Special Programming

Curated special programming from Chicago Public Media and Public Radio producers from across the country.


Monday, January 18, 2016 Martin Luther King Day Special Programming:

9am:  Special: Studs Terkel’s 1963 “This Train” (WBEZ)

Among the hundreds of thousands who joined Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 1963 March on Washington D.C for civil rights were some 800 Chicagoans who traveled there overnight by train. Chicago legend Studs Terkel went with them. He brought his tape recorder and chronicled the whole journey.  The voices and thoughts of his fellow travelers bring us all a little closer to that historic experience. The trip culminated  with King's now-famous "I Have a Dream" speech.   From Studs Terkel’s archives listen for a special hour long program called “This Train.” 

NOTE: To access the entire Studs Terkel Radio Archive at WFMT visit:   www.studsterkel.org



Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 1pm: "Reveal" (PRX)

Reveal is a Peabody Award-winning investigative journalism program for public radio from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

This week’s episode is entitled “Decoding Discrimination in America’s Temp Industry” and features, among others, a report by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell that focuses on a Chicago organizer who is trying to get Latinos to help end discrimination against African-American temps.
The temporary jobs sector is one of our fastest-growing industries in terms of employment. But there's another side to the temp world: a blatant system of racial discrimination that evokes practices of America's pre-civil rights era. This hour of Reveal will explore this type of discrimination and look at how it’s affecting people around the country.



Friday, January 1, 2016

9am: Special: “Curious City/Mystery City”
In a special hour-long program, WBEZ’s Curious City solves everyday mysteries about Chicago that stump listeners.  And these mysteries  go beyond the soaring skyscrapers and the shine on the Bean.
12pm: Special: "TED Radio Hour: Transformation" (NPR)
Stories and ideas about becoming a different person or who you were meant to be.  Are we simply the sum of our experiences? Or can we choose our own path? In this hour, TED speakers share stories of undergoing remarkable transformations despite extraordinary challenges. Zak Ebrahim tells the story of being raised to hate, as the son of terrorist El-Sayyid Nosair, and how he chose a different path. Fashion model Geena Rocero talks about being born a boy, and becoming who she was meant to be. MIT professor Hugh Herr describes how he lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago, and how he’s now building the next generation of bionic limbs. Writer Shaka Senghor recounts his long journey from crime to prison to redemption

Thursday, December 31, 2015

7pm:  Sound Opinions Best Albums of 2015 (WBEZ)
Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their top ten lists of the Best Albums of 2015 -- And track the musical trends of the year.  Some of those artists mentioned include rapper Kendrick Lamar, Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett, New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus, and more. They also take calls from listeners in Chicago and Boston who nominate 2015 albums by Beach Slang, Sufjan Stevens, and Braids.

8pm: Special – Dinner Party Download Party Best of 2015
Sit back, relax, and aim your ears at these standout moments from punk singer Carrie Brownstein, artist Laurie Anderson, actor Oscar Isaac, comedian Michael Ian Black, and dance-pop maestro Shamir. Plus, your favorite icebreaker and history lesson of the year... and a Small Talk mash-up. (We'll call it Tiny Talk!) 
It’s a fast and funny hour of culture, food and conversation; essentially, it’s “public radio’s arts & leisure section.”

9pm – 2:30am: Special – Toast of the Nation 

The New Year’s tradition continues with jazz you can party to through the night. Host Rhonda Hamilton travels around the county -- to New York, Chicago, Denver  and Monterey…to hear music from Wynton Marsalis Quintet, trombone superstar Wycliffe Gordon, the late Clark Terry,…and others.   Join WBEZ for a non-stop celebration of musical fireworks that will keep you dancing and swinging all night long.  Wycliffe Gordon at Newport, The Wynton Marsalis Quintet in New York City, Clark Terry in Chicago and  a set from the funk band Snarky Puppy.



Friday, December 25, 2015

9am: Tinsel Tales #3 (NPR)  

Be transported to unexpected places on Tinsel Tales -- a collection of NPR Christmas stories.  Listen for tales that are funny, touching, irreverent and surprising.  Among those sharing thoughts -- Audie Cornish, Nina Totenberg and Amy Dickinson…as well as other voices from NPR's past and present.  It’s a special hour of stories of the season.

Featured Stories:    December's Soundtrack (Amy Dickinson);   Christmas With UPS (Loree Gold);  Merry Stressmas: It's That Time Of The Year (Kevin Kling);  Appreciating The Ugliness Of The Christmas Tree (Ken Harbaugh);  Stealing Hemlock (Bailey White);   Christmas Lights Tour (Bill Harley);  Christmas With The Totenbergs (Nina Totenberg);  The Gift Of The Magi (O. Henry, read by NPR's Audie Cornish);  Christmas For Cows (Baxter Black);  Christmas Pudding (Marialisa Calta);  Caroling In The Cold (Julie Zickefoose);  Christmas Magic (Joseph C. Phillips);  Grinch's True End (John Moe)


12pm Vinyl Café -“Dinner at Tommy’s” (PRX/CBC)

Christmas is a big tradition for the Vinyl Cafe. This year host Stuart McLean and The Vinyl Cafe present their Christmas concert from Seattle. You’ll hear the misadventures of Dave, owner of the imaginary Vinyl Cafe – the world’s smallest record store where the motto is “We May Not Be Big, But We’re Small.”  Plus stunning music from folksinger Reid Jamieson.  The Vinyl Café usually airs Thursday nights at 10pm on WBEZ.  Join us Thursday at noon for hilarious stories and beautiful music.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

9am: On Being – The Inner Landscape of Beauty (APM)  
Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher beloved for his book Anam Ċara, Gaelic for "soul friend," and for his insistence on beauty as a human calling and a defining aspect of God. 
In one of his last interviews before his death in 2008, he articulated an imagination about how the material and the spiritual — the visible and the invisible — intertwine in human experience. His voice and writings continue to bring ancient mystical wisdom to modern confusions and longings.
12pm Homemade Stories:  The Struggle is Real (WBEZ/PRX)
Award-winning storyteller Shannon Cason takes us on a journey that finds hope in struggle. From navigating Detroit’s overwhelmed criminal justice system, to searching for work and finding closed doors, to being a father after failing in marriage, to finding anchors in a sea of uncertainty, Shannon's stories are heartfelt, heartbreaking and hilarious all at once. But above all else, his stories are honest. Shannon Cason is the real deal.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

7pm: "Heating Up: An NPR Special on the Climate Summit in Paris"  (in place of The World)

This week, political leaders from nearly 200 countries are in Paris for a United Nations summit on climate change. The global community has tried before, with limited success, to find ways to limit warming of the planet. Will this time be different?
“Heating Up” is a one-hour special hosted by NPR’s Ari Shapiro. He says “It’s like a crash course in science, diplomacy and the state of the planet.” 
The program looks at current science of climate change, how much time scientists say we haves to address it, the political and economic challenges nations will face during the meeting in Paris…and what solutions might come from the summit.


Thursday, November 26, 2015 from 9am - 11am:  "Best of the Best:  The Third Coast’s 2015 Festival Broadcast"

The Thanksgiving holiday tradition continues as the Third Coast International Audio Festival features the BEST new documentaries produced worldwide.  You get a glimpse into the art of audio storytelling.  Listen for the 2015 "Best of the Best", hosted by ReSound’s Gwen Macsai.
This year's winners were especially memorable. Here's a sampling:
  • The Living Room, an intimate account of one woman's voyeuristic relationship with her neighbors.
  • 695BGK, an African-American man is shot by a white police officer, and lives to tell his story of racial injustice. 
  • Sounds Up There, astronauts and a sound designer meditate on the unearthly soundscape of outer space. 
  • Mayday Mayday, one actor recounts his journey from paralysis to recovery in this docu-drama.
12pm "The Science of Gratitude" (PRI)
Turns out that feeling grateful may be the key to both happiness AND health.  Join WBEZ for “The Science of Gratitude”  a one-hour documentary focusing on the latest about the power of being thankful. Hosted by Susan Sarandon, you’ll  hear how to cultivate more  gratitude in the workplace, in relationships, in health and in raising kids.  A perfect audio companion for you while you prepare your Thanksgiving meal.


Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at 3pm (Pre-empts On The Media Saturday at 3pm)

“The Iran Nuclear Deal Hosted by Steve Inskeep:  An NPR News Special”

Few Americans remember that Iran launched its nuclear program in the 1950s with the direct backing of its then ally, the United States. That American support would turn to sanctions and threats of war over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The bitter rivals opened secret negotiations two years ago and are now party to a high-risk deal.  Supporters and critics agree it’s a pivotal moment – but for better or worse?

“The Iran Nuclear Deal” is a one-hour special hosted by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.  This program examines how this nuclear agreement came to be, the heated debate in Washington, and how the deal could play out in the Middle East as it goes through a period of historic upheaval. 

* A history of the deal from 1957 through present day.

* The anatomy of the deal – fact checking and unpacking the elements of this complex agreement by a team of NPR correspondents including Peter Kenyon, Geoff Brumfiel, Michele Kelemen and Deborah Amos.

* How the deal could play out across the globe – perspectives on and about Israel, The Gulf, broader U.S. foreign policy, and of course, Iran.



Labor Day, Monday September 7, 2015

9am:  Ted Radio Hour:  Success --Ideas about what makes us successful
Success has become synonymous with how much money you make and how high you climb the career ladder. But in what way can we define success beyond those boundaries? In this hour, TED speakers share what makes for an accomplished life. Life coach Tony Robbins discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions.   
Mike Rowe tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Writer Alain de Botton makes a case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work. Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth says "grit" is a reliable predictor of success.
12pm: Reveal  (September Episode): America’s Coldest Cases
In this episode of Public Radio’s Investigative program “Reveal,” inside America’s coldest cases. There are more than 10,000 John and Jane Does in the U.S. – unidentified and unclaimed bodies languishing in limbo for years, sometimes for decades. In the episode, we crisscross the nation tracing John and Jane Doe cases, showing why so many bodies remain unidentified despite new and powerful forensic tools. Often the job of solving these cases is taken up by amateur web sleuths.


Friday July 3, 2015

9am:  Ted Radio Hour:  The Act of Listening (NPR)

Listening — to loved ones, strangers, faraway places — is an act of generosity and a source of discovery. You’ll hear excerpts from Ted talk speakers and interviews with them as they describe how we change when we listen deeply.

We start with an excerpt of WBEZ’s “Ghetto Life 101” that established a new form of first-person storytelling and a talk with producer Dave Isay on what happens when people are given a voice….Honor Harger on what space sounds like…and world-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie on how we listen when we’re unable to hear. She’s almost entirely deaf.

Also, Reverend Jeffrey Brown on how listening can transform an entire community.  And the hour concludes with more from Storycorps founder Dave Isay on how we change when we listen to the people we love.



12pm: Reveal:  Power Struggle – The Perilous Price of America’s Energy Boom (PRX/June episode of Reveal)

In this hour of investigative reporting we explore energy production in the United States. From North Dakota to Oklahoma, Texas and Washington, we’ll look at how fracking has opened new realms of oil and gas production – and we’ll examine some of the complex consequences of so-called energy independence.

We head to North Dakota to examine the story of one young man’s tragic death, exposing the dangers oil workers face.  Also, the man considered “The Father of Fracking;” Host Al Letson talks to Marketplace energy reporter Scott Tong about George Mitchell, a man many refer to as the father of fracking. Tong did a rare interview with Mitchell a few months before he died in 2013.

A look at Oklahoma’s man-made earthquakes…and we’ll hear from a volunteer group that tracks oil trains – what they’re carrying and where they’re going.



Memorial Day, Monday May 25, 2013

9am:  “We’ve Never been the Same: A War Story” (PRX)

The story of one night of battle and the decades of recovery that followed.

All wars are the same, it is said; only the scenery changes. And the repercussions are pretty much the same too.

Over the course of five years, reporter Adam Piore gathered the stories of the surviving members of Delta Company, a Vietnam-era paratrooper unit;  what was at first a book has been turned into a radio story.   

At Fort Campbell before deployment, Delta was a ragtag bunch, the “leftovers” as one of their fellow soldiers put it, but on the night of March 18th, 1968, they became heroes. Their leader won the Congressional Medal of Honor and two others won the nation’s second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, for their valor that night when the company endured a long and devastating battle—not as long or as devastating, however, as the years that followed, after the men of Delta Company came home separately to live alone with the memories.

Adam Piore became dedicated to this group of guys and to their common story of trauma, guilt, courage, heartbreak, and reunion. Produced with help from Jay Allison.



12pm:  “Backstory:  Monumental Disagreements” (PRX)

This is a country awash in monuments. They adorn traffic circles, street corners and, of course, the National Mall. In this special Memorial Day episode of BackStory, the American History Guys explore the idea of national remembrance. What or whom have Americans chosen to memorialize? And what do these choices say about us? Monuments and the controversies that surround them at noon on Memorial Day on WBEZ.



2pm:  Here and Now (Hour 2)

3pm:  All Things Considered


Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 1pm   (Marketplace Weekend is pre-empted)

In a nod to the Academy Awards, we pre-empt Marketplace Weekend at 1pm for an hour-long special from KPCC called, The Frame: Oscars 2015.  It’s a roundup of interviews with people behind the best movies of the year. 



Wednesday, February 4, 2015 (Worldview is pre-empted)

12pm:  Governor Rauner's State of the State. Live Coverage at 12pm

Live from Springfield.  Anchored by Tony Sarabia.


Monday, January 19, 2015 Martin Luther King Day Special Programming:

9am:  Studs Terkel’s 1963 “This Train” (WBEZ)

Among the hundreds of thousands who joined Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 1963 March on Washington D.C for civil rights were some 800 Chicagoans who traveled there overnight by train. Chicago legend Studs Terkel went with them. He brought his tape recorder and chronicled the whole journey.  The voices and thoughts of his fellow travelers bring us all a little closer to that historic experience. The trip culminated  with King's now-famous "I Have a Dream" speech.   From Studs Terkel’s archives listen for a special 90-minute program called “This Train.” 


NOTE: To access the entire Studs Terkel archive at WFMT visit:   www.studsterkel.org


10:30am: BBC Documentary:  "August Shines"

Playwright August Wilson created a ten-cycle sequence of plays. In them he charts the stories of black Americans across ten decades of the twentieth century.   Award-winning British actor Lenny Henry travels to Pittsburgh to retrace the steps of the late August Wilson – considered one of contemporary America’s great playwrights.  



12pm "King's Last March" (American Radio Works/APM)

Although it was one of the most challenging and controversial chapters of his career, the final year of King's life has not been the focus of significant public attention. This dramatic and illuminating documentary uses a rich mix of archival tape, oral histories and contemporary interviews to paint a vivid picture of what may have been the most difficult year of Dr. King's life.



2pm:  Afternoon Shift “The March from Selma to Montgomery: The Chicago Connection”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. On this special one-hour edition of the Afternoon Shift, we’ll commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and 50 years since the definitive march by talking to three Chicagoans and civil rights activists – former Alderman Dorothy Tillman, Professor Timuel Black and Father George Clements --  who spent time in Selma and marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. We’ll also hear from Ava Duvernay, the director of the movie “Selma” and David Oyelowo, who portrayed Dr. King in the movie.



Thursday, January 1, 2015 Special Programming:

9am  “Curious City’s Chicago Superlatives” (WBEZ)

Think you know the Chicago region?  The Curious City team collects stories that reveal what can be applied to the city when it comes to categories like “biggest,” “oldest,” or “most forgotten.” What’s the city’s highest natural point? (An ice cream shop sits right on it, believe it or not!) What’s the spot with the most biodiversity? (One park’s loaded with hundreds of plant species, including Midwestern cactus!) Just some of the Chicago surprises in store for you New Year's Day at 9am.


12pm  Political Junkie’s 2014 Remembrances with Ken Rudin (PRX)

Join political junkie Ken Rudin as he and guests remember the lawmakers and newsmakers from the world of politics who passed away this year. Ken will be joined by the colleagues, friends and journalists to chronicle the accomplishments of those  we lost in 2014.   From giants, like former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and Tom Menino of Boston, to headline-makers like Ohio Congressman James Traficant, White House press secretary James Brady, Vermont Senator James Jeffords, and Mayor Jane Byrne of Chicago, and many more, we hear about their legacies from those who knew them best.



2pm  WBEZ’s After Water Special  (WBEZ)

WBEZ’s “After Water Series” blended science, journalism and art. We invited fiction writers to create stories set in the Great Lakes, one hundred years in the future, when clean fresh water could be a rare resource. Listen for our favorite stories from the series --  along with interviews on the real science and policy behind the fiction. 



Wednesday, December 31, 2014 – New Year’s Eve Special Programming

2pm:  Innovation Hub:  Ringing in the Future (PRI)

At the start of the New Year, Innovation Hub looks at the research, industries, gadgets and more that will change your world. What you’ll need to know for 2015. Including the surprising power of our social networks, the pros and cons of our increasingly connected homes and David Pogue on whey passwords are an unreasonable burden and why we shouldn’t have to endure them anymore


8pm – 2:15am  Toast of the Nation (NPR)

The New Year’s Eve tradition continues with jazz you can party to all night long.  This year Toast of the Nation travels to the Newport Jazz Festival  for Jon Batiste and Stay Human.  Then to the the Winter Jazzfest will magical performances from Big Chief Donald Harrison, Gretchen Parlato and others.  From New York, Wynton Marsalis leads an ensemble in celebration of the New Orleans pioneers Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver.   And listen for a thrilling performance by Dee Alexander’s Funkin’ with Electric Soul:  A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. This performance tore up Chicago’s South Shore Cultural Center a couple years ago.   Plus Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from L.A. in tribute to Cab Calloway.

It’s a non-stop celebration of musical fireworks as we count down to 2015!  It will keep you dancing and swinging all night!



Thursday Dec. 25, 2014 – Special Programming for Christmas Day

9am:  On Being:  The Last Quiet Places: Silence and the Presence of Everything (getting special dropbox feed)

Silence is an endangered species, says Gordon Hempton. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a "solar-powered jukebox." Quiet is a "think tank of the soul." We take in the world through his ears, including a visit Hempton is founder and vice president of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation based in Washington. He has produced more than 60 albums of natural soundscapes.



12pm:  The Christmas Truce:  When Opposing Soldier Spontaneously Broke the Trance of War in 1914 (Humankind/PRX)

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, we take a compelling look at the 1914 Christmas Truce, in which opposing soldiers in WW1 risked court-martial by laying down their arms. They emerged from their trenches and actually exchanged holiday gifts and sang carols together during their short-lived ceasefire on the frozen battlefield of Flanders, Belgium. John McCutcheon performs and discusses his Grammy-nominated folksong, 'Christmas in the Trenches', which he sang decades after the war for elderly veterans who participated in the truce. And we hear details from historians Stanley Weintraub and Scott Bennett who have written about fascinating war-time peace efforts.

The second half of this documentary examines the history of U.S. conscientious objectors in WW1, some of whom were brutalized for their opposition to the Great War, includes rare WW1 archival audio.


2pm:  Curious City – Chicago Superlatives (WBEZ)

Think you know the Chicago region?  The Curious City team collects stories that reveal what can be applied to the city when it comes to categories like “biggest,” “oldest,” or “most forgotten.” What’s the city’s highest natural point? (An ice cream shop sits right on it, believe it or not!) What’s the spot with the most biodiversity? (One park’s loaded with hundreds of plant species, including Midwestern cactus!) Just some of the Chicago surprises in store for you Christmas Day at 2pm.



Special Programming Christmas Eve -- Wednesday, December 24, 2014

9am:  Tinsel Tales (1) (NPR)

Join Lynn Neary and WBEZ for an hour of features from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. You’ll hear classics from David Sedaris with his SantaLand Diaries, but also Jay Allison recalling his father at holiday dinner, Bailey White with a low-glamour Christmas Party…Scott Simon on a Modern Day Joseph and Mary…and other NPR voices, past and present, telling stories of the season.


12pm:  First Family of Radio: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Historic Broadcasts (American Radio Works-Encore)

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were the "first couple" of American radio. From the 1920s through FDR's fourth term, the president and first lady used this extraordinarily powerful new medium to win elections, combat the Great Depression and rally the nation to fight fascism.  Join us for “The First Family of Radio” documenting how the Roosevelts forever changed the way Americans relate to the White House and its occupants.  Their legacy helped shape our political media today.


2pm:  Moth Radio Hour Holiday Special:  Monkeys, Megachurches and First Elves (encore from 12/20)

A special holiday edition of The Moth Radio Hour: Simon Doonan encounters challenges when called on to decorate the White House for Christmas, a man is hesitant to work with a ‘Hollywood’ style church in his neighborhood, a Jewish girl meets Santa, and a boy thinks his dreams have finally come true when he gets an exotic pet.

3pm:  Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular: Holiday Pop Parade (PRX – Encore)

This is a Christmas special like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan (Sir-zan) scours record stores, dustbins and basements to find the best and most unique tunes for the season. And each year he treats Sound Opinions listeners to a much-anticipated hour of music and a free mix to download. This year is Holiday Pop Parade -- fun and joyous selections from the 1960's and 1970's, including tracks by Miles Davis, Claudine Longet and The Free Design.


Thursday, November 27, 2014 – Special Programming for Thanksgiving


9am-11am:  Third Coast’s “Best of the Best” (2 Hours)

Our Thanksgiving tradition continues as the Third Coast International Audio Festival presents the best new documentaries produced worldwide. "Best of the Best," is hosted by award-winning writer, producer and humorist Gwen Macsai. 

This year's winners are especially memorable. Listen for Burroughs at 100, an extraordinary profile of influential author William S. Burroughs, hosted by Iggy Pop.  The Hospital Always Wins, a ten-year journey to discover why a talented artist is being held in a mental hospital. Help Wanted, a delicately-told tale of a young man addicted to porn and his search for help. And Leaving a Mark, a riveting story of an ex-con who turns to Craigslist to have his swastika tatoo removed.

Best of the Best also features interviews with winning producers who give us a glimpse into the art of audio storytelling, and excerpts from the 14th annual Third Coast Awards Ceremony hosted by Roman Mars of 99% Invisible.


12pm:  Hidden Kitchens World (PRX)

Hidden Kitchens host Frances McDormand takes you through a rich international collection of stories of land, community and food.  It’s an evocative hour of beautifully-crafted radio that chronicles little-known kitchen rituals and traditions, inspired by The Kitchen Sisters series heard on Morning Edition. Hidden Kitchens – how communities come together through food.  

Guests include:  Gael Garcia Bernal (star of Motorcycle Diaries and Jon Stewart’s new film, Rosewater), Werner Herzog, Salman Rushdie and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.




“Beyond the Frontlines:  A Storycorps Military Voices Special” (ENCORE)

This special that WBEZ aired on Sunday night at 8pm was so good we’re re-airing it on Tuesday (Vets Day) at 2pm.  

"Beyond the Frontlines: A StoryCorps Military Voices Special” feature Dave Isay and Sylvie Lubow, who heads the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative, in an unscripted conversation about the importance of listening to and honoring the experiences of post-911 service members and their families. 

Dave will share StoryCorps interviews about dedication, loss, camaraderie, and the transition back to civilian life. They are often difficult to hear; but these men and women deserve more than a "thank you for your service" -- their stories need to be heard, and they need to know that we're listening.

As retired Oklahoma National Guardsmen Justin Cliburn put it, "People ask me, 'What was it like when you were in Iraq?' And it's really hard to ever give a straight answer. But it's really easy to direct them to the StoryCorps interview and say, 'Well, this is exactly what one aspect of it was like.'”



Special Programming: Wednesday, September 17

11pm: America  Abroad:  “Women’s Rights After the Arab Spring” (Encore)

The revolutions that swept across the Middle East in 2011, known as "The Arab Spring," promised greater freedoms for many in the region, including women. While there have been some advances in women's rights, the promise in many cases has not been realized.

In this month's America Abroad, an encore presentation: Women's Rights after the Arab Spring. We travel to Egypt, Turkey and the Gulf States to assess how and where women's rights have progressed. 


Special Programming:  Monday, Sept 1, 2014,  Labor Day:

9am:  "The Science of Smart" (American Radio Works)

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better.

We’ll explore some of the big ideas coming out of brain science by meeting the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds onto knowledge. And we’ll also meet the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.



12pm America Abroad:  "When Water Scarcity Leads to Conflict"

The struggle to secure clean water is intensely felt in Sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan.  You’ll hear stories of those caught up in that struggle. Including from unapologetic water thieves, reporters turned refugees, and rural residents whose way of life may be completed decimated because of the wording in a decades old international treaty. Also the voices of American officials, NGO’s, and entrepreneurs on what the West can and should do to help those in need.  



2pm "Chewing the Fat Labor Day Special with Monica Eng and Louisa Chu"

Louisa Chu and Monica Eng help make your Labor Day load a little lighter with advice on summer tomatoes, sustainable fish and the best dining room music in the city. Also, you can take a trip to one of Chicago’s new Dong Bei (BAY) regional restaurants and learn what’s best to order. All that and more on the Chewing the Fat Labor Day special




Special Programming:  Friday, July 4, 2014:

9am "Right To Vote" (Humankind)

A look at the much-contested right to vote in America:  from slaves freed after the Civil War, to women’s suffrage, to the civil rights movement, to today's debate over whether voters should be required to show I-D at the polls. In The Right to Vote, we you’ll hear diverse voices and views of the long battle over who is included in our democracy.    http://humanmedia.org/rtvstations/


12pm "America Abroad:  The Power of Art in a Changing Middle East"

Film, music and art are often the best ways to capture the will and the mood of the people in times of turmoil. Art sometimes has the power to move millions where politics fails.  We attempt to identify some prominent artistic voices in the Middle East, North Africa and in South Asia and evaluate their take on liberal ideals, on sectarian violence, on terrorism and how they're being received by audiences in both the Arab and Muslim communities and in the West.  http://www.americaabroad.org/radio


1pm-3pm  Science Friday -- Two Hours


3pm  Nerdette: Great Lady Nerds of American History (WBEZ)

Nerdette features the stories of women too often relegated to the footnotes of history books.  You’ll hear  the story of journalist Nellie Bly, astronaut Sally Ride, painter Georgia O'Keeffe, women of the civil rights movement and more. Join us as hosts Tricia and Greta bring the stories of these remarkable and trailblazing women to life.      http://nerdettepodcast.com/





Special Programming: Monday, May 26, 2014:

9am “Chewing the Fat:  Grilling Special” 
As you get ready to host or attend a Memorial Day barbecue Monica Eng and Louisa Chu offer grilling tips from Chicago pitmaster and “Low and Slow” author Gary Wiviott. We chat with broadcaster Bill Kurtis about his new all-grass-fed beef hot dog, which he calls a health food. And we learn from gluten free author and blogger April Peveteaux how to  accommodate gluten free guests at your next cookout.
12pm “Mine Enemy: The Story of German POWs in America”
During World War II, some 400,000 captured German soldiers were shipped across the Atlantic to prison camps dotted throughout the U.S. Suddenly the enemy was hoeing the back garden, and sometimes, sitting at the kitchen table. This sound-rich, hour-long special combines archival sound and period music with voices of those who lived this most unusual moment in history.


Special Programming:  Thursday, February 13, 2014:

2pm "Backstory:  Love Me Did -- A History of Courtship"

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, the History Guys explore three centuries of pre-marital intimacy. Did economic considerations used to play a greater role in coupling? In what ways have dating practices challenged class & racial boundaries? Has the idea of “romance” itself morphed over time?


3pm "ReWriting Black History -- A State of the Re:Union Special"

In this hour, State of the Re:Union zeroes in on some Black History alternate narratives, ones edited out of the mainstream imagining of Black History… and deconstructing the popular perception of certain celebrated moments. From a more complicated understanding of the impact of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 on Jackson, Mississippi… to a city in Oklahoma still trying to figure out how to tell the history of one particular race riot… to one woman’s wrangling with her own personal racial history.





MLK Day Special Programming, Monday, January 20, 2014:

Morning Edition airs until 9am**

9am "King's Last March" (American Radio Works/APM)

Although it was one of the most challenging and controversial chapters of his career, the final year of King's life has not been the focus of significant public attention. This dramatic and illuminating documentary uses a rich mix of archival tape, oral histories and contemporary interviews to paint a vivid picture of what may have been the most difficult year of Dr. King's life.



12pm "America Abroad: Syria and the Responsibility to Protect"  (Encore from 1/15/14)

Does the international community have a moral obligation to intervene more aggressively in Syria? We take a look back at past conflicts - Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and Libya - through the eyes of those who both analyzed and experienced these crises first-hand. We also hear from Syrian refugees in Lebanon who are conflicted over the question of Western intervention.



1pm - 3pm "Here and Now" (Live)


3pm  All Mixed up with Martin Luther King Jr. (PRX and Peter Bochan)

An impressionistic hour. A Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr and the historic March on Washington.  Join us on "A Shortcut Back to Washington 1963" with the voices, sounds and music that was popular as activists marched on Washington, including Mahalia jackson, "Little" Stevie Wonder, the Rooftop Singers, JFK, Walter Cronkite, the Four Seasons, Peter, Paul & Mary , Pete Seeger and 4th Grade Students from the Hudson Valley, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole blended with Eleanor Roosevelt, Ingrid Michealson featuring students from Newtown, John Lennon and the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, John & Yoko (Africa Mix) [feat. Rokia Traore], Moodswings and much more.  





NEW YEAR'S DAY Special Programming Wednesday, January 1, 2014…Morning Edition until 9am**

9am “Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday New Year’s Edition 2013"

Help roast 2013 to a crisp with the Capitol Steps and their annual year-in-review awards ceremony.  The hour-long special, “Politics Takes a Holiday” will feature all-new awards, such as:   “Best Moment in Senator Ted Cruz’s 21-hour Filibuster,” “Most ‘icky’  Tweet from Carlos Danger,”  “Best Thigh-Reducing Exercises to do While Waiting for Healthcare.gov” and, of course, “Best Reason to Spy On the American Public- Because You Can!”



12pm America Abroad – Global Entrepreneurship (Re-airing from 12/18)

The U.S. is often thought of as the land of innovation – a great habitat for entrepreneurs. And, this is still the case. But, why are other regions of the world producing entrepreneurs at a faster rate than the United States?     



1pm – 3pm Here and Now (Live)


3pm “Curious City Special” (WBEZ) Encore

Curious City answers your questions to just about anything relating to Chicago, the region and its people. From nuclear weapons to donuts, Victorian sexuality to vintage motels ... in this hour Curious City brings you answers to some of the best Chicago history questions you've posed to Curious City this past year.



NEW YEARS EVE Special Programming -- Tuesday, December 31, 2013: Morning Edition until 9am**

9am “Sound Opinions Best Albums of 2013” (WBEZ/PRX)

Music fans and critics love making lists: Top 5 Driving Songs, Top 5 Bass Lines, and so on. But this is the list that really counts: The Best Albums of the Year. What did 2013 sound like and what are the albums you need to know about? Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot give you the answers..



12pm “Intelligence Squared Debate – Don’t Eat Anything With a Face”

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?  Listen for this Oxford-styled debate on vegetariansim moderated by John Donvan.

THE MOTION: Don't eat anything with a face

FOR: "Quitting meat is like quitting smoking - you don't even think about it because you feel healthier."  Dr. Neal Barnard, Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

"Animal agriculture is one of the top contributors to the most serious environmental problems we're facing on the planet, including climate change." Gene Baur, President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary & Author, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food


AGAINST: "Seven out of eight relevant studies found that compared to omnivores, vegetarians have a greater risk of mental disorders." Chris Masterjohn, Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

"I don't have any problem with vegans. They become our best customers."Joel Salatin, the iconic farmer and author featured in Food, Inc. and The Omnivore's Dilemma



2pm “Nerdette: Best of” (WBEZ)

Get to know great lady nerds of history and hear from teenage girls learning to code right now. It's the best of Nerdette Podcast's conversations with authors, scientists and nerds of all stripes.


3pm “At What Cost:  Risk in the New Economy”  (WBEZ)

Niala Boodhoo hosts this special hour of stories and conversations from the Afternoon Shift. What does it mean to take a risk in today’s economy? Niala talks to entrepreneurs, financial traders, and a neuro-economist to find out.


8pm – 1am "Toast of the Nation" (NPR)

You’re invited to five parties, from east to west, with musical fireworks for midnight in all four continental time zones.  It’s jazz you can party to…spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging.

This year Toast of the Nation makes New Year’s Eve stops in Boston, Washington DC, New York, CHICAGO’s Mayne Stage,  and Denver (possibly the Monterey Jazz Festival.)  Our party starts at 8..and goes all the way through until 1am! 




CHRISTMAS DAY Special Programming -- Wednesday, December 25, 2013:

9am “Ties That Bind: A Storycorps 10th Anniversary Special” (NPR)

There are questions we would answer, if only we were asked. How did we grow up? What do we remember about home? What about our family?  “Ties that Bind” is a celebration of the first decade of StoryCorps.  Recorded in StoryCorps' own interview booth in Manhattan, this special features Dave and Scott in an unscripted conversation about the importance of humanity, intimacy and the need to bear witness. They share stories about StoryCorps' beginnings and its growth into an archive of interviews with nearly 100,000 Americans from every state of the union.

Dave and Scott also revisit some of the most beloved conversations, reflect on Studs Terkel's speech at the launch of the project, get updates from the participants, and go behind-the-scenes of a StoryCorps interview.

Listen in on some unforgettable StoryCorps moments: Danny and Annie Perasa share their belief in the everlasting power of their love in the face of death, the amazing Ms. Divine leaves her mark, Monique Ferrer remembers her husband who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and Scott Simon shares one of the last recorded conversations he had with his mother Patricia in a StoryCorps recording booth.

This program is NOT available on demand.  More information about Storycorps is available at:  http://storycorps.org/



12pm Mexico Uncovered (PRX/Round Earth Media)

The U.S. and Mexico share deep personal, economic, geographic and cultural connections, but our understanding of Mexico is often limited by stereotype and media exaggeration. Mexico Uncovered takes you on a trip to the Mexico you don’t know.. 

This one hour special is reported by some of the most talented young journalists working in public radio today, …all of them bilingual and regular contributors to Marketplace, Morning Edition and The World,..



2pm  Teenage Diaries Revisited (PRX)

A lot of life happens in two decades.  Back in the 1990s, Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman gave tape recorders to a handful of teens and asked them to report on their own lives. Now, almost 20 years later, Joe has checked back in... With Josh, still struggling with Tourette syndrome as an adult; Melissa, who was a teen mom and is now the mom of a teenager; and Juan, a Mexican immigrant who is now a father and husband...and still undocumented. 



3pm Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular Rock N Pop (PRX)

This Christmas special is like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan scours record stores, dustbins and basements to find the best and most unique tunes for the season. And each year he joins Jim and Greg and treats Sound Opinions listeners to an hour of music and a free mix to download. This year is Rock 'n' Pop Xmas--surprising holiday selections from some of the best bands in music history--XTC, The Band, The Kinks, The Beatles and more.




CHRISTMAS EVE Special Programming -- Tuesday, December 24, 2013:

9am “Curious City History Special” (WBEZ)

Curious City answers your questions to just about anything relating to Chicago, the region and its people. From nuclear weapons to donuts, Victorian sexuality to vintage motels ... in this hour Curious City brings you answers to some of the best Chicago history questions you've posed to Curious City this past year.



12pm “The State We’re In” (WBEZ)

WBEZ’s “State We’re In” Podcast host Jonathan Groubert (grew-BARE) talks with “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert about her new book, and the challenges of  staying creative when confronted with a soul crushing level of success.  Plus, celebrating a brandy soaked Orthodox Christmas on top of a Bosnian mountain in the middle of a blizzard…and you’ll hear an incredible fairytale of loss and redemption.



2pm “Live Wire Holiday Special- Hour 1” (PRX)

Join us for a special hour of music, unpredictable conversation and live performance with among others, actor Stephen Tobolowsky,  Rodney Hicks of Broadway’s “Rent” and Pink Martini’s Storm Large…



3pm “Chewing the Fat Holiday Edition” (WBEZ)

This Christmas eve, dig into a special Chewing the Fat holiday edition as Louisa Chu and Monica Eng enlist author Michael Ruhlman to help WBEZ’s Alex Keefe cook his Christmas goose.  Take a trip to Andersonville and down memory lane with a song and a plate of lutefisk from Svea (SVAY-ah) Restaurant. Catch confectioner Katherine Duncan describe her rum truffle balls…And learn the origins of a fluffy white plum dumpling at the Christkindlmarket.  This and more on the Chewing the Fat holiday episode.





Thanksgiving Day Special Programming - Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013:

9am -11am :  BEST OF THE BEST: The 2013 Third Coast Festival Broadcast

The Third Coast International Audio Festival brings the best new documentaries produced worldwide to the national airwaves in a special two-hour program, Best of the Best: The 2013 Third Coast Festival Broadcast.

The featured documentaries, all winners of the 13th annual TC / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition, demonstrate just how powerful radio can be. Innovative and insightful, the stories will engage, provoke, entertain, and transport listeners, proving that all you need to discover new worlds is...a little box and an antenna. In addition to these memorable stories, Best of the Best includes interviews with winning producers Kenny Malone, Alicia Zuckerman, Tim Howard, Linda Lutton and Alex Kotlowitz who give us a glimpse into the art of audio storytelling.



12pm: Snap Judgment - Gratitude

'Tis the season to chronicle our good fortune. Snap Judgment looks back on some of the stories we were especially thankful for.  Including, “Secrets In Siberia.” Mike Ramsdell served as a covert operative for the federal government. He was assigned to capture and extract a high level target from Russia, but the mission went horribly wrong.    “Shinto River Feast.”  As Glynn and crew are hiking up the mountains of Japan they are blessed with the fruit from the gods.  Or so they think…AND “Buried Alive”

When Ricky Megee emerges from a shallow grave in the harsh Australian outback, fate forces him to redefine "food" as he struggles for survival.



3pm:  WBEZ Special: Chewing the Fat –Thanksgiving Edition

On this special Thanksgiving edition of Chewing the Fat, hosts Monica Eng and Louisa Chu are joined by a family of cooks.  Celebrity chef siblings Mike and Pat Sheerin stop in with competing side dishes, and their mother Carol comes along to help keep them in line.  The brothers share some gourmet sides to inspire your Thanksgiving meal.  Plus, turkey that’s been boiled in a bag?  Sous vide preparation is all the rage, but is it right for your Thanksgiving bird? We take a bite into the boiled beast.  And then there's everyone's favorite dish -- the dessert.  Renowned pie maker Megan Miller shares some of the secrets that have put Bang-Bang Pie Shop's baked treats in such high demand -- and it's about much more than just the filling.





Labor Day Special Programming -- Monday, Sept. 2, 2013:

9am Hearing Voices:  Nine to Five

The work we do -- from Wall Street traders to taxi cab drivers. People who work with brassieres, with dead bodies, and off-the-books in an underground economy. A tone-poem by Ken Nordine, a podcast from Love and Radio, and sound-portraits from Radio Diaries, Toni Schwartz, Ben Rubin, David Greenberger, and hosts Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler.



12pm Working With Studs

For many years radio editor, Sydney Lewis, worked side by side with Studs Terkel on his radio show and his books. For this remembrance, told in a seamless blend of documentary and reminiscence, she brings together a crew of Stud's co-workers with their great stories along with  previously-unheard tape of Studs himself.   Working with Studs – on this Labor Day.



3pm:  The Mind of the Innovator

From the National Science Foundation, A look at how engineers think and where innovation originates.

We’re told almost daily that we need innovation; that it drives prosperity and economic growth and is the engine of job creation.  We hear about these innovations all the time.  But do we ever stop and wonder where the innovation comes from?  What fosters it?  How we keep it flowing?  In this program  the stories of some real-world change-makers, and we examine just where their big ideas come from and demonstrate exactly how innovators cultivate an environment of curiosity and experimentation.







July 4th and July 5th Special Programming 2013

Thursday July 4, 2013:

9am CAPITOL STEPS:  Politics Takes a Holiday 4th of July Edition 2013

The Gang of 8 has announced that in order to be a citizen of the United States, you have to listen to the Capitol Steps 4th of July special, "Politics Takes a Holiday!"  Statistics show that many people who have not listened to past specials have been audited by the IRS. Coincidence? Probably!  So relax and celebrate your country by helping The Capitol Steps make fun of it. It's not like there isn't a lot of material to work with... Not for the faint of heart or for those



12pm  BURN: An Energy Journal –The Switch

The nation's electric grid now penetrates all aspects of our daily lives; yet we don't give it a second thought until something goes awry — when we're suddenly groping in the dark searching for flashlights, worrying about what might spoil in the fridge, especially in the heat of the summer.

Consider this: The average customer loses power for 214 minutes per year, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon that found the United States ranks toward the bottom among developed nations in terms of the reliability of its electricity service.

Our aging electric power grid, the patchwork system that transmits and distributes electricity from plants to consumers, is aging and stretched to capacity

BURN examines the state of America’s electric power grid and the science needed to modernize it. Can 21st century electrical engineers use "smart grid" technology to prevent power outages?



2pm PAPER MACHETE (WBEZ Production)

WBEZ brings your favorite salon in a saloon podcast to the radio as The Paper Machete presents Chicago’s best humorists in an all-American variety hour. This July 4th special features essays on topics ranging from immigration to pets in American history, with music by country crooner Robbie Fulks and chanteuse Bethany Thomas.

The Paper Machete is a free, weekly “live magazine” covering pop culture, current events and American manners. Part spoken-word show, part vaudeville revue, The Paper Machete features comedians, journalists, storytellers and musical guests performing live every Saturday in the historic Green Mill bar in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.  

More on this special here

3pm  WALKING ACROSS AMERICA – Advice for a Young Man
(Originally aired April 21st on WBEZ)

Andrew Forsthoefel set out at age 23 to walk across America, East to West, 4000 miles, with a sign on him that said, "Walking to Listen". This hour, co-produced with Jay Allison, tracks his epic journey. It's a coming of age story, and a portrait of this country - big-hearted, wild, innocent, and wise.  Andrew thought people would be resistant to being interviewed. Not so. He says the vast majority wanted to be heard, and they didn’t mind the recorder. Nearly every time, they had something they wanted to share.  He says “I was wearing a sign that said “Walking to Listen,” and there was no shortage of people to listen to.”



Friday July 5, 2013:

9am Friday July 5th -- Q With Jian Ghomeshi: The Joni Mitchell Special

(originally aired on June 11)

A one-hour feature interview with folk icon, Joni Mitchell. Jian Ghomeshi flew to the artist's home in Los Angeles specifically for this interview. The wide-ranging conversation covers everything from why she stopped singing to originality versus plagiarism in the music industry. Joni Mitchell in conversation with Jian Ghomeshi.



12pm Friday July 5 - Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma

NPR's Kelly McEvers offers an unprecedented and intimate portrait of the sacrifices reporters and their families make to tell untold stories -- and the sometimes dangerous allure of the job.

The program includes interviews with Anna Blundy, the daughter of a journalist killed in El Salvador; renowned war correspondent Paul Wood of the BBC; longtime conflict writer Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker; famed correspondent Christiane Amanpour of CNN; and Sebastian Junger, who with the late Tim Hetherington made the award-winning film, "Restrepo," about the war in Afghanistan.







Memorial Day Special Programming - Monday May 27th, 2013

9am: State of the Re:Union - Stories of Veterans Returning Home From War

More than two million veterans have come home so far from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For returning veterans, reintegrating into society can be a challenge. How do you find your place, when you've changed adn the people you love don't recognize you? When that old life is gone and you have to start a new one from scratch. In this hour State of the Re:Union explores reintegration and asks the question: how do you come back home from war?


Noon: Liner Notes - War in Place

An extraordinary hour, Tom Brokaw and others discuss Memorials, Veterans, Vietnam and Wars.


2pm: Backstory - The Civil War: Questions Remain

In this third part of BackStory's “Civil War 150th” series, the History Guys present a special listener Q & A. The episode picks up on some of the themes of the previous two “Civil War 150th” episodes, and puts a number of new questions on the table. What role did religion play in the lead-up to war? Why did Abraham Lincoln free the slaves in the Confederate states before he freed the slaves in the loyal states? What is the relevance of the Civil War today?


3pm: Humankind: The After Effects of War

Christal Presley, an English teacher in Atlanta who experienced ‘secondary trauma’ in response to the extreme behavior of her father, a Vietnam-era veteran with PTSD, tells how the family began a journey of recovery.

A story of brave former soldiers who return to Vietnam to heal their emotional wounds as part of the Veterans’ Vietnam Restoration Project, founded in 1988 to build much-needed medical clinics in this damaged nation.