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Year-End Special #1

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 05:22 PM

(Photo Credit: Avard Woolaver/Flickr)

Radiolab wraps 2015 with a series of special episodes. First, Jad and Robert walk us through some particularly compelling moments from Radiolab's most-listened-to episodes. Then, the producers take center stage and pull back the curtain some more. 


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Comments [16]

Agree with another comment:
"I must say that the meaning of the word "serious" for me is exactly the same as for the Ethiopian journalist who was allowed to ask a question of Secretary Kerry. If one is serious, one takes steps for action."
Serious? Is this a regional difference in "slang" meaning, east vs west coast perhaps? This story could have gone in so many different directions than the one you picked. Seems like it was just spin to account for Secretary of State getting irritated. Heck even if just that, it would make for a good story ending.

Enjoyed the history of football, love hearing the American Indian roots to the modern rules. I grew up near an Indian School, now museum, at Chamberlain, SD and it was hard to see the results, but the re-emergance of their culture gives everyone hope. There needs to be a hero like Jim Thorpe in your story to point out the ultimate champions that rose from schools like Carlisle.

Why just count downloads? I listen to the archive stories but never download them.

Love your show, like the tone, humor, way of asking questions and off-beat topics. I also learn a lot of interesting information. Thank you.

Mar. 22 2016 07:56 PM
Benjamin Marks from Vermont

Well, this feels like piling on. You know that moment in the Princess Bride movie, where Wesley dies and the kid, played by Fred Savage, says, "no grandpa, you read that wrong, he can't die . . " Yup: Seed Pot. I actually rewinded to make sure I didn't miss the denouement. It does seem to me like most Radiolab stories follow --with great success -- a basic three act structure that has served dramatists well since Aristotle. But it is OK. Only the mediocre are always at their very best, and your very best is so very, very good. I do love the year-end compilation. What an ear-treat!

Feb. 09 2016 04:07 PM

For the life of me I cannot figure out why so many people downloaded the seed jar episode. Maybe there was nothing else to listen to that week? Not only is it likely the most boring, inconsequential Radiolab podcast I've heard, I had to last through Molly Webster's insufferable, pre-pubescent inability to utter a single sentence without multiple uses of the word "like." Like , please keep this woman off the air because, like, while she may be a wonderful producer, every time I hear her speak I have to, like, make a guess as to whether or not the rest of the episode will be, like, worth the pain of listening to Ms. Webster rattle on like a "valley" teenager. Like, you know? Gnarly.

Jan. 28 2016 01:17 PM
Chris from Shropshire UK

Radiolab is the standout podcast for me, the stories and incredible production make each episode something very special. I just wanted to point out that the most downloaded episode could well be downloaded so many times because people are thinking it hasn't downloaded properly the first time and doing it again. I hadn't heard the 'serious' episode before but it does seem unusually short and ends abruptly, if it wasn't for the closing comments by Jad and Robert for this special edition I would have thought it hadn't downloaded correctly.

I would think that people tend to subscribe to a podcast rather than download specific episodes so I'm not sure how relevant the number of downloads for each episode is.

BTW the football show is one of the best and has stayed with me since I heard it originally. The stock market episode is one of the best as well.

Thanks to you for creating such an incredible show.

Jan. 22 2016 03:27 AM
Lara from Pacifica, ca

Yea, I agree with the last comment. The seed pot was one of the most boring shows I ever heard on Radiolab. Most of the shows are amazing and incredibly thought-producing. I kept listening, waiting for the "aha" moment that I have grown accustomed to on Radiolab - but, alas! It never came. This one was a dud. Sorry.

Jan. 04 2016 12:42 PM
Bridget Horne from Bellevue, WA

I loved the Carlisle football story. I kept waiting for you to mention Jim Thorpe, as he is one of the most famous persons to come out of the Carlisle system. I wonder if he played in that infamous 1907 game? But his story probably doesn't fit in with the whole origin of football angle you were using. His story is fascinating though, you should check it out. He started as a football player at Carlisle under Pop Warner. He went on to play professional baseball. And of course took home tons of gold and silver medals in track and field in the 1912 Olympics. But then they stripped him of his medals because he played professional baseball. And that's not even the end of the story . . . . seriously, please do a story on JimThorpe!

Dec. 29 2015 07:55 PM
Ed Stephen from London

I love listening so thanks for making the show, I am always surprised by the responses of people complaining that it 'Isnt about science anymore' , 'Is turning into This American Life' or some other nonsense - its a continually varied programme and its to be expected that with a varied content not everyone is going to like or connect with each episode so maybe stop whinging, pledge a bit of support and be thankful that something is being made with genuine joyful curiosity.

I hadn't listened to the American Football story before and it was fascinating. THANKS!

Dec. 28 2015 11:46 AM

Regarding the last --No.1 "best" episode according to this podcast-- I must say that the meaning of the word "serious" for me is exactly the same as for the Ethiopian journalist who was allowed to ask a question of Secretary Kerry. If one is serious, one takes steps for action.

Dec. 25 2015 10:39 PM

9 out of 10 people that listen to this show DON'T pledge.

That's awful.

I pledged. You guys do such great work and the quality of the show is amazing.

This year special was awesome.

Dec. 25 2015 12:27 PM
Yaron from San Diego

Number of downloads is a poor proxy for episode quality. I'm a massive Radiolab fan and the seed jar episode is one of weakest episodes I've heard. It's a story where nothing happens. My girlfriend heard Radiolab for the first time by listening to the start of this episode and I had to ensure her that it's not representative of the quality you produce. Next time you guys do a best-of episode, I recommend using a poll.

Dec. 24 2015 08:54 PM
Matt from Seattle, WA

Could we have links to the previous episodes this covers (or simply titles)? I haven't listened to all the back catalog yet and I'd like to download those before listening to this one.

Dec. 23 2015 06:16 PM
William Farrell from Brooklyn, NY

For the life of me I can't understand how the Carlisle vs. Yale story has not yet been made into a major motion picture. I mean, aside from it lacking a white Anglo-Saxon protagonist of course.

Dec. 23 2015 01:45 PM
rhkennerly from Virginia Beach, Va

Good stories but now there are too many fresh, new podcasts out there for me to justify walking the same ground twice anymore. Holidays are for catching up & clearing the listening backlog. Evergreen is dead. Even listening at 2X, I'm sure i'll end up dumping some quality podcasts unheard on the First.

Dec. 23 2015 12:52 PM

Best. Thing. On. The. Radio. EVER. THANK YOU to the entire Radiolab crew for making a show that is wondrous, engaging, wrenching, and awe-inspiring. Can't imagine my life without it.

Dec. 23 2015 12:21 PM
Erik Czerwin from Rockford, IL

I love Radiolab...
My son and daughter have been listening since they were 5 and 7 years old. We've listened to almost every episode together (some parental censorship does apply once in awhile). I'll never forget the moment my son and I were driving to a rocket launch in Wisconsin when we listened to the episode "Speed." When she said that she stopped an atom..... Simultaneous "Whoa"s were shouted in the car. My son is filled with wonder, and Radiolab is the prefect way for us to explore the world during what would otherwise be wasted time. Thanks, Jad and Robert and the whole Radiolab crew.

Dec. 23 2015 10:43 AM
Sick Rantorum from Paris

Regarding the story of the seed pot: 11 years is a long time to wait before returning to something that isn't there. In just under 30 minutes, I was made to feel that exact desperation of searching for significance in an inconsequential, random event with no satisfying conclusion.

Dec. 23 2015 07:45 AM

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