new favorite podcast: To The Best of our Knowledge

The podcast, To The Best of our Knowledge is produced by Wisconsin Public Radio and distributed by PRI. I recently started listening to it in St. Louis while visiting Grammy.

The podcasts cover a broad range of topics, from the language of prairie dogs to the art of a great walk. I guess I would describe it as somewhat like This American Life, but calmer...

If you have Itunes, you can subscribe to the podcast there. Otherwise, click here to listen.

Summary from their website:
TTBOOK began as an audio magazine of ideas - two hours of smart, entertaining radio for people with curious minds. It's sort of journalistic (because some of us are, or used to be, journalists), but it's never about the President's speech to the U.N., weapons inspections in Iraq, or yesterday's stock market disaster. It's the kind of show that would spend an hour on the future of capitalism, or on the roots of Islamic fundamentalism. It might also spend an hour on hair. Or salt. Or pirates, road trips, psychic phenomena, house cleaning, animal intelligence, high energy physics, or how to say you're sorry. (You'll find all those shows in our archives.) It's the kind of show where someone might mention Charlotte Bronte or Anthony Trollope in one segment, U2 or They Might Be Giants in another.

Could you be more specific?
Sure. TTBOOK produces two hours of radio every week. Each hour has a theme. We mentioned some above, but the best way to get a sense of the scope of the show is to browse our recent show listings. While we do air commentaries and performance pieces and occasional reporter pieces, the majority of the program is interviews. We have a host -- Jim Fleming -- who does some of the interviews and who anchors the show, shepherding guests and other interviewers in and out of radio space. The two other interviewers on the show are Steve Paulson and Anne Strainchamps. Why do we have multiple interviewers? We don't really know -- we just like it. We think it's more interesting than having one host who asks all the questions.

What's up with the themes? Why do you have themes, anyway?
Because it lets us produce the show as a radio salon. Inviting a diverse group of people with really different backgrounds to approach one subject can (in our dreams) create a kind of depth and richness that seems beautiful to us. Our goal is to leave you at the end of each hour with a few thoughts or impressions to mull over. The way a poem can kind of reverberate, leaving you to connect the images and find your own meaning ˆ that's how the theme format works, when we get it right. We got a call from a listener once, who said something we still bring up in staff meetings from time to time: "I don't need more information; what I need is some wisdom." The idea behind the theme format is to allow a subject to develop some depth, while at the same time not boring the pants off those of us with really short attention spans.

1 comment:

Kara said...

Ahh. A tip about a good podcast is a treat indeed. Re: your post on "31 Gifts" - you've just given a gift to me! Thanks, Nicole.