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.
August 10, 2022
In 1998, when Viagra was approved by the FDA, it suddenly opened up new sexual possibilities for people who had previously had none. The drug also sparked an earnest and very public conversation about erectile dysfunction — one that quickly veered toward late-night punchlines. And yet, despite the millions of prescriptions written during its nearly 25 years of existence, for some, Viagra did not prove to be the quick fix they had hoped for. This month, OTM shares the first episode of a compelling 3-part series about the drug from our colleagues at Death, Sex & Money.
You can hear more from Death, Sex & Money here.
August 5, 2022
A group of climate scientists warn that the potential for humanity's mass extinction has been dangerously underexplored. On this week’s On the Media, we hear how facing our planet’s fragility could inspire hope, instead of despair, and a physicist explains how creation stories are essential for understanding our place in the universe.
- Luke Kemp [@LukaKemp], a Research Associate at Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, on a new study that says we need to put more attention on the possibility of human extinction and other climate catastrophes. Bryan Walsh [@bryanrwalsh], editor of Vox’s ‘Future Perfect,’ also explains why our brains have a hard time processing catastrophes like climate change. Listen.
- Charles Piller [@cpiller], investigative reporter for Science Magazine, on his six month investigation into how faulty images may invalidate groundbreaking advancements in Alzheimer's research. Listen.
- Guido Tonelli, a particle physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the importance of creation myths, and what scientists can tell us about the fragility of the universe. Listen.
August 4, 2022
This week’s podcast extra is about podcasts, but this story has its roots in the early days of rock 'n' roll. Alan Freed was a celebrity DJ on WINS in New York, famous for helping popularize the nascent genre through the 1950s. But, unbeknownst to his listeners, record promoters were secretly bribing Freed and other popular disc jockeys across the country for extra air time for their artists — in a rampant practice known as “payola,” which eventually caught the eye of regulators. In 1960, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlawed payola, requiring broadcasters to disclose any payments received. However, members of the music industry would continue to blow the whistle on similar behavior in the decades that followed.
According to Bloomberg reporter Ashley Carman, a similar culture of pay-to-play is taking hold in the world of podcasting. Her latest piece is titled, “Podcast Guests Are Paying Up to $50,000 to Appear on Popular Shows.”
July 29, 2022
Former president Donald Trump is trying to bury the January 6th committee’s findings, but his old allies aren’t helping. Meanwhile, we take a look at the governor of Florida’s polarizing press strategy, and why reporters think presidential hopefuls are no longer returning their calls.
- David Folkenflik [@davidfolkenflik], media correspondent for NPR, on the resurgence of Trump-related news. Listen.
- David Freedlander [@freedlander], freelance political journalist, on why he thinks Republicans are no longer speaking to the press. Listen.
- Dexter Filkins, staff writer at The New Yorker, on Ron DeSantis’ press strategy and where politicians' relationship with the press went wrong. Listen.
- Kate Kelly [@Kate_Kelly_Esq], human rights attorney, on the importance of the the Equal Rights Amendment and how it can protect abortion rights. Listen.
July 28, 2022
It's Shark Week. This year's Discovery programs boast flashy titles like Stranger Sharks, Air Jaws, Great White Serial Killer, and Rise of the Monster Hammerheads, and feature sharks writhing through murky water, their jaws clenching on dead fish bait, sharp teeth snapping at divers.
Sharks first splashed into Hollywood — and widespread infamy — with the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. It's the type of horror film that sticks with you, especially when you're on a swim at the beach and think, what's out there? Over the last few decades, beachgoers have encountered a slight uptick in shark sightings and incidents. This summer is no exception.
But even as these predators shut down beaches, many marine biologists have waged a counter PR campaign for sharks, arguing that popular media have far overstated their danger. Chris Pepin-Neff is a senior lecturer of Public Policy at the University of Sydney, and author of the book Flaws: Shark Bites and Emotional Public Policymaking. They say that the maligning of these fish harms not only sharks — but humans as well.
July 22, 2022
Gas prices are coming down. Inflation is still going up. Jobs are strong, yet recession fears abound. This week, On the Media dives into the contradictory mess of money news – and what it ultimately says about us.
4. Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth], professor of International Economics and Public Affairs at Brown University, on how the economy is ultimately a mirror of our accomplishments, advances, fears, and mistakes. Listen.
July 21, 2022
This weekend marks five brutal months since Russia invaded Ukraine — with no end in sight. And in Russia, support for the war has remained high. 77% approve of Putin’s actions in Ukraine, according to a survey conducted in late May by the Levada Center, Russia’s only remaining independent pollster. The war, at least in its neatly repackaged, Kremlin-approved form, is somewhat popular amongst Russians. On March 4th, Putin signed a "fake news" law, which threatens imprisonment for any journalist who deviates from the Kremlin's depiction of the war in Ukraine, shielding the operation of a durable and effective propaganda machine — which has been turning its gears for decades.
Independent journalist Anastasiia Carrier was born and raised in Russia. She’s spent the last few years in the US working as a reporter, and actively wrenching herself away from the propaganda she grew up believing about Russia’s unequal prominence. In this episode of On the Media, Carrier talks about breaking away from her past as a Putin supporter.
July 15, 2022
In 2014, the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocked even the most cynical operatives. In February 2015, the Somerset prosecutor announced that John Sheridan had murdered his wife in cold blood and then killed himself. In 2017, the manner of death was updated to “undetermined.” In this episode of On the Media, hear Nancy Solomon's investigation into their brutal deaths, and the damning evidence of corruption she found at the highest levels in the Garden State.
Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery is hosted by Nancy Solomon. You can (and you should!) listen to all 8 episodes here
July 13, 2022
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Attorney General opened up an investigation into the killings of John and Joyce Sheridan, a well known couple with personal ties to three governors. In 2014, they were found stabbed to death, and their home set on fire. Local police thought that John Sheridan murdered his wife and then killed himself. That was eight years ago. So why is the Attorney General revisiting the case now? Well, this year, our WNYC colleague Nancy Solomon released an investigation into their brutal deaths, and found damning evidence of corruption at the highest levels in the Garden State. The series is called Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery. In this midweek podcast, Nancy tells Brooke how she used the true crime format to get listeners to care about corruption in New Jersey.
July 8, 2022
Early in the pandemic, weight was named a risk factor for severe covid-19. But what if the greater risk is poor medical treatment for fat people? This week, On the Media dives into the fictions, feelings, and fraught history of fat. Including how sugar and the slave trade laid the groundwork for American beauty standards.
1. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff [@YoniFreedhoff], Associate Professor of Family Medicine at University of Ottawa, on what we do and don't know about the relation of weight and the severity of a Covid infection. Listen.
2. Katherine Flegal [@CeriseFlegal], epidemiologist and former senior scientist at the Centers For Disease Control, on our flawed understanding of the data around weight and death, and Katie Lebesco [@KatieLeBesco], researcher focusing on food, pop culture, and fat activism, on why the "obesity epidemic" is a moral panic hiding behind a thin veil of scientific language. Listen.
3. Sabrina Strings [@SaStrings], sociologist at the University of California, Irvine, on how European attitudes about fat dramatically changed in the 18th century. and set the standards Americans still see today. Listen.
Music in this Week's Show:
Slim Jenkins Place - Booker T and the MGs
Eye Surgery- Thomas Newman
String Quartet No. 5 (Phillip Glass) - Kronos Quartet
Disfarmer - Bill Frisell
Lost, Night - Bill Frisell
In the Bath - Randy Newman
The De Lessup’s Dance - Gavin Wright
Breakaway - Regina Carter