Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth highlights trends, surprising turns in pop culture, and the news, science, and tech stories you aren't hearing about in the day's headlines. A daily program and podcast produced by New Hampshire Public Radio.

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Rifles or ruffles? Guns or glitter? Today, themed gender reveal parties are a growing trend among expectant parents...how does all the fanfare over proclaiming an unborn child's sex fit into the evolving conversation about gender identity?     

Then, a new surprisingly accurate metric emerges for determining if a tech company's bubble is about to burst. It has nothing to do with stocks or quarterly earnings reports - the answer might be in your basement.

Writers On A New England Stage: Lesley Stahl

May 19, 2016
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

As a reporter and White House correspondent for CBS News, Lesley Stahl covered Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis and the Gulf War. Her investigative work for 60 minutes brought her from America's nuclear mission control centers to Guantanamo Bay. She's interviewed heads of state, traumatized soldiers, Iraqi rebels, teenage gospel stars, and deftly refereed pitched debates on Face the Nation.  With a shelf full of Emmys, Murrow Awards and a few memorable scoops behind her, Lesley Stahl says becoming a grandmother is her best assignment yet.  

Taylor Quimby, NHPR

As a writer, Joe Hill's family name could have given him a leg up. Instead, he chose to create his own. In this episode of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop, we talk to Joe about his process and how he came to it, growing up in a literary home, and what he would be doing if he wasn't writing.
 
We sat down with the best-selling author just before his appearance at Writers on a New England Stage at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH, where he was discussing his latest thriller, The Fireman.
 

Roger Davies via flickr Creative Commons/Modification: Logan Shannon / NHPR

As college kids move back to campus, one Ivy League insider says that elite universities aren’t producing independent thinkers, but high functioning sheep. On today’s show: the downside of being among the best and the brightest.

Then, oh, the tales bellhops and hotel maids could tell. And many have shared stories of walking in on or cleaning up after some unsavory scenes. Concierges, on the other hand, tend to get a more polite view of guests - along with some fairly ridiculous questions. Later in the show, an inside look at the concierge, including how to tip. 

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The ad agency for Royal Caribbean chose a lively, catchy tune for a series of commercials for the cruise line, but it didn’t exactly match the wholesome, fun loving image they were trying to promote. On today’s show we’ll explore how the power of sound can make or break an experience.

Then, we’ll speak with the Israeli musician known as Kutiman, about crafting an album made entirely of unrelated sound samples from YouTube videos.

Lois Hurley

You hear their voices and you listen to their stories – but you might not know what happens behind the scenes – what goes into producing an audio story for public radio.  You could probably guess that there’s some research – phone calls, emails leading to interviews – recording the interviews and cutting up the audio – writing, editing, etc.  But every once in a while, a radio journalist will run into a particular “radio journalist” sort of problem.  A little hazard or difficulty that he or she must try to overcome.  Word of Mouth's Sean Hurley tells us about a particular sound issue he’s b

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To catch a thief, you have to think like one. To prevent a crime, you have to case a joint like a potential infiltrator and find the weak spots. Today, an architecture and design critic gives us a burglars eye view of the built environment

Plus, humans respond to architecture on measurable cognitive and physiological levels - which means boring cities take a steep toll on our bodies and our minds.

Writers on a New England Stage: Joe Hill

May 16, 2016
Courtesy of The Music Hall

Joe Hill is the author of several short story collections, the Locke & Key comic book series, and best-selling novels The Heart-Shaped Box, NOS4A2, and Horns. He will be joining Virginia Prescott for aconversation for Writers on a New England Stage in Portsmouth on May 16, 2016.

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Radio broadcast news from the front during World War II. Vietnam was captured on television. Today, uncensored scenes from Syria's civil war are uploaded onto YouTube by the thousands.  Now, we’re learning what amateur videos reveal about Syria's brutal war.

Then, the intersection between technology and food makes a lot of people wary. Concerns over industrialized food, GMOs and big agriculture’s profit motive have sparked a foodie movement that demands whole, responsibly grown fare. On today’s show, an agricultural economist says high tech methods are crucial when it comes to confronting obesity, environmental degradation, and global hunger.

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It's called poverty tourism: guided visits to slums and shantytowns for close-up view of locals living in the shadows of landmarks and luxury hotels. Today, the pros and cons of straying off the typical tourist path.

