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

Want to get an email when we publish a new podcast episode? Click to subscribe.

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
12:30 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

11.30.14: Nuclear Tourism, Computers That Deceive, & M.C. Escher

Credit mbeo via flickr Creative Commons

Some people spend their vacations relaxing on a beach, others visit museums and fine restaurants. On today’s show we go off the beaten path to look into nuclear tourism. A science writer visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, and finds it not the wasteland you may expect.

Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks, we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

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

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Word of Mouth
1:04 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Spatchcocking 101 & Cranberry Salami: New Techniques For The Classics

Credit RoadSidePictures via flickr Creative Commons

When Thanksgiving rolls around every year, do you stick to the script, or do you like to experiment to make the feast a little more memorable? With the big day looming, J.M. Hirsch joined Taylor in studio to talk about some new ways to cook the time honored tradition of roast turkey plus, ways to satisfy all of your guests without too much extra effort.

If you've got some great tips for making Thanksgiving great, let us know in the comments or join the conversation on our Facebook page. Bon appétit!

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Word of Mouth
1:04 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Good Gig: Photographer David Murray

I had the honor of photographing US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at her appearance at a Writers on a New England Stage show at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. At the end of the evening she grabbed ny camera and thrust it into TMH's Executive Di
© David J. Murray ClearEyePhoto.com

Photographer David Murray started his career as a professional photographer after he retired from his 30-year career in Silicon Valley. As the principal house photographer for The Music Hall in Portsmouth he has photographed musicians, dancers, and writers among others.

Much of his work involves capturing candid moments, moments when performers don’t even know he’s looking at them through the lens of his camera

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Word of Mouth
1:04 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

11.26.14: Spatchcocking 101, Saving A Dying Language, & Good Gig

Collage and modifications by Sara Plourde & Logan Shannon
Credit Turkey: Steve Voght Snowy Scence: ingrid eulenfan / via flickr Creative Commons

For many, Thanksgiving is a time to pull out those tried-and-true family recipes, but why not try something new this year? On today’s show,  new approaches to thanksgiving dinner, from dry brining your turkey to spatchcocking 101. And our series Good Gig, conversations with people who have landed their dream job, continues with a professional photographer who has captured the live performances of everyone from Herbie Hancock to Tony Bennett. Plus, a look at efforts to bring an endangered Native American language back from the brink.

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

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Word of Mouth
2:01 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

A Photographer's Quest To Capture America's Vanishing Rest Stops

Near Organ, New Mexico - US 70
© Ryann Ford - All Rights Reserved

Last year we interviewed photographer Ryann Ford about a project she was working on: traveling the country to preserve the humble American rest stop through a series of photographs. These are relics of a time when most people traveled by car on vacations, and as new super stops pop up along highways, the simple rest stop is becoming extinct.

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Word of Mouth
1:58 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

11.25.14: The 100 Most Cited Scientific Papers, The Postdoc Glut, & Megan Amram

Credit Driek via flickr Creative Commons

A postdoctoral appointment, commonly known as a “postdoc”, was once considered an apprenticeship position to help scientists hone their skills before one day running labs of their own. On today’s show, has the postdoc appointment become a temporary purgatory? And colonial history, one panel at a time.  As kids we’re taught the basics about the Mayflower, the Salem witch trials, and the first Thanksgiving. A new collection aims to broaden our perspective on the period, through an unusual medium.

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

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Word of Mouth
2:19 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

11.24.14: The Empathy Deficit, Mountain Dew Gambles on Oculus Rift, & The Password As Keepsake

Credit associés via flickr Creative Commons

Empathy, the ability to share in the emotions of another, has been on the decline since the 1980s, with the steepest drop occurring in the past ten years. So what’s the big deal?

On today’s show, how to become a more empathetic human being. 

Then, from birth dates as ATM pins to jokey answers to security questions, a look at the surprisingly deep tales our passwords tell.

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

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Word of Mouth
12:44 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

On Demand: Six Films Featuring Dysfunctional Families To Prepare You For Thanksgiving Dinner

In our monthly segment "On Demand," we help improve your movie nights by offering suggestions for films that are currently streaming on Netflix Instant.   This month, we thought we’d do something a little different.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are five classic films about family that you wouldn’t exactly call “family films.”  If you’re gearing up for a visit from your own eccentric relatives, this queue will remind you that it could be a lot worse.

Word of Mouth
3:13 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

11.23.14: The Right To Vape & Birds That Stay North For The Winter

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

Not so long ago, most parents had a pretty simple stance on pot : just say no. But legalization has made the conversation a lot more complicated. On today’s show: how to talk to your kids about marijuana.

Plus, a look at the strange subculture behind the Oxford dictionary’s 2014 word of the year: vape. More on an e-cigarette industry that’s projected to reach 10 billion dollars in the next 3 years.

