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.

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

Wikimedia Commons

We’ve seen this dance before: presidential hopefuls stumping in New Hampshire. On today’s show, we’ll talk to the official candidate from the Transhumanist Party who says we need a new political party and new tactics for the issues of our time.

Then, Jackie Robinson’s major league debut was an obvious, watershed moment in America’s troubled racial history. But we’ll look at a lesser known moment for American civil rights: breaking NASA’s color barrier and the story of the first African Americans in the space program.

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

MazJobrani.com

Before Maz Jobrani was a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, he was an actor trying to get a break. On today’s show we’ll talk to the Iranian-born comedian about being typecast as a terrorist.

And like Maz, many Hollywood hopefuls get their start as extras, making less than minimum wage, hoping to be noticed. We’ll hear about an elite group who have made blending into the background an incredibly lucrative career.

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

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Kale Poland does ultra-marathons, but that sport's name is a little misleading, as it now encompasses a lot of really long races of every sort, including triathlons. You may have heard of the Ironman competition: 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon. 

But not for Kale Poland. He has done many 50-mile running races, of course, also a few double-ironman races, even triple and quintuple ironman distance events. But in 2012, he was the seventh American ever to complete what he calls a “deca”. That’s ten times the distance of an Ironman.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. 

On today’s show, the history and science behind the mostly unregulated vitamin market.

And, with new measles outbreaks discovered each week, parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are in the cross hairs. We’ll talk to reporter who asks: are mothers to blame? And the story of an extreme athlete who balances work, family, and 400 miles of running and biking per week.

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

Good Gig: DJ Soul Sister Melissa Weber

Mar 5, 2015
Photo: Frank Aymami / Courtesy of Melissa Weber

Today's good gig is Melissa Weber a DJ who was raised on vinyl, listening to her father's vinyl albums at a young age and saving them from damage.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

When Executive Chancellor Jones mentioned she'd be "all ears" if someone were to work on a fight song for Oaksterdam, we saw that as an opportunity. 

Watch the Dartmouth Glee Club sing the fight song producer Taylor Quimby came up with for Oaksterdam, with a whole lot of music-writing help from the group's director, Louis Burkot.

Artwork By: Kate Adams / kck.st/1zWdSus

There are jobs, and then there are dream jobs. On today’s show we’re featuring good gigs and odd jobs.  From a DJ who lives to uncover rare soul albums and share them with the world, to a woman who studies and creates board games for Dartmouth College’s Tilt Factor game lab. Plus, a broke writer who’d much rather read Dostoyevsky than Fifty Shades of Grey tries to break into the lucrative erotic lit genre.

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

Colin Dunn via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7GCv8P

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years. But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. On today’s show, we’ll look at the history and science behind a largely unregulated market. Plus, a new hotline for emotionally distressed teens aims to help teens by communicating in a space where they feel comfortable – via text message.     

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

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27g6S7

An overwhelming majority of medical researchers and pediatricians advocate for vaccinating kids. Vocal anti-vaxxers include celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider. On today’s show we’ll find out why women are more likely to distrust doctors and go anti-vax.

Plus, we’ll bust some of the myths behind anti-oxidant rich super foods, and find out how advertisers turned Listerine into a cure-all – and virtually created the concept of bad breath.

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

Raising Awareness Of Malaria With Poetry

Feb 26, 2015

Cameron Conaway is a writer, poet, editor and former Social Good fellow. His article, “A Working Malaria Vaccine Can’t Get Money”, was published at Newsweek and chronicles the story of a small upstart trying to bring their working malaria vaccine to market.

Good Gig: Denim Historian Tracey Panek

Feb 26, 2015
Photo: Levi Strauss & Co. Archives

The Levi Strauss & Co. is an American icon dating back to the gold rush days in California. Today's Good Gig is Tracey Panek, denim historian for Levi Strauss.

Today would have been the 186th birthday of Levi Strauss, born Loeb Strauss in Bavaria. He came to the US to find his fortune, and made his mark on fashion and history when he patented the now iconic Levi's jeans.

Tracey told us about Levi Strauss and Co.’s New Hampshire connection:

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27bFm2

  Malaria threatens more than half the world’s people. Yet there is still no way to immunize against it. On today’s show, why a promising vaccine developed by an upstart in the biotech scene is not getting funded. 

Plus, Levi Strauss started making jeans during the gold rush, introducing the  most iconic symbol of American style. Today’s Good Gig profiles the Levi’s in-house historian who sifts through mine shafts and dusty attics to find the stories behind every crease. 

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

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  The Science of Superheroes

epSos.de via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dTUAhR

It’s presented as the be-all end- all metric by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? 

On today’s show, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring gross domestic product, and what this all important economic indicator overlooks.

Plus, the non-profit “Mars One” received over 200,000 applicants for its one way mission to Mars. A new short documentary follows three of the candidates as they vie for a trip they’ll never return from and a place in the history books.

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

Peter Dutton via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/pEWwCa

To protect children from predators, some schools have rules against physical contact so strict that students can be sent to the principal’s office for holding hands or high-fiving. On today’s show – are schools being too touchy about physical contact?

And a reporter profiles the inaugural class of Thiel fellows – twenty teenagers who were given one-hundred thousand dollars to drop out of higher education and pursue success as young entrepreneurs.

Plus a columnist and comedian argues college kids today can’t take a joke. 

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

Kevo Thomson via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/2kheg

We may not know who will bring home Oscars tonight, but two things are certain: a-list actresses will walk the red carpet, and they will be asked the standard question: “Who are you wearing?”

On today’s show, why some Hollywood actresses are bucking against the red carpet parade.

Then, Selma, Gone Girl, and Interstellar are among this year’s Oscar snubs. We’ll approach the academy’s cold-shoulder from a different angle, and reveal entire categories notably absent from the awards.

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

2015 Wommie Winners

Feb 20, 2015
Craig Piersma via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/8NyHL6

Thank you to everyone who voted for the 1st Annual Wommie Awards! We'll see you next year on the red carpet.

Sound In Focus

Feb 19, 2015

We have a listening problem. One music teacher is out to conquer it.

Mike Alberici is a music teacher at Maple Street School in Hopkinton, who was awarded the 2015/2016 Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation – an award that grants teachers leave to develop new ideas for classroom teaching, and covers all the costs of doing so.

Iowa Digital Library via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dg8YuC

While the U.S. leads the world in dental innovation, many Americans are unable to afford basic dental care, and as a result, suffer from health and psychological consequences. On today’s show: the high price of poor teeth.

Then, stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad.

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

Miranda July: The First Bad Man

Feb 19, 2015

Miranda July. Maybe you know her from her quirky and charming 2005 film “Me And You And Everyone We Know,” which won the special jury prize at Sundance – but since then she’s made a second film, a book of short stories, a messaging app, and has performed all over the world, and now she’s written a novel.

July’s debut novel The First Bad Man continues her skill at revealing uncomfortable moments and unexpected truths … in a very funny way.

Rachel via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dXsYyp

The Oscars are Hollywood’s top award for recognizing achievement in film – and of course, fashion. On today’s show: why some actresses are bucking against the red carpet parade.

Then, for most of us, the prospect of winning a million dollars is a daydream, but for Justin Peters, it was just two right answers away. He’ll explain how losing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire changed his life for the better.

Plus, a conversation with artist, writer and filmmaker Miranda July.

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

Oscar Image: Davidlohr Bueso via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/6W4DBr

Of course the Oscar ceremony is already too long, they even have a whole separate awards ceremony for the awards most people outside of the film industry don't understand, but we still think the Oscars are missing a few key awards. Enter the 1st Annual Wommie Awards! We asked Amy Diaz from The Hippo to help us create a ballot chock full of amazing talent that aren't getting the recognition we think they deserve. 

Check out the nominees below and then cast your vote by 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Video Games & History

Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/oWwRHM

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

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

2.16.14: Presidents' Day

Feb 16, 2015
WorldIslandInfo.com, Wystan, & U.S. Embassy New Delhi via Flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth celebrates Presidents’ Day with presidential portraits from Writers on a New England Stage. We’ll talk to three authors who took a deeper look into the complexities and motivations of American leaders throughout history.

 

clotho98 via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7xS1rf

Scents can evoke memories, arouse appetite, and even alter moods. On today’s show we’ll sniff out the science of smell.

Then, internet trolling can be a hobby for angry people with a sadistic bent, but now crowd funding is supporting a new brand of professional troll. We’ll take a look into the lucrative business of posting hate.

Plus, for the latest installment of our series Good Gig we’ll talk to a music editor who’s compiled the 101 strangest records on Spotify.

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

NHPR Staff

Do you like the music you hear between segments on Word of Mouth? You can listen to it again on Spotify. Check out and add Word of Mouth's playlist, which we update each week with the latest music we're using on the program.

Judy van der Velden via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/b3PGUM

Diamonds are forever. Or so we thought. Turns out that global sales of diamonds and fine jewelry have been sluggish since the global recession. On today’s show,  from iPhones to better production of costume bling, is technology killing the jewelry industry?

Then, Selma, Gone Girl, and Interstellar are among this year’s Oscar snubs. We’ll approach the academy’s cold-shoulder from a different angle, and reveal entire categories notably absent from the awards.

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

Dave via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4rTLFX

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and couples in love are expected to spend in the billions, but spending by singles may have even greater revenue potential. On today’s show, a look at China’s anti-Valentine’s holiday: Singles' Day and how it became the largest online shopping day in the world.

Then, from clamshell razors to electrolysis, humans have gone to great lengths to achieve a smooth, clean shave. We’ll take a look at the history of hair removal, and what it reveals about shifting views of racial and social status in the U.S. 

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

Doug Kline via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7JD5La

As long as transplants have been medically possible, there have been horror stories about the black market organ trade. On today’s show, an anthropologist sheds the trappings of academia to take on, and even indict, illegal organ brokers.  

Then, Breaking Bad’s spin off Better Call Saul premiered last night to rave reviews from The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

We’ll speak with the man behind the character of sleaze bag lawyer Saul Goodman, actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk.

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

Pages