Then, media outlets, pop culture blogs, TV re-cappers and social media are all potential spoilers for others who've yet to see a blockbuster or hit show. Yet global social media thrives on discussion in real time...so what's a person to do? Vulture polled its readers to find out the best approach for spoiler etiquette and we spoke with a TV and movie critic about the results. 

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“Birthday suit”, “in the buff”, “wearing nothing but a smile.” Call it what you will, on today’s show we’ll strip bare the American nudism movement and we’ll explore the progressive-era origins and continuing tensions over what it means to take it all off.

Then, people love dogs - but few pay attention to the most common variety - village dogs. We're speaking with two experts who have spent their lives traveling around the world and studying the truest essence of dog. 

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Radio broadcast news from the front during World War II. Vietnam was captured on television. Today, uncensored scenes from Syria's civil war are uploaded onto YouTube by the thousands.  Now, we’re learning what amateur videos reveal about Syria's brutal war.

Then we’ll talk to an author who decided to do what no one has done in more than a century: cross the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. Along the way he found not only the forgotten history of our country but also the emerging present.

Brian Boucheron via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4E4P5U

The intersection between technology and food makes a lot of people wary. Concerns over industrialized food, GMOs and big agriculture’s profit motive have sparked a foodie movement that demands whole, responsibly grown fare. On today’s show, an agricultural economist says high tech methods are crucial when it comes to confronting obesity, environmental degradation, and global hunger.

We'll also talk with humorist Roy Blount Jr. who grew up in a southern home, where butter was considered a food group, and you had to save room for pie!  Plus a look into a new airline that caters to fashion’s elite.     

Happy Mother's Day!

May 6, 2016
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Homegrown terrorism, gun violence, Zika - there's plenty of real stuff to get freaked out about. So can America be 100% safe?  No, says a security analyst and mom, and your kids know it's not - but that's ok. Today, a former homeland security big wig refuses to be ruled by paranoia and offers tips on how to prepare your family for the unknown without becoming a prepper.

Then, we'll catch up with the growing movement to get over the shame and secrecy and acknowledge that women menstruate...including a look into why tampons and pads are taxed as luxury goods in 40 states. 

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Today, we catch up with the growing movement to get over the shame and secrecy and acknowledge that women menstruate...including a look into why tampons and pads are taxed as luxury goods in 40 states.

Plus, working out while pregnant.  Even though the science says elite female athletes can train pretty hard, even in the third trimester, society doesn't always agree.

We Want Your Pitches

May 5, 2016
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We've been working on an idea of an episode all about how books get made - from the first kernel of an idea, to selling the idea to an agent or publisher, to self-publishing to who writes those blurbs on the back of the final copy.

5.04.16: National Parks Are Awesome & The Bookshelf

May 4, 2016
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With spring springing and trees budding, it's time to think about spending some serious time outdoors. With so many choices, we asked a seasoned travel writer where to go. From Acadia to Yosemite, today we’re unpacking some of the practical and philosophical questions to ask when planning a trip to a national park...including how a park system founded a century ago coexists with our changing population, and an exploration of the national park's premise: creating a contained wilderness. 

"Kill 'em and leave" was James Brown's commandment to his band before every show...it's also the title of a biography of the soul legend, the latest by James McBride. The National Book Award winner is also a musician and composer. We sat down with him just before his appearance at the Writers in the Loft series at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH.
 

"Kill 'em and leave" was James Brown's commandment to his band before every show...it's also the title of a biography of the soul legend, the latest by James McBride. The National Book Award winner is also a musician and composer. We sat down with him just before his appearance at the Writers in the Loft series at the Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, NH.
 

Kartik Anand via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aEZrQN

Homegrown terrorism, gun violence, Zika - there's plenty of real stuff to get freaked out about. So can America be 100% safe?  No, says a security expert slash mom, and your kids know it's not. But that's ok. Today, a former homeland security big wig refuses to be ruled by paranoia and offers tips on how to prepare your family for the unknown without becoming a prepper.

Plus, the true story of humble scholars-turned-smugglers to save rare books and manuscripts from sure destruction by Al Qaeda.

Word of Mouth Presents: The Song of the Day

May 3, 2016
Jacob Meltzer via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/am519D

Looking for something new to listen to today? Check out our Song of the Day, a new music feature designed to help you broaden your music horizons.

The Song of the Day features unique video or live stream performance content of emerging and established artists produced by a public media station.

