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 Molly Donahue, Logan Shannon, and Megan Tan. Our Senior Producer is Taylor Quimby, and our Executive Producer is Maureen McMurray

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Patrick Lanigan via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/7nCt6r

Donald Trump is praised as “authentic” because he speaks without a practiced politician’s filter.  Meanwhile, pundits knock Hillary Clinton for not putting on a good enough show of authenticity – so, what does that actually mean? And politics is not the only arena where the meaning of authenticity is open to interpretation - what about food? Today we take a look at the myth of authenticity – in politics…cooking…and the internet. Plus, forgery in the art industry is not rare - but a con artist who has been caught and never sent to jail is. We’ll speak to the directors of a film that looks inside the mind of the mischievous shut-in and skilled artist who donated masterful forgeries to more than 46 museums. 

valiantness via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fRNWA6

This week, a federal judge sentenced peanut executive Stewart Parnell to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly outbreak of salmonella…the first ever felony conviction for a food safety crime.  Today, we speak with the investigative reporter behind “Food Crimes” – a new video series examining everything from food borne illness, to the illegal saffron trade. Plus, a baffling new literary trend – why millions of Evangelical readers are snatching up Amish romance books.  

thomasglobal via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/9V2sxB

With every internet search come the annoying ads…popping up to obscure your view, streaming sound, or moving around distractingly in the corner. But can the internet survive without them? Today, what a new wave of ad blockers will mean for the future of the internet. Then, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

George via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/tmp3jA

Since World War II, as many as 100,000 service members have been “less than honorably discharged” for being gay. Now, four years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay vets look to change the record. Today, what goes into rewriting history. Then, forgery in the art industry is not rare -- but a con artist who has been caught and never sent to jail is. We’ll speak to the directors of a film that looks inside the mind of the mischievous shut-in and skilled artist who donated masterful forgeries to more than 46 museums. 

Brent Danley via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/4jg4aG

Donald Trump is praised as “authentic” because he speaks without a practiced politician’s filter.  Meanwhile, pundits knock Hillary Clinton for not putting on a good enough show of authenticity – so, what does that actually mean? And politics is not the only arena where the meaning of authenticity is open to interpretation -- what about food? Today we take a look at the myth of authenticity – in politics…cooking…and the internet. 

Staff Picks: Our Fave Finds Of The Week 9.18.15

Sep 18, 2015
Logan Shannon for NHPR

The Word of Mouth team shares some of their favorite finds from the past week that didn't quite make it to air...

Album Cover of the Fall: It's not quite the same category as Song of the Fall, but we fell in love with the album cover for Jethro Tull's Songs From the Wood. The fire doesn't look very safe (where's his perimeter circle?) but doesn't it make you want to drink something pumpkin spice and get your Blair Witch Project on? - Molly

Paul Townsend via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/vyKPHC

Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. So why does it remain tax free? Then - meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere, from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? We find out why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

Sean Hurley

Some say the Tiny House movement dates back to 1854 when Henry David Thoreau first described the economy and aesthetics of small home living in "Walden".  But the movement didn't gather much steam until 1998 with the publication of Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big House" - and itty bitty houses began to literally dot the landscape.  So when we heard about a tiny house in Hampton, NH - that was on wheels, that looked like a steamer trunk, that was made of recycled movie sets - we sent Sean Hurley to find out more. 

Chris Goldberg via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/cjtwcN

Police shootings of unarmed black men and the deaths of African-Americans in police custody have prompted calls for a national conversation about racial inequality. So, what do well-meaning, privileged white people have to add? Today, the author of a new memoir urges white people to examine their privileged place in a stacked deck. Then, author and New Hampshire magazine editor Rick Broussard turns film director for Granite Orpheus, an experimental film project that sets the ancient myth of Orpheus against the torn-up streets of Concord.   

Lucius Brings Uniquely-Styled Indie Pop to N.H.

Sep 16, 2015
Photo courtesy of ILoveLucius.com

Lucius, the five piece indie pop band, formed in Brooklyn, NY, is playing tomorrow night at the Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Lucius flips the script on the traditional pop configuration of men prancing out front and girl singers in the back. Instead, a pair of identically-dressed women front the band, and the three fellows mostly stay out of the way. We spoke with one of those guys, multi-instrumentalist (and Concord, N.H. native!) Peter Lalish.

Earth Touch via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fsQZH8

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. Today, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, more than 30,000 African elephants are poached every year, mostly out of East Africa. In an effort to understand the illegal ivory trade, a journalist commissioned a tusk made of fake ivory with a GPS tracker inside. We speak with the man behind that tusk.

www.flickr.com/photos/fhgitarre/

It's official - 2015's song of the summer is "Cheerleader" by OMI. So now that horse race is over, what about an anthem for Autumn? And how do you even make that choice?

If a summer song needs to be fun, upbeat, and sound good blasting from car windows at Hampton Beach, what qualities define a memorable fall tune?  Pumpkin-related lyrics?  Wistful melodies, and acoustic guitars?  We asked three music industry insiders to tell us what they think 2015's (Unofficial) Song of the Fall should be and why -  and here's what they had to say.

9.15.15: Mindfulness in Schools & The Song of the Fall

Sep 15, 2015
Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/77kTqw

Meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere - from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? Today, why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

Light Brigading via flickr CC / flic.kr/p/kPKiL6

Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. Plus, a poll finds that forty-four percent of families in low-income, low-education households with a high school athlete think their kid has a chance at the majors – we’ll hear about the myth of pro sports as viable career option.  And look into the secretive underworld of illegally modified softball bats.

Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/dSuxV1

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today, is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools…a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. 

