CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2020) – If you want to understand the recent growth of the white supremacy movement among young Americans, don’t look to the Ku Klux Klan. Look at the last time a wave of racism swept through a generation of teenagers. Look at the neo-Nazi Skinheads.
Christian Picciolini was a true believer. In the late ‘80s, he was a neo-Nazi Skinhead preaching ‘White Power.’ As a teenager in Chicago’s suburbs, he rose through the ranks, stockpiled weapons for a violent white revolution, performed at an illegal neo-Nazi concert in Germany, and helped revitalize America’s organized white supremacy movement.
Coming this September, the latest season of Motive, a podcast from WBEZ Chicago that tells the story of how Skinheads like Picciolini became front-line warriors of the white supremacy movement. And, how their experience created the playbook for the recruitment of young people into the movement today.
“Nobody’s really told the story of what happened 30 years ago when punks and skins in Chicago battled in the streets,” said Odette Yousef, WBEZ reporter and host of this season of Motive. “What I’ve discovered on this journey is, that story relates directly to the racial reckoning happening in America today.”
Over the span of eight episodes, listeners will learn about the origins of the youth hate movement in America, the role that music played in spreading racist propaganda, and the allure that far-right extremism continues to have for young, white men.
“With right-wing extremism on the rise worldwide, the latest season of Motive will help explain how we got here, through intimate and illuminating interviews, punk music and captivating storytelling,” said Kevin Dawson, managing director of content development for WBEZ Chicago and executive producer of the podcast. “We hope it will help listeners to better understand today’s white supremacist movement.”
This new season of Motive follows the podcast’s 2019 debut, and once again takes listeners into a single, real-life story to answer a broader question, “How could this have happened?”
The first season was based on reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times to chronicle the unforgettable saga of Thaddeus “T.J.” Jimenez, wrongfully convicted for murder when he was just a 13-year-old boy. The second season was set in Spain and explored allegations of sexual assault during study abroad, following a year-long investigation by WBEZ that included interviews with dozens of women, most of whom had never spoken publicly before.
The third season of Motive debuts Sept. 4, and will be available on Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever listeners get their podcasts. Listeners with information pertaining to this story can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motive Season 3: WBEZ Production Credits
- Host/Producer: Odette Yousef
- Senior Producer: Colin McNulty
- Executive Producer: Kevin Dawson
About WBEZ Chicago
WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ’s award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. In addition to its local and national news programming, WBEZ Chicago is home to a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the “Making” series of Making Beyoncé, Making Obama and Making Oprah; an investigative podcast series, Motive; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Curious City. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life, and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the ground-breaking podcast, Serial.