Live Wire with Luke Burbank-logo

Live Wire with Luke Burbank


Like late-night for radio, Live Wire is hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) and artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians, and cultural observers.


Portland, OR


Like late-night for radio, Live Wire is hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) and artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians, and cultural observers.




3606 N. Mississippi Ave. Portland, OR 97227 503-548-4920


REBROADCAST: Ken Jennings, Erica Berry, and Making Movies

Author and Jeopardy host Ken Jennings takes us on a journey to the afterlife with his latest book, 100 Places to See After You Die, and explains why contestant interviews are so darn awkward; writer Erica Berry discusses her debut book Wolfish, which examines all things "wolf" – from fables to fears; and international rock group Making Movies perform "Porcelina" from their album XOPA. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share versions of the perfect afterlife, according to our listeners.


EXTRA: Author Curtis Sittenfeld on the Longevity of Rom-Com Couples

To celebrate Valentine's Day, this extra episode features author Curtis Sittenfeld (Romantic Comedy) in a game where she must decide if famous rom-com couples broke up or lived happily ever after.


Avery Trufelman, Camille Dungy, and Olive Klug

Podcaster Avery Trufelman unpacks her podcast Articles of Interest, in which she reveals the history behind fashion and clothing, including prison uniforms and the debate over pockets; author Camille Dungy discusses her latest book Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, which chronicles her attempts to diversify her garden in the predominantly white community of Fort Collins, Colorado; and singer-songwriter Olive Klug performs "Song About America," inspired by her experiences as a queer artist touring across the nation.


Black History Month Special: Tracy K. Smith, Saeed Jones, and Meklit

In this Black History Month special episode, former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith discusses her memoir To Free the Captives, which explores Black strength, continuance, and community by looking back at her own family’s history; poet Saeed Jones (Alive at the End of the World) unpacks the backstories behind some of his poems involving Billie Holiday, Maya Angelou, and Luther Vandross; and Ