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.
May 24, 2018
In November 2016, Bob spoke to Blaze bloviator Glenn Beck to hear about how he was a changed man. More compassionate, a better listener and very opposed to Donald Trump. This weekend, Beck proudly donned a MAGA hat. Why the turnaround? According to Beck, it was in reaction to the media's reaction to something Trump said about immigrants.
So the old Beck is back. But to Bob, he'd been there all along. Enjoy.
May 18, 2018
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons.
Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama.
Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba Tribe
Death Have Mercy by Regina Carter
Sacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill Frisell
Passing Time by John Renbourn
The Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
May 16, 2018
Studs Terkel, born 106 years ago on this date, May 16, spent the majority of his life documenting the lives of others – very often everyday, working-class people he believed were “uncelebrated and unsung.” From coal miners and sharecroppers to gangsters and prostitutes, every American had a story to tell and Terkel wanted to hear it. After Terkel died in 2008, publisher Andre Schiffrin, who edited Terkel's writing for more than four decades, spoke with Bob about Terkel's singular gift for oral history.
May 11, 2018
Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series.
1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for covering inequality stymies our discourse around poverty. Listen.
2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rags to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness." Listen.
3. Brooke considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. Listen.
“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.
May 8, 2018
Back in the early 1980s, thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh descended upon a 64,000 acre piece of land in central Oregon to found their utopia. The Rajneeshees had millions of dollars at their disposal and an ideology based on meditation, raising consciousness and free love — one that Bhagwan’s young American and European followers found seemingly irresistible. And one that the local people in the adjacent town of Antelope, Oregon, population 40, saw as an evil threat.
Cult or utopian project? Menace or marvel? Brothers MacLain and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, leave it to their viewers to decide, presenting the story in a way that illuminates how the conventions of documentary shape our perceptions. In this expanded version of the interview, Bob speaks with the Way brothers about the challenges they faced and choices they made in presenting wildly conflicting narratives about this truly bizarre chapter in Oregonian history.
May 4, 2018
After last month’s terrorist attack in Toronto, the media attempted to make sense of the term “incel,” or involuntary celibate. We situate the subculture within the complex ecosystem of aggrieved men online. Plus, a conversation with the directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," about their experience revisiting a forgotten utopian project. And, a look at how the press has responded to repeated attacks from President Trump.
1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University, on the media losing the battle for the freedom of the press. Listen.
4. MacLain Way and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," on the brief and infamous story of the Rajneesh commune. Listen.
May 2, 2018
International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1st, but it's not a big deal in the United States. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886 -- and contrary to what you've heard elsewhere, it wasn't the same thing as the Haymarket Affair. Haverty-Stacke is also author of America’s Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867–1960, and she explains that the fight over May 1st, or May Day, is also about the fight for American identity and what it means to be radical and patriotic at the same time.
The OTM crew sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem in honor of May Day:
April 27, 2018
This week, we explore the ways white Americans — in the voting booth, and on T.V. — deal with a changing society. A new study finds that many white voters supported Donald Trump out of a fear of losing their place in the world. "Roseanne" gets a reboot, and "The Simpsons" reacts poorly under pressure. Plus, a closer look at the company Trump kept and the deals he sought before his presidency, with the hosts of the WNYC podcast "Trump, Inc."
1. Thomas Frank [@thomasfrank_], author of Listen, Liberal, on the economic factors that could lead to a second term of Trump. Listen.
2. Diana Mutz, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on the fears and anxieties that motivated Trump voters. Listen.
5. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], reporters at WNYC, and Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at ProPublica, on the company Trump kept and the business deals he sought before his presidency. Listen.
Puck (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen) by John Zorn
Baba O'Riley by The Who
Life on Mars? by Meridian String Quartet
Roseanne Theme Song by Dan Foliart and Howard Pearl
Apu's Theme from The Simpsons: Hit and Run by Marc Baril, Allan Levy, and Jeff Tymoschuk
Here It Comes by Modest Mouse
Cops or Criminals by Howard Shore
April 24, 2018
This week we want to introduce you to some friends of ours at WNYC. Nancy is a podcast hosted by best friends Tobin Low and Kathy Tu and its about all things LGBTQ.
This week’s episode has Kathy solving a mystery on behalf of our WNYC colleague Kai Wright. As a young, black, gay man living in Washington DC around 2000, Kai saw a film called Punks. It was a movie about gay life but it wasn’t just about white people and it wasn’t rooted in tragedy. It was a romantic comedy about men like him – something he’d never seen before. But when he tried to track down the film almost 20 years later, he couldn’t find it anywhere. This episode has Kathy on the case to track down the film, and find out how a piece of media can essentially disappear.
Support our work! Become a Nancy member today at Nancypodcast.org/donate.
April 20, 2018
Alex Jones built his Infowars brand on conspiratorial thinking and table-pounding rage. This week, we look at the three lawsuits testing whether Jones can sustain his business on lies alone. After the LGBT-rights advocate David Buckel committed suicide in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend, we review the difficult history of self-immolation and we zoom in on one such incident, in Texas in 2014. Plus, an LSD retrospective, featuring never-before-heard audio from author Ken Kesey's acid-fueled hijinks.
1. Lyrissa Lidsky [@LidskyLidsky], professor at University of Missouri's School of Law, on the legal threats to Alex Jones' conspiratorial media business. Listen.
2. Andrew Poe, professor of political science at Amherst College, on the history of self-immolation. Listen.
Lost, Night by Bill Frisell
Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot
Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn
Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.4 in E-Flat Major by Yo-Yo Ma
Walking by Flashlight by Maria Schneider
Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano