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On the Media


The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.


New York, NY




The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.




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Case Closed?

Adnan Syed, the subject of the hit podcast Serial, left prison this week after serving two decades for a murder conviction. On this week’s On the Media, Brooke speaks to the friend whose call to the podcast producers started the chain of events that ended this week with Syed's release. Plus, how Ron DeSantis’ decision to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard was a made-for-Fox News event. 1. Philip Bump [@pbump], national correspondent The Washington Post, on the manipulative plan for 48...


No. The Medieval Times Were Not All Game of Thrones

Today, when we encounter the medieval world it’s mostly a dark time. Un-enlightened by reason, but also literally gloomy – all bare stone and grey skies. We know it as a brutal time, dominated by white men with steeds and swords, or drenched in blood by marauding Vikings. But in their new book, The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, historians Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry trace the harm of the myths of the “Dark Ages,” and illuminate the medieval stories that have mostly...


The Fine Print

The federal court is hearing a case that could change the publishing industry as we know it. On this week’s show, hear what readers will lose if conglomerates further monopolize the market. Plus, print sales far exceed expectations — it turns out readers do not want to curl up with a good ebook. 1. Alexandra Alter [@xanalter], reporter at the New York Times, on how the booming publishing industry is wrestling with supply chain nightmares and more to meet reader demand. Listen. 2. Katy...


How a Russian Sleeper Agent Charmed Her Way Onto NATO's Social Scene

This week, Brooke talks to Christo Grozev, lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat, about how he uncovered the real identity of a Russian "sleeper" agent who went by the name Maria Adela. Grozev tells Brooke about how rarely these kinds of spies are discovered, what made "Maria Adela" an unlikely spy and what kind of information she could have gathered on NATO.


Lock Him Up?

As the government continues its investigation into classified documents found at former President Donald Trump’s home, a tough question has emerged. On this week’s On the Media, hear how democracies around the world have grappled with whether to prosecute a former leader. Plus, why new leadership at CNN is reigniting the debate over the place of objectivity in journalism. 1. James D. Long [@prof_jameslong], associate professor of political science at the University of Washington, on the...


"Library With A Turret On Top"

This week saw the conclusion of the campaign to shut down one of the internet’s most toxic forums, Kiwi Farms. Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti aka “Keffals” led the charge against the site after she was targeted by anonymous users of Kiwi Farms for being a trans woman and speaking out against anti-LGBTQ laws. Stalkers repeatedly doxxed her and her family members, and left them threatening voicemail messages. Harassment campaigns against trans people, journalists, influencers, activists, sex...


Ukraine's Fight

Six months into Russia’s invasion, Ukrainians are still fighting back on all fronts. On this week’s show, hear how Ukraine’s newest struggle is for our attention, and how Big Tech is letting Russian propaganda spread. Plus, the story of a Ukrainian gaming influencer who turned to video games and his internet community to survive the conflict. 1. Olga Tokariuk [@olgatokariuk], Ukrainian journalist, describes watching international attention on the war wane in real time, and its consequences....


Big Tech vs. Ukraine's Local Media

For most of the 20th century, during which time it was the control of a Moscow-based government for nearly 70 years, Ukraine didn't have an independent press. Over the past two decades, an ecosystem of independent press has grown in Ukraine. This Ukrainian press corps has been tirelessly covered the Russia's invasion of Ukraine over the past six months. But even as their audiences grow, funding from advertising for their reporting has dried up as Ukraine's economy struggles. Ukrainian media...


Russia's War

Six months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Putin has rallied the Russian population around the brutal conflict. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the Kremlin’s crackdown on the press paved the way for war. Plus, a look inside the world of Russian propaganda, and how it influences people. 1. OTM Producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication] speaks with Alec Luhn [@ASLuhn] and Veronika Silchenko [@NikaSilchenko], freelance journalists for Vice, on reporting in Russia under...


Softening Expectations

This week OTM shares the third and final episode of Hard, a series about Viagra from our colleagues at Death, Sex & Money. In this episode we hear from Viagra users past and present whose ideas about sex have shifted—from being a goal-oriented pursuit to one that is much more about pleasure and acceptance. You can hear more from Death, Sex & Money here.


We Are Family

When you hear the word “Neanderthal,” you probably picture a mindless, clumsy brute. It’s often used as an insult — even by our president, who last year called anti-maskers “Neanderthals.” But what if we have more in common with our ancestral cousins than we think? On this week’s On the Media, hear how these early humans have been unfairly maligned in science and in popular culture. 1. John Hawks [@johnhawks], professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, on our...


Little Pill, Big Pharma

This week OTM shares the second episode of the three-part series, Hard, produced by our WNYC colleagues at Death, Sex & Money. In this installment, the team dives into the scientific advancements that led to Viagra's FDA approval in 1998. From an unforgettable conference presentation...to an overnight drug study, where an unexpected side effect kept popping up. Also the intentionality around the early marketing of Viagra—when former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole encouraged men to summon...


Reading the Room

An old threat has returned to classrooms across the country — and it’s made of pages and ink. On this week’s On the Media, hear what it means to ban a book, and who has the right to choose what kids learn. Plus, meet the student who took his school board all the way to the Supreme Court in the 80s. 1. Kelly Jensen, editor for Book Riot who writes a weekly update on “book censorship news,” on what it means to ban a book. Listen. 2. Jennifer Berkshire [@BisforBerkshire] and Jack Schneider...


Erectile Disappointment

In 1998, when Viagra was approved by the FDA, it suddenly opened up new sexual possibilities for people who had previously had none. The drug also sparked an earnest and very public conversation about erectile dysfunction — one that quickly veered toward late-night punchlines. And yet, despite the millions of prescriptions written during its nearly 25 years of existence, for some, Viagra did not prove to be the quick fix they had hoped for. This month, OTM shares the first episode of a...


Handle with Care

A group of climate scientists warn that the potential for humanity's mass extinction has been dangerously underexplored. On this week’s On the Media, we hear how facing our planet’s fragility could inspire hope, instead of despair, and a physicist explains how creation stories are essential for understanding our place in the universe. Luke Kemp [@LukaKemp], a Research Associate at Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, on a new study that says we need to put more attention on...

Under The Table

This week’s podcast extra is about podcasts, but this story has its roots in the early days of rock 'n' roll. Alan Freed was a celebrity DJ on WINS in New York, famous for helping popularize the nascent genre through the 1950s. But, unbeknownst to his listeners, record promoters were secretly bribing Freed and other popular disc jockeys across the country for extra air time for their artists — in a rampant practice known as “payola,” which eventually caught the eye of regulators. In 1960,...

The Cold Shoulder

Former president Donald Trump is trying to bury the January 6th committee’s findings, but his old allies aren’t helping. Meanwhile, we take a look at the governor of Florida’s polarizing press strategy, and why reporters think presidential hopefuls are no longer returning their calls. David Folkenflik [@davidfolkenflik], media correspondent for NPR, on the resurgence of Trump-related news. Listen. David Freedlander [@freedlander], freelance political journalist, on why he thinks...


Great White Lies

It's Shark Week. This year's Discovery programs boast flashy titles like Stranger Sharks, Air Jaws, Great White Serial Killer, and Rise of the Monster Hammerheads, and feature sharks writhing through murky water, their jaws clenching on dead fish bait, sharp teeth snapping at divers. Sharks first splashed into Hollywood — and widespread infamy — with the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. It's the type of horror film that sticks with you, especially when you're on a swim at the beach and think, what's...


In This Economy?

Gas prices are coming down. Inflation is still going up. Jobs are strong, yet recession fears abound. This week, On the Media dives into the contradictory mess of money news – and what it ultimately says about us. 1. John Cassidy [@JohnCassidy], staff writer at the New Yorker, on why Americans feel gloomy about the economy, even when it isn't affecting their spending. Listen. 2. Rani Molla [@ranimolla], senior data reporter at Vox's Recode, on the data behind today's weird job market....


Escaping the Kremlin's Propaganda Machine

This weekend marks five brutal months since Russia invaded Ukraine — with no end in sight. And in Russia, support for the war has remained high. 77% approve of Putin’s actions in Ukraine, according to a survey conducted in late May by the Levada Center, Russia’s only remaining independent pollster. The war, at least in its neatly repackaged, Kremlin-approved form, is somewhat popular amongst Russians. On March 4th, Putin signed a "fake news" law, which threatens imprisonment for any...