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

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Word of Mouth
1:56 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

The Birds Of Winter

Credit Chesapeake Bay Program via flickr Creative Commons

Heading south for winter is tempting for humans even in early November. And while many birds do fly south to escape the New Hampshire winter, a fair number of our feathered friends stick around and brave the snow and cold.

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Word of Mouth
1:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

11.20.14: Talking To Kids About Marijuana, Extreme Daycare, & Birds Who Brave Winter

Credit Ryan Van Lenning / via flickr Creative Commons

Not so long ago, when talking to kids about marijuana, the script for parents was simple: just say no. But legalization has made the conversation more complicated. On today’s show, how to talk to kids about marijuana.

Then we examine a growing issue for some working parents: the forever clock. From all-night diners to big box stores that never close, our economies run 24-7. We’ll take a look at the latest in around-the-clock service: 24 hour day care.

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

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Word of Mouth
1:15 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

The Modern Bra Turns 100

Roman mosaic depicting female athletes.
Via Wikimedia commons

Over the last 100 years they’ve been bought, sold, cherished, and burned. When Caresse Crosby filed a patent application for a "backless brassiere" in 1914, she likely never thought she'd see a day when a diamond encrusted bra worn by a super model would make headlines. From ancient Roman mosaics to Gautier's designs that Madonna famously wore, the bra has gone through a lot of changes over the years.

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Word of Mouth
1:15 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

11.19.14: Against The Word 'Reform' & Cory Doctorow's Laws For The Internet Age

100 years ago this month, a young socialite decided to ditch her corset and slipped into a little something more comfortable. On today’s show, a retrospective of the modern bra, from Jane Russell to Victoria’s Secret. 

Plus, Cory Doctorow shares his thoughts on creativity and profit in the digital age. And we return with a plea from a Chicago Tribune columnist who believes it’s high-time journalists stop overusing the word “reform” in their reporting.

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

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Word of Mouth
1:05 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

The Star Wars Devotion Is Strong With This One

Bob as Darth Vader at home plate.
Courtesy of Bob Gouveia

When we spoke with Chris Taylor about his new book, How Star Wars Conquered The Universe, the discussion focused on the role fandom has played and continues to play in shaping the Star Wars franchise. Immediately following the first film's release, Star Wars super fans were born:

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Word of Mouth
1:05 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

10.20.14: The Star Wars Universe & What Your Browser History Says About You

Credit Tom Simpson via flickr Creative Commons

The first Star Wars film may have been released 37 years ago, but its hold on the popular imagination remains as strong as Darth Vader’s death-grip. On today’s show, a look at the role fandom has played in the success of the Star Wars franchise.

Plus, from data collection to the latest internet tracking technology, online advertisers go to great lengths to find out who we are and what we like. We’ll enter the world of intelligent marketing to find out just how much, or little, they really know about us.

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

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Word of Mouth
2:09 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Aasif Mandvi: No Land's Man

Aasif Mandvi talked to Virginia about his new collection of essays, No Land’s Man and about the time he got a call from The Daily Show to come in for an audition.

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Word of Mouth
2:09 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

11.17.14: Aasif Mandvi & No Plot? No Problem! Writing A Book In 30 Days

Aasif Mandvi at RISK! December 9th, 2010
Credit 92Y Tribeca via flickr Creative Commons

Since his debut on The Daily Show, Aasif Mandvi has held such titles as “Senior Muslim Correspondent”, “Senior Middle East Correspondent” and “Senior Foreign Looking correspondent”. On today’s show, Aasif Mandvi tells us why he almost didn't take the job.

Plus, between Thanksgiving, holiday preparation, and dealing with a general lack of sunlight, the month of November can be overwhelming, but one writer is making the case that it’s a great month to finally write that novel you’ve been talking about.

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

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Word of Mouth
4:55 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

11.16.14: Innovations That Made The Modern World, The Whiteness Project, & Bacterial Fingerprints

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time, which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case.

On today’s show, from building sewers to standardizing time, the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. And, protests in Ferguson, Missouri prompted calls for a national conversation about race and racism. A filmmaker asks: Can we have a productive discussion if the privileged majority can’t name what it means to be white?

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

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Word of Mouth
2:10 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

A Luminous Dress Inspired By The Firefly

Charlie Lemay

Biologists call it “signaling”, traits and behaviors that evolved because recipients respond to them in ways that benefit the signaler. Among humans, signals may not be quite as overt as the peacock fanning its tail:

or fireflies courting and sparking on a summer night:

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Word of Mouth
2:10 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

11.13.14: Invisible Innovations That Shaped Our World & Saving Portsmouth

We take good, quality lighting for granted, but there was a time not so long ago when the best source of light came from whale oil lamps. Listen to the interview with Steven to learn how they got the oil.
Credit Jasperdo via flickr Creative Commons

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time, which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case.

On today’s show, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, we’ll take a look back to a controversial figure at the center of Portsmouth’s historic preservation movement, Miss Dorothy Vaughan.

