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The Culture and Design of Podcasts

Chion Wolf
Julia Pistell.

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

First, there’s a clock. You do things at a certain time, to a certain length, because things have to happen according to a schedule so that people know when to listen.

But that means a certain kind of rigidity, along with a need to adhere to some basic broadcast principles, like: You probably want to appeal to a large cross-section of people who might listen, instead of closely targeting just those who might be interested. And, of course, you have to adhere to those silly FCC rules that George Carlin outlined 40 years ago. You know, the words you can’t say.

Well, podcasters blow all of that up. They make what kind of sound like radio shows, but are meant specifically to be downloaded and listened to when you want, as much as you want.

This hour, the podcast revolution. We talk with some podcast hosts and producers about the people, places, and things that have inspired them to get involved in the podcasting world.


  • Sam Greenspan - Co-producer of “99% Invisible”.
  • Julia Pistell - Co-host of “Literary Disco”. She's also the Director of Writing at the Mark Twain House.
  • Mike Pesca - Host of the Slate daily podcast “The Gist”. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.
  • Hrishikesh Hirway - Producer and host of “Song Exploder".

Tucker Ives is WNPR's morning news producer.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.

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