Arts and Culture

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.

Courtesy Northeastern Ballet Theatre

Wolfeboro ballet instructor Edra Toth knows what it feels like to be misunderstood.

On Saturday night, her nonprofit Northeast Ballet Theater will present Dracula, a ballet written by Toth. In it, Toth’s dance ensemble will illustrate the truth about Dracula – or, more accurately, the original historical figure he’s based on, a militant ruler named Vlad Tepes.

Former Daily Show reporter John Oliver’s fake news show on HBO is bucking the odds: diving deep into stories that aren’t in the headlines, and climbing in the ratings. On today’s show, what happens when comedy meets investigative journalism ?

Then, A-list DJs appear to live in the top tier of fabulousness. Jet-setting to giant clubs and VIP parties. We’ll get the inside view from Juan MacLean, an international star living quietly in Dover, NH.

Officials in Nashua are considering plans for a new downtown performance arts venue. Architectural drawings call for a multi-level theater one block from Main Street that seats 1,400 and includes a 500-car parking garage and space for a restaurant. 

The city held a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday.

Sarah Marchant, who directs Nashua’s community development division, says the project would cost around 22-point-five million dollars, but she says the city doesn’t intend to foot that entire bill.

Matt Novak via flickr Creative Commons

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, future technologies take center stage in the form of Hal 9000, a sentient, yet sinister, computer aboard the spacecraft Discovery One. On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful. 

Plus, a science writer plays nuclear tourist and visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, where he finds some surprising imagery.

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

Getting together for dinner on a regular basis can be tough for any family, but it is especially hard for military families during deployments. On today’s show: how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s deployment, by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week. Then, the artist M.C. Escher may be best known for his repeating patterns and mind-bending optical illusions, but a new exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art, touted as the most comprehensive retrospective of Escher’s work, is highlighting his lesser known illustrations.

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

myri_bonni via flickr Creative Commons

At her funeral on Sunday, fellow comedians applauded Joan Rivers for her sharp wit, biting humor, and irreverent routines. What really made Joan Rivers so funny? On today’s show, the director of the Humor Research Lab offers some theories into what makes us laugh. 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 Read more for individual segments. 


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In 1984, the heroes in a half shell -Turtle Power!- burst onto the comic scene, and the sewers would never be the same.

Children's Museum of NH

Hippo Editor Amy Diaz is back for a look at New Hampshire events this weekend; It's Fest-A-Palooza Two, the Sequel!

For foodies, there's  Greekfest in Manchester, Fire on the Mountain Henniker Rotary Chili Fest, and the Jakarta Fair in Somersworth.

Michael May via flickr Creative Commons, amazon.com, Rui Costa via flickr Creative Commons and via sistersparrow.com

In 1936 18-year-old Marty Glickman was one of the fastest sprinters in the country, earning him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and a trip to the Berlin Games. Today on Word of Mouth, we have the story of how he was removed from the competition to appease Hitler and how he then became a legendary sports broadcaster. Then lessons in science with The Art of Tinkering and a conversation about how elements were named.
Finally, Producer Zach Nugent spoke with front-woman Arleigh Kincheloe of the band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Their new album is called Fight.

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

This show originally aired on 3.27.14. 

BagoGames via Flickr CC

 In April 2010, WTF host Marc Maron sat down to speak with Robin Williams. Following the news of Williams’ death on August 11, Maron reflected back on that interview and shared some of his thoughts on a conversation that he considers life-changing. The interview is at times delicate, as Williams talks about his battle with addiction and depression, but it also raised a new perspective the comedian which people had rarely seen before.

USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Flickr

Today on Word of Mouth, invasive species like Zebra Mussels to Asian Carp, are destroying biodiversity across North America. Or are they? Also, we'll look into China’s push to build a frozen food infrastructure. The number of urban Chinese households with a refrigerator has risen from just 7 percent to 95 percent in a decade. We’ll find out what that means for global climate change.

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


Internet Archive Book Images via flickr Creative Commons

In the last decade, cosmetic procedures performed on Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans have far outpaced those among the white population. The goal? Westernizing ethnic features.  Today we put ethnic plastic surgery on the examination table. Then, scientists are demystifying what may be the least understood human organ: the placenta. Plus, we share some personal stories from the delivery room.

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

Sara Plourde

Every month producer Zach Nugent picks a fresh bushel of new music for The Audio Orchard Playlist. Check it out below.

Derek Bridges via Flickr CC

We spoke with Glen David Andrews about his new album Redemption, which features his band and select friends who played major roles in a spiritual recovery that started him on a new path in life. The New Orleans musician came out with the new album after reconnecting with music, and its healing powers, in rehab. Many listeners have observed the similarities between Andrews and New Orleans itself, and in the album it’s hard to distinguish where the influences of one ends and the other begins.

Courtesy Joe Del Russo

Someone in your family probably remembers a time when receiving a letter was unusual. The message was typically handwritten and personal, and it told you that someone in another part of the world thought enough about you to sit down, organize their thoughts and craft a message, just for you.