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

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Word of Mouth
3:00 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

11.12.14: Bacterial "Fingerprints", The Seedy Underworld Of Kickboxing, & The Whiteness Project

Home is where the microbes are.
Credit Illustration by Renee Carlson/Argonne National Laboratory / via flickr Creative Commons

The fingerprint was once law enforcement’s “smoking gun”, next came DNA evidence. Now, scientists are researching another bio-marker that may be able to tell us even more about a crime scene. On today’s show, we’ll find out what a perp’s microbiome reveals after they leave the room.

Plus, after Ferguson, President Obama said that the nation seriously needs a conversation about race. A filmmaker asks: is dialogue possible if America’s most privileged race can’t clearly see itself? What does it mean to be white?

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

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

11.11.14: Veteran's Day

Credit jpellgen via flickr Creative Commons

Ron Capps served in five wars in ten years, and was left with severe PTSD. On today’s show, he talks with us about founding the Veterans Writing Project to harness the power of prose for coping with the hidden wounds of war. Plus, we’ll find out how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s prolonged absence during military deployments: by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week.

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

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Word of Mouth
1:51 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Good Gig: Fire Rappeller Jess Crump

Courtesy of Jess Crump and Siskiyou Rappellers

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job.

Jessica Crump is a fire rappeller, or officially, a wild land firefighter for the United States Forestry Service based out of Grants Pass, Oregon. Her job is to rappel into places that most of us would run from.

This is definitely not an easy gig, but Jess finds it incredibly rewarding and the perks, for her, make it a great gig.

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Word of Mouth
1:50 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

11.10.14: America In 36 Stamps, Separated @ Birth, & Good Gig

Credit Mike Rodriquez via flickr Creative Commons

Since they were first introduced in 1847, postage stamps have become a staple of American life and taste. On today’s show,  a look at America’s most memorable stamps, and why some were beloved, while others were surprisingly contentious. 

Also today, we continue our series Good Gig: conversations with people who have landed their dream job. We’ll talk to a wildfire fighter who rappels from helicopters into raging infernos, and feels lucky!

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

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Word of Mouth
12:18 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

11.9.14: Apple Pay, Big Brother In Your Car, & Historic Concessions

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

“Apple Pay” came out of the gate with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure.  On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay and find out who is set to benefit – and who is not.

And, from traffic cams to EZ Pass, big brother is riding along with us more than we think. But just how much are drivers being monitored? And, after a week of historic wins and losses, we’ll sample the art of the concession speech.

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

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Word of Mouth
3:08 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Writers On A New England Stage: E.O. Wilson

Biologist and author Edward Osborne "E. O." Wilson
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with biologist, ecologist and two-time Pulitzer prize-winning author E.O. Wilson. Wilson has spent decades researching some of the biggest scientific riddles of our time - from the origins of human social behavior to saving disappearing species of plants and animals. He’s out with a bold new book that takes on nothing less than The Meaning Of Human Existence. He’ll discuss his ideas on where we came from, what we are and where we’re going.

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Word of Mouth
1:33 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Political Losers: The Concession Speech

Credit born1945 via flickr Creative Commons

No politician wants to write a concession speech, but in politics there can only be one winner. We spoke to Brady Carlson about what happens after the race is called. Here are a few memorable political concession speeches and even an inside look into how a candidate goes about writing one.

Nixon's 1962 California Gubernatorial concession speech.

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Word of Mouth
1:33 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

11.4.14: Winners & Losers

Credit Garry Night via flickr Creative Commons

While we can’t predict the outcome of the midterm elections, two things are certain: there will be winners and there will be losers.  Today’s show is all about winning and losing, starting with the brain chemistry of champions. And we’ll examine the victors and the vanquished in the natural world through the parasite-host relationship.

Plus, we’ll take a look back at political losers throughout history, including Samuel Tilden, who never got over his loss to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

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

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Word of Mouth
2:15 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Apple Pay: Yea Or Nay?

Credit Modified photo Bart via flickr Creative Commons

For those who have wallets bursting at the seams with payment and loyalty cards, this scenario may sound familiar: You’re out shopping, you bring your items to the cash register and face the quick mental calculus of which card to use? Visa? Mastercard? Debit? The store issued credit card? Well, Apple proposes to solve all that with a swipe, provided you have an i-Phone 6, or 6 Plus that is. Two weeks ago today, Apple unveiled its latest creation: Apple Pay, a mobile payment system it claims will make purchasing easier and more secure. Some major retailers aren’t having it, but why?

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Word of Mouth
2:15 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

11.3.14: Who Stands To Gain From Apple Pay & German Words For The Human Condition

Credit Modified version of Chris Harrison photo via flickr Creative Commons

Two weeks ago Apple Pay was unveiled with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure. On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay to find out who is set to benefit from it.

Then, if you’re at a loss to describe something in English, why not turn to the language that brought you zeitgeist and schadenfreude?  We’ll explore compound German words uniquely outfitted for life’s everyday pleasures, pains, and unnamed oddities.

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

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