Bookmark this page and check it daily to discover something new, hear what's trending, and find what just might become your next favorite earworm.

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On the Titanic, metal gates kept the unwashed from the upper crust - today's cruises offer high-rollers seclusion using key cards and velvet ropes.Today, travel perks in the new Gilded Age.

Then, from Little House on the Prairie, to the pastoral scenes printed on butter packages,  Americans tend to think of the agrarian past as wholesome and simpler . But, the real family farm has not always been pure or pretty.

Plus, Sean Hurley searches for buried treasure with a group of metal detectives.

History Unfolded, Impostor Syndrome, & Fishpocalypse

Apr 29, 2016
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You can't confront the horror that was the Holocaust without facing inescapable questions of America's role. What did the United States know about the Holocaust and how did it respond? Today, the United States Holocaust Museum is asking the public to help uncover how the American press covered the genocide of millions of Jews - and whether or not anyone was listening.

Then, recent public health crises like Ebola and Zika show how fear grabs public and media's attention. But there's another virus potentially be more harmful on a mass scale that's crept under the radar. Today, we'll hear about a virus that's killing off Tilapia by the millions - and what that could mean for our global food supply.

Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7jeDS3

Recent public health crises like Ebola and Zika show how fear grabs public and media's attention. But there's another virus potentially be more harmful on a mass scale that's crept under the radar. Today, we'll hear about a virus that's killing off Tilapia by the millions - and what that could mean for our global food supply.

Then, Vladimir Lenin died in 1924 - but you wouldn't know that by looking at his exquisitely preserved corpse. So what's the secret?

4.27.16: Ira Glass & The Violet Hour

Apr 27, 2016
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His voice has become synonymous with public radio. He's built a storytelling empire on radio, podcasts, television and film. This American Life has won 6 Peabody Awards. But - and this is a question that plagues all of us - is it enough? Act one on our program today: can Ira Glass actually dance?

Then, Katie Roiphe on the fantasy of deathbed resolution. 

Dennis Wilkinson via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/bQFguT

You can't confront the horror that was the Holocaust without facing inescapable questions of America's role. What did the United States know about the Holocaust and how did it respond? Today, the United States Holocaust Museum is asking the public to help uncover how the American press covered the genocide of millions of Jews - and whether or not anyone was listening.

Then, Google and other companies are betting than autonomous vehicles will be safer than they're human led counterparts...but proving it won't be easy.

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It's known on the street as Ecstasy, MDX, or Molly, but MDMA is now being tested as a way to treat the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic PTSD. Today, one of the premier drivers of MDMA research brings his mission to fund clinical trials to New England.

Then, fans of Downton Abbey know that it takes a well-oiled domestic staff to keep a British estate looking pristine. We’re taking deeper look into the history of British servitude...and cleaning.

TV on the Radio & the Penny Poet of Portsmouth

Apr 22, 2016
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Big-budget movies aim to break box office records, not win over critics.  Today, a reporter comes up with a formula to rank the worst-rated, highest grossing movies of all time...and there are a lot of them.

Then, the creators of Naked and Afraid bank on nudity hooking viewers in, but know they can't show the naughty bits during prime time. That's where "the blur man group" comes in.

Plus, we'll speak to a woman who counsels reality TV stars -  a population excessively prone to addiction, depression and suicide - to cope with sudden and fleeting fame.

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William Shakespeare is credited with writing 37 plays and yet, if not for one very rare book, nearly half of those, including Macbeth and Julius Caesar - would have been lost forever.  Today on the show, the First Folio.

Then, with earth day coming up tomorrow, we add another "r" to reduce, reuse, recycle - we talk to the founder of iFixit, a free online repair guide for keeper everything from toasters to iPads out of the landfill. 

Plus, the latest 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop uncovers the process of writing true crime.

4.20.16: TV on the Radio - Part Two

Apr 20, 2016
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Big-budget movies aim to break box office records, not win over critics.  Today, a reporter comes up with a formula to rank the worst-rated, highest grossing movies of all time...and there are a lot of them.

Then, the creators of Naked and Afraid bank on nudity hooking viewers in, but know they can't show the naughty bits during prime time. That's where "the blur man group" comes in.

Plus, we'll speak to a woman who counsels reality TV stars -  a population excessively prone to addiction, depression and suicide - to cope with sudden and fleeting fame.

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