There are still places in New Hampshire where getting mail is just as special, mostly because of how it's delivered.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been 25 years since Larry David’s “show-about-nothing” debuted on NBC, but it lives on. Recently a critic made the argument that Seinfeld not only transformed the sitcom but paved the way for television’s anti-hero dramas. Plus, not even a month into summer, you may already be approaching capacity on grilled burgers and hot dogs. JM Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press joins us to inject new ideas into the outdoor cooking season. And, a sneak peak of bands heading to western Massachusetts for this weekend’s Green River Festival.

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


Sara Plourde

Every month producer Zach Nugent picks a fresh bushel of new music for The Audio Orchard Playlist. Check it out below.

Word Of Mouth Voted Best N.H. Radio Talk Show

Jun 26, 2014

We are so proud to have been voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show by the readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

Six years after launching Word of Mouth, we still feel like upstarts and appreciate our listeners coming through. Thank you!  It's pleasure to bring you stories that spark curiosity and wonder about the world around us, and will continue spreading interesting information the best way we know how: through Word of Mouth.

And not only was Word of Mouth voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show, but NHPR was voted Best FM Radio Station!

With all that in mind, here is a look back at some of your favorite Word of Mouth stories from the past year.

Michael Salerno via flickr Creative Commons

Going up? Today on Word of Mouth, we're lifting you to new cultural heights with a look into the history of two architectural advancements in history - the elevator and escalator. We'll hold the door for you when we stop on a story about a family of mannequins. Last stop, a discussion about why we should all stop singing that pervasive birthday song.

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

butler.corey via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s always debate about what will be the ‘song of the summer,’ a title usually determined by airtime and download statistics. But what about all the other songs that deserve a chance at becoming your summer anthem? Here is an alternative summer playlist, with songs from all across the board. Pick your favorite and listen until you get sick of it, hopefully sometime around September.

6.14.14: To Twee Or Not To Twee

Jun 13, 2014
Zachary Nugent

First there was rock & roll, then punk, then hip-hop. Today, we’re living in the age of “twee”.  And boy is it precious. We'll explore the gentle revolution that is “twee” from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films and why this nostalgia for home-spun innocence is thriving.  And, New Hampshire guitarist Michael Blum talks about making a name for himself in the world of Jazz, and plays some music live in Studio D. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd glass. He’s been performing stand-up for decades, but made his boldest move a year and a half ago when he came out as gay on the WTF podcast.


laverrue via Flickr Creative Commons

We are in the midst of a cultural movement…it’s called Twee and boy is it precious. Today we look into the gentle revolution that is Twee…from artisanal pickles to Wes Anderson films, why this retro wish for innocence is thriving. Then, we hear from a local jazz musician who has just released his debut album to good reviews. He has a long career ahead of him since he’s only 20 years old. Plus, a conversation with comedian Todd Glass. He’s been performing stand-up since 1982, but he made his boldest move in 2012 when he came out publicly as gay on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF.

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


6.07.14: The Power of Music

Jun 6, 2014
Molly Donahue

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. Word of Mouth goes behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.


Live From Studio D: David Kontak Ensemble

May 29, 2014

The David Kontak Ensemble invaded Studio D with a bevy of strange instruments and put on quite a show. Check out the performances to see the group "playing" Slinkys, original instruments called 'Babels', and glow in the dark handheld fans.

Sara Plourde

Every month producer Zach Nugent picks a fresh bushel of new music for The Audio Orchard Playlist. Check it out below.

By London Records. (Billboard page 25 1 May 1965) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer Ron Capps experienced five wars in ten years, and came home with severe PTSD. Today on Word of Mouth, he discusses founding the Veterans Writing Project, and the power of the written word in coping with the psychic wounds of war. Then, from Scottish bag pipes in the mid-18th century to Metallica in the mid-2000s, we’ll take a brief tour through the history of music as a weapon of war. Plus, a diehard Oasis fan is forced to admit that the band’s rivalry with Blur has unfairly colored his perception for the past 20 years.

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


The Audio Orchard For April

May 1, 2014
Sara Plourde

Each month producer Zach Nugent handpicks his favorite new songs for a playlist called 'The Audio Orchard'.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

The search for “cool” has been a quintessential cultural quest for decades: we all want to be cool, but by definition only a select few will ever achieve it, and only for an instant. So what is “cool,” anyway, and why are we so fascinated by the people who make cool? Here to answer that question is Dan Kois. He's Senior Editor at Slate, which is doing a month-long series on the nature of cool. 

@Doug88888, Gerry Balding, Sarah0s, Adam Cohn, Mark Evans, Ross Pollock, Don LaVange, Giorgio Raffaelli & hey tiffany! via flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth - laughing! And why we do it. We're getting science-y with the giggles before moving on to a less-than-scientific community: psychics. Then, the art of the brain takes over with a look at graphic novel that takes place inside the brain. Finally, what happens to digital art, and how do we restore it?

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

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