Happy Anniversary, Nerdette!

WBEZ Chicago’s Nerdette podcast celebrates 10 trips around the sun with a birthday cake contest for fans, a starter kit of best-loved episodes, and reflections from Host Greta Johnsen

Nerdette is 10
Nerdette is 10

Happy Anniversary, Nerdette!

WBEZ Chicago’s Nerdette podcast celebrates 10 trips around the sun with a birthday cake contest for fans, a starter kit of best-loved episodes, and reflections from Host Greta Johnsen

CHICAGO (June 9, 2023) – WBEZ Chicago’s Nerdette podcast is marking a decade of delight, celebrating 10 years as an interview show featuring authors, artists and more – aka, “people you either already love or will be delighted to learn about.”

Now Nerdette Host Greta Johnsen and WBEZ are offering fans a few ways to celebrate the 10th anniversary milestone, including a birthday cake contest, a starter kit of some of Nerdette’s greatest hit episodes, and a special anniversary episode, A decade of delight.

But first a little background…Nerdette’s evolution of delight and discovery

Nerdette originated 10 years ago when Greta met co-creator Tricia Bobeda when both were temp contact employees at WBEZ. Remarking on their instant chemistry, Greta said they always joked that they were too awkward to say they should be friends. Instead, they decided to make a podcast together and Nerdette was born.

“A year later, we had 50 episodes,” said Greta. “We really hit the ground running and it was such a pleasure to not only work together, but to legitimately become very good, dear friends.”

Together, Greta and Tricia developed some of Nerdette’s earliest podcast features, like Great Lady Nerds of American History and segments about well-known people and their little known obsessions (DYK John Hodgman is obsessed with Malort and Rainn Wilson with bassoons?). Nerdette also expanded into Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal, notably recapping TV series such as HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Nerdette carried listeners through the global COVID-19 pandemic, coming out with daily episodes in the first days of lockdown to be there for its community during a strange and intense time, according to Greta.

“I want Nerdette to feel like we are present and unwinding for the week, to create a space that can provide comfort, humor and delight,” said Greta.

One idea that sprung up just before the pandemic, Nerdette Book Club, has become a mainstay of the podcast since 2020. Each month, Greta selects a book to read with listeners, and then interviews the author and provides an episode to dissect the book with a panel discussion.

Ever a book enthusiast, in 2023 Nerdette introduced a three-part series called “Undercover,” to explore the ways a book comes to life, from blurbs to audiobooks to screen adaptations, revealing some of the most interesting and unknown aspects of the publishing industry. “Undercover” was named as one of NPR’s new and noteworthy public media podcasts to listen to in January 2023.

Today Greta is supported by Nerdette’s (dream) production team that includes Executive Producer Brendan Banaszak, as well as Producer Anna Bauman who helps pen Nerdette’s weekly newsletter – a curated list of things to do, eat, watch, think about, read and generally enjoy.

“Everyone’s welcome at the table and I hope our enthusiasm is contagious,” said Greta. “Whatever it is you’re excited about, if you’re willing to share it with someone else, Nerdette is the place for you.”

Celebrate with Nerdette

Throughout the summer Nerdette’s fan community can celebrate the 10th anniversary along with Greta by entering Nerdette’s cake-baking contest at wbez.org/nerdettecake. From June 9 to 30, entrants can submit photos of their creative birthday cakes for a chance to win $250 gift card to Bookshop.org. All entrants will receive a special 10th anniversary bookmark just for entering!

  • To enter on Instagram, post a cake or video and tag @nerdettepodcast and use the hashtag #HBDNerdette.

  • To enter via email, send photos to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com and use the subject line “Nerdette cake contest.”

Throughout the summer, fans can also follow the anniversary festivities on Instagram and in the 1,100-nerd-strong Nerdette Headquarters on Facebook.

New to Nerdette? Get started here.

Finally, the Nerdette crew put together a list of Top 5 Episodes for new listeners looking to get a taste of what the podcast has offered for the last decade. The starter kit includes:

“In the last 10 years we’ve made literally hundreds of episodes, so it’s hard to pick out only five of our favorites! But we want to introduce Nerdette to a new decade of listeners, and we think these five eps are a fun hang if you love books, science, pop culture, and thought-provoking conversations,” said Greta.

Nerdette is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, NPR One, Pocket Casts, or wherever listeners get their podcasts.