Night Owl City via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/c3bZSd

As one of only six black pre-med students at Duke, Damon Tweedy was mistaken for a janitor…just one of many humiliations from the predominantly white field. Today, we’ll talk to Dr. Tweedy about the dearth of black doctors and what that means for people of color. Then, the trail of writers that have migrated from New York to New England to launch their careers have left a well-worn path. We’ll talk to two authors about the appeal of leaving the big apple for the natural beauty and quirky ways of New England.

niXerKG via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/qkds1e

Lots of organizations use 5ks and "fun runs" to raise money for charity – few involve sitting on a couch for hours at a time.  Today, how a super-fast, bizarre style of video-game playing has become a fundraising cash cow. Plus, we’ll celebrate the 30th anniversary of the video game industry’s most lucrative character of all time: Mario! Then, as the Daily Show’s “Senior Muslim or Foreign Looking Correspondent,” Aasif Mandvi helped Americans laugh at their own prejudice. We’ll hear why he almost refused the job. 

Aasif Mandvi: No Land's Man

Sep 9, 2015

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.

9.08.15: A Neurodiversity Primer & Miranda July

Sep 8, 2015
Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8tZ5YG

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Today, the author of a new book on the science of autism gives us a primer on the neurodiversity movement. Then, Miranda July may be known for her quirky role in the 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know but the actress and artist has since written a debut novel which borrows heavily from her personal life. 

lungstruck via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rQmjb3

Machines will soon take over for humans and slog through the dirty work, leaving people free to do whatever they choose in a world without work. We talk about what a post-job society might look like, and how we might prepare for it. Then, 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. Plus, we discover a class that brings a serious approach to leisure. 

9.06.15: War Plan Red, Liberland, & Mexican Coke

Sep 4, 2015
Alex Indigo via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4eDBug

At 5,525 miles, the US and Canadian border is the longest and friendliest in the world, but the long relationship between the two nations is not without conflict. Today, a history of US-Canadian skirmishes and why a war between neighbors isn’t out of the question. Then, with immigration a focal point in the presidential primary circuit, a commentator takes a tongue in cheek look at the rarely talked about immigration crisis that’s playing out north of the border. Plus, one man’s dream to create a libertarian utopia on 3-square miles of mosquito-infested marshland.

Nathan Rupert via flickr CC / flic.kr/p/aEtJLV

As schools across the country struggle to meet the new national common core standards, one controversial aspect of education is not part of the curriculum: sex education. On today’s show: the evolving debate around sex ed, and why it’s not strictly an American phenomenon. Plus, from false confessions to inadequate defenses, wrongful convictions can happen for many reasons. We’ll look at faulty eyewitness testimonies, the number one contributing cause of wrongful convictions.

peter honeyman via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/a1wRcF

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today we’re asking: is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools with a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And, a job you may have thought was already obsolete – we’ll learn why the humble stenographer may be one of the most essential – and under-appreciated people in the courtroom. 

Suzie Tremmel via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/y5VH

Looking to deepen your relationships, professional satisfaction, and personal innovation? Then it’s time to get vulnerable. We speak with TED Talk superstar Brene Brown, whose research says that exposing our secret selves is the most daring way to live. And, while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. Plus, twins separated at birth find each other at last.

http://bit.ly/1LOFpsH

You’ll see it on Instagram, blogs, and YouTube – farmers market selfies, guides to organic produce, and clever hacks for cooking ambitious recipes in tiny kitchenettes. It seems like young people love to photograph what they had for dinner – no filter – and fixate over food culture. But why are Millennials so obsessed with food? Four years ago Eve Turow set out to answer that question and recently released her findings in the book A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food.

SoxFanInSD via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/pWJZT7

We think of Coca-Cola as the quintessential American soda – so why then are so many people embracing a foreign variation on the brand? We explore the myth of a healthier, more authentic brand of coke. Plus, a Millennial author comes up with a counter-intuitive theory about why 20-somethings are so obsessed with taking pictures of their food. And, a report on how and why local law enforcement agencies from Ferguson, Missouri to Keene, New Hampshire have stocked up on armored vehicles and other military gear.  

Writers On A New England Stage: Diana Gabaldon

Aug 28, 2015
David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

On today’s show, it’s Writers on a New England Stage with scientist turned novelist Diana Gabaldon, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Gabaldon is author of the phenomenally popular Outlander series – an addictive blend of historical fiction and fantasy based on the premise of time travel. Outlander plays with the past, overthrows traditional gender roles, and has inspired a cable television series that Buzzfeed called, “The Feminist Answer to ‘Game of Thrones.’ ” Her latest novel is the eighth in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Hearts Blood.

Writers On A New England Stage: Tom Brokaw

Aug 27, 2015
David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

Today on Word of Mouth, it’s Writers on a New England Stage with Tom Brokaw, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. As a pillar of network news and the author of “The Greatest Generation” books, Brokaw is beloved as an eye-witness to world-shaping events and much more quiet heroics.  When diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2013, Brokaw did not want the spotlight turned on him.

Writers On A New England Stage: Sue Monk Kidd

Aug 26, 2015
David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

On today’s show, it’s Writers on a New England Stage with Sue Monk Kidd, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. The author of The Secret Life of Bees explores the roots of American racism with The Invention of Wings, a novel about the unlikely alliance between a southern woman and a slave.

David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

On today’s show, a special presentation of Writers on a New England Stage with David Brooks, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. The New York Times columnist, author, and commentator known as the “liberal’s favorite conservative”, Brooks climbed the ladder of America’s media elite by sparring with civility against left-leaning pundits on TV and NPR.

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