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The Radio Lab

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 11:04 PM

(Photo Credit: Arianne Wack)
15 years ago the very first episode of Radiolab, fittingly called "Firsts," hit the airwaves. It was a 3-hour long collection of documentaries and musings produced by a solitary sleep-deprived producer named Jad Abumrad. Things have changed a bit since then.
Today, with help from our long time Executive Producer Ellen Horne, we celebrate our 15th birthday by surprising Jad and Robert in the studio and forcing them to look back on a time when “Radiolab” was just that: a lab for experimenting with radio.   
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Comments [21]

Steven from Georgia

It would be amazing if you guys at Radiolab could release some or all of these old tapes! I know it may make you cringe when you listen back to it, reflecting on earlier times in your career, however, the archive clips that were played in this episode gave many of us long time listeners that unique inspiration that comes from first listening to Radiolab.

Jul. 21 2017 10:19 AM

I can't believe I have to be the first one to say it. Please put the original Radiolab episodes up here for us to download and listen to! I for one would be thrilled to hear this show's roots.

Jul. 12 2017 09:34 AM

You are true artists. Even your earliest episodes are produced with such vision and grace. You have been a constant in my life for the last decade and have brought me to tears with the beauty that exists in the depths of human curiosity and wonder. Thank you for making my world bigger and fascinating on the most microscopic of levels.

Jul. 08 2017 11:16 PM
Will Heath from Cornish, Maine

Just heard your program on the Galopagas Islands. two things, please: What happened to the bodies of the goats that were shot; were they exhumed, left to rot, if so, how many? The chronology of your story was the forest, turtles, the goats, the flies, the finches - extinctions. The flies appeared after the execution of the goats.
2nd Did anyone consider the live goats to be livestock for the nations/peoples that are starving; the cost of the copters, sharpshooters, electronics; even if the costs were higher, could it not be a better overall possibility?
Not criticisms, observations for future considerations.

Jul. 08 2017 02:11 PM
L. from FL

I remember a couple years ago when I first started listening to radiolab I decided to look up a bunch of topics I was interested in learning about because I wanted to see if radiolab had episodes about those things. One of the first things I looked up was time. That's the episode that made me fall in love with radiolab. :) I love that episode and enjoyed listening to part of it again. I'll be sure to look it up to listen to the rest of it! :)

Jun. 21 2017 06:32 PM
Steven Nelson from Vancouver, Washington

I have been listening since the beginning. It is captivating in part because of the obvious love and respect that Robert and Jad have for each other. These are very close friends who can casually and lightly discuss very, very heavy topics. Very thoughtful sound editing is the second remarkable thing about the productions. Music, sound effects, commentary and narration are artfully braided together. Third, the conversational style and tone of technical themes that could be, in other settings, incredibly boring are brought to life in the minds eye!

Jun. 16 2017 06:24 PM
Payne from Columbia SC

I really enjoyed this step back in time and the topics covered. And I really enjoyed hearing a clip of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's music!

Jun. 16 2017 04:04 PM
Andy Allen

Anyone know the song that begins at the end of the 'parent clock' at about 23:00?

Jun. 05 2017 08:57 PM
iheartpostrock from New Iberia, LA

The song playing around the 9 minute mark is called "Storm" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Jun. 02 2017 06:36 PM
Katy P from Seattle, WA

YES! Please resurrect the oldies but goodies, topical or otherwise.

Jun. 01 2017 11:43 AM

Does anyone know the song from the part around 8:40 where Robert is talking about memories? I recognize it but it's making me crazy because I can't remember the source.

May. 31 2017 07:18 PM
Sloppy from Sweden

Was just listening to the Beethoven's 9th stretched last week. Yes, I learned of it here from that episode. A happy tear for Oliver Sacks. And I remembered enjoying, despite knowing the story quite well, the "bet" regarding the horse. I understood it as a "gentleman's bet" (no stakes).

May. 31 2017 07:22 AM
Floopjack from Cleveland, OH

Comments section may not be the best place for this, but if the earliest episodes have dropped off the RSS, are they still available somehow? I would happily pay for a collection if it helped Radiolab continue. Some of my fondest memories of this show are from the first episodes, though, honestly, there has never been a dull one. :)

May. 30 2017 04:08 PM

Anyone have links to the episode mentioned here?

Speaking of history, what ever happened to Robert's pbs novascience now tv show?

May. 30 2017 11:45 AM
Rob from Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

That's a shame that old episodes seem to get knocked off the bottom of your RSS feed. I use the "Pocket Casts" app on Android, and the list of Radiolab episodes available there goes back to April 2007. I often do go back and listen to old episodes from that list. But I'm looking forward to you revisiting some of your episodes from even earlier years.

May. 30 2017 09:05 AM
Audrey Muzingo from Mobile, AL

Some point in my late twenties I came to the same, typical realization that Oliver described, whereby distant years back seemed more relevant and longer than more recent ones. I'm not sure if I'll ever understand the first part of that, but as for the second, the conceived speeding of years, I came up with a sort of hypothesis then. It's so simplistic I always expect to hear or read someone else stating it (like while listening to this podcast), yet for some reason I can never find anyone explaining the sense of years getting shorter like I imagine. It's simply this: the more years a person has lived, the shorter each subsequent year feels, because it is a smaller percentage of time experienced by them, than any prior years. Your eighth birthday feels like ages ago on your ninth, because the past year has made up a full 1/9th of your total life, whereas the year between twenty-eight and twenty-nine was only 1/29th of your life. Though we know a year is a year no matter when it occurred, our brains have a stubborn side that insists on making comparisons skewed by having already seen so many birthdays, Christmases, presidential elections, etc.

May. 30 2017 04:05 AM
Simon from Sydney- Australia

I had forgotten- then instantly remembered the parent clock. This is one of the most beautiful and creative captures of time - my reaction hearing it again tonight was the same as the first time, on a crowded train. A tearful reminder of the brevity of time.

It was also so nostalgically fitting to hear from dr. Sacks

Thanks radiolab- I look forward to hearing updates on the good , the bad and colours.


May. 29 2017 06:47 AM
Marc Bastarache from Baie de Bouctouche, NB Canada

Just now discovering podcasts.. I've seen RadioLab listed highly in virtually every Top 100 chart I've explored.. Gave it a shot on this 15th anniversary episode (my first listen to RadioLab).. I'm hooked permanently.. Loved the segment on time.. Thanks! :)

May. 27 2017 09:27 PM
jeffrey S Gladden from South Bend, IN

I totally remember the time episode. In fact I have it downloaded on my local machine along with everything else you guys have made. I forgot Oliver Sacks was interviewed on this one. I miss him! I cant wait for you guys to revisit the "space" episode. the Ann Druyan interview is one of the most touching and beautiful stories I've ever heard. And don't forget to revisit Wagner's Ring episode!!. Congratulations on 15 years.

May. 27 2017 08:28 PM
Omar from Anaheim, CA

Wow, amazing how long you both have been on air and the amazing quality you all have continued to bring to this podcast.

May. 26 2017 08:12 PM
Jason from Detroit, MI

I absolutely love the idea of you guys revisiting your old episodes!

May. 26 2017 12:02 PM

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