at once?

Also today, the dog days of summer are suddenly getting shorter. As we near mid-August, perhaps you're nearing the end of your summer reading list. If you're looking for new titles to bring to the beach...we've got you covered.

Overlooked Books: Summer 2016 Edition

Aug 8, 2016

The dog days of summer have arrived, and as we near mid-August, perhaps you're nearing the end of your summer reading list. For those looking for new titles to bring to the beach. we've got you covered. Here with a list of the best overlooked books to add to your summer reading list are Michele Filgate, contributing editor at Literary Hub and board member of the National Book Critics Circle and Isaac Fitzgerald, books editor for BuzzFeed.

Jonathan Yeap via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/8tqUkG

By the time the 2016 Olympic opening ceremony kicks off in Rio, ranking rounds for one of the fastest growing sports will already have taken place--archery, not known for its high drama. On today’s show, Zen and the art of Olympic archery.

Then, a few days ago the AP news service blew the top off of a story that's been brewing for a while now. Despite what decades worth of guilt and dental advice might make you think, flossing might not actually be doing much for those pearly whites.

And for this month’s edition of Overheard, we invited NHPR reporter Emily Corwin and Senior Editor for Politics and Public Policy, Dan Barrick to share what they’re listening to.

James Walsh via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/eTgwy3

Whether it's savvy marketing, the mixology craze, or sudden affection for old- fashioneds, demand for  whiskey has reached an all-time high. But with barrel-aging process that takes years, keeping up with demand isn't easy. On today’s show we’ll look into the high-tech race to speed up whiskey production.

And musician and author Robin MacArthur talks about her debut collection of short stories called Half-Wild, weaving tales from an untold side of Vermont, where double-wide trailers sit alongside swanky second homes, and old hippies and homesteaders carve a life out of the wilderness.

Plus we'll find out what makes The Great British Baking Show such a welcome respite in the age of reality snark.

Ryan McGuire / http://gratisography.com/

Emily Post said: "Never talk about politics or religion.” But with candidates so divisive, and voters so impassioned, it's tough to follow that particular bit of advice. On today’s show, a polite guide to political conversation. First tip? Know what you're trying to accomplish.

Later in the show, we'll look at why Chicago is still paying for its failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics, and talk to the author of a new book who traced the tracks of extreme skier Doug Coombs, from earning his chops on New Hampshire's slopes to his tragic death on a mountain in France.

Writers on a New England Stage: Daniel Silva

Aug 1, 2016
David J. Murray / cleareyephoto.com

Daniel Silva was a journalist based in the Middle East before he published his first novel in 1996. That story, The Unlikely Spy hit the New York Times best-sellers list and introduced the world to Gabriel Allons -- a Mossad assassin turned art restorer. Now 16 novels into the series, Allons is known as "The Jewish James Bond" and has joined the pantheon of legendary fictional spies that includes George Smiley, Jack Ryan, and Jason Bourne.

7.28.16: No Man's Sky, Star Trek Fan Films, & 10MWW

Jul 28, 2016
Jane Dominguez via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8EPL7K

On today's show: a look into the strict guidelines CBS and Paramount have set for those Star Trek fan films, a game reviewer gives us a sneak peek at a revolutionary new game called No Man's Sky which puts players into an unfathomably large universe, and the latest installment of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop with acclaimed author Judy Blume. 

7.27.16: Tesla vs. Consumer Reports & The Bookshelf

Jul 27, 2016
Marc van der Chijs via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/zT6hwJ

On today's show, taking a critical look at the Tesla's autopilot feature with Consumer Reports, a look back at when we first heard about robots making delicious hamburgers, Sean Hurley does a dramatic [robotic] reading of a job posting at the robot hamburger restaurant, and we listen in to Peter Biello's conversation with author, illustrator, and banjo player Marek Bennett.

Fuse809 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], / via Wikimedia Commons

If you could take a pill that would enhance your concentration, increase your productivity, and reduce your stress levels, would you do it? Or is that cheating? On today’s show, the science and ethics behind a growing class of so-called "smart-drugs". 

Plus, a portrait of bias: in the aftermath of the great depression, the WPA commissioned hundreds of interviews with former slaves and descendants of slaves and recorded their stories as part of the Federal Writer's Project. However, the circumstances under which the interviews were collected have given researchers pause.

Pages