While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with listeners and led to more than a tripling of its audience in five years.
Since OTM was re-launched in 2001, it has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, heard on more than 300 public radio stations. It has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and a Peabody Award for its body of work.
September 20, 2019
Roosevelt’s New Deal remade American society, and now climate activists are pushing for a Green New Deal to do it again. This week, On the Media looks at the attacks from conservatives against both projects, and why congress underestimates support for climate action. Plus, how a wave of labor strikes might be a crucial component in building momentum towards Green New Deal adoption. And, the teenage girls spreading climate awareness on Tik-Tok.
September 18, 2019
This week we are featuring a brand new episode from our friends at Trump Inc, a podcast produced here at WNYC. Here's a message from Trump Inc's producers:
When we started all the way back in early 2018, we laid out how we'd be digging into the mysteries around President Donald Trump's business. After all, by keeping ownership of that business, Trump has had dueling interests: the country and his pocketbook.
We've done dozens of episodes over the past 18 months, detailing how predatory lenders are paying the president, how Trump has profited from his own inauguration and how Trump's friends have sought to use their access in pursuit of profit.
We've noticed something along the way. It's not just that the president has mixed his business and governing. It's that the way Trump does business is spreading across the government.
Those traits are now popping up in the government. It may seem like the news from Washington is a cacophony of scandals. But they fit clear patterns — patterns that Trump has brought with him from his business.
September 13, 2019
Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue.
3. Paul Kramer, history professor at Vanderbilt University, on the conflicting depictions and interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Listen.
Frail as a Breeze by Erik Friedlander
The New Colossus by Saunder Choi
Toccata and fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach played on glass harp by Robert Tiso
River Man by Brad Mehldau Trio
September 11, 2019
This weekend in a series of tweets, President Trump both disclosed and scrapped secret talks with the Taliban in Camp David. Of course, the Taliban did not perpetrate 9/11. But they did offer safe haven in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda, whose hijackers turned passenger airplanes into bombs in the most deadly act of terrorism on US soil.
A few weeks later, America invaded the central Asian crossroads whose history has been one of occupation. "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," President George Bush said at the time. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril." The whole world understood.
Or, almost the whole world. One country that was unclear about the US mission and its motives was Afghanistan itself. According to a November 2010 study by the International Council on Security and Development, during the height of fighting in Helmand and Kandahar, 92 percent of southern Afghan males there had never heard of 9/11. The staggering statistic caught the eye of Stars & Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence — himself a Iraq-war veteran; to mark the anniversary of 9/11 he decided to conduct his own survey last year. In this podcast extra, he and Bob talk about why misconceptions persist about the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
September 6, 2019
As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Democratic presidential candidates promised climate action in an unprecedented televised event. On this week’s On the Media, how CNN’s town hall advances the climate conversation. Plus, how the bulk of gun violence coverage fails to address the root causes of the crisis.
1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer at Vox, on how the CNN climate town hall advances the conversation on climate change.
2. John Morales [@JohnMoralesNBC6], chief meteorologist at WTVJ NBC-6 Miami, on how a meteorologist reports the weather as the climate changes.
3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian, on how covering of gun violence obscures the path to optimal solutions.
September 4, 2019
On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. Gelb was a Senate aide in his 20s, a New York Times correspondent in his 30s, an assistant Secretary of State as he neared 40, then back to the Times as national security correspondent, editor, columnist, part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team and finally, rounding out his career, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on On the Media. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation they had back in 2018 about the Pentagon Papers.
August 30, 2019
The message from Silicon Valley seems to be that self-driving cars are the way of the future. This week, On the Media considers the history behind the present-day salesmanship. Plus, why transit rights mean much more than point-A-to-point-B mobility. Also, a new opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.
1. Angie Schmitt [@schmangee], national reporter at Streetsblog, on the "heartwarming" stories of Americans who walk miles and miles to work. Listen.
2. Peter Norton, professor of history at University of Virginia's Department of Engineering and Society, and Emily Badger, urban policy reporter for the New York Times, on the past, present and dazzling future of self-driving car salesmanship. Listen.
This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018.
Music from this week's show:
Dan Deacon — USA III: Rail
Iggy Pop — The Passenger
Gary Numan — Cars
Judd Greenstein — Change
Judd Greenstein — A Marvelous Order
Brian Eno — Music For Airports
August 28, 2019
Silicon Valley’s so-called “millionaire maker” is a behavioral scientist who foresaw the power of putting persuasion at the heart of the tech world’s business model. But pull back the curtain that surrounds the industry’s behemoths, and you'll find a cadre of engineers and executives that's small enough to rein in. This is the final installment of a three-part series from The Stakes. If you haven't heard parts one and two, start there first.
In this episode, we hear from:
- Alexandra Rutherford, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s
- B.J. Fogg, Director of the Stanford University "Behavior Design Lab”
- Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University
- Senator Mark Warner of Virginia
August 23, 2019
In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States.
This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.
Bill Frisell - Lost Night
The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America
Eileen Alannah - Original recording from 1908
Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home
Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living
Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz
Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song
August 21, 2019
Ted Kaczynski had been a boy genius. Then he became the Unabomber. After years of searching for him, the FBI finally caught him in his remote Montana cabin, along with thousands of pages of his writing. Those pages revealed Kaczynski's hatred towards a field of psychology called "behaviorism," the key to the link between him and James McConnell.
In this episode, we hear from:
- Philip Bradley, Harvard contemporary of Ted Kaczynski
- Alston Chase, author of A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism
- Donald Max Noel, former FBI agent and author of UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski
- Dr. Charles Seigerman, former student of James McConnell and Certified Neuropsychologist
- Greg Stejskal, former FBI agent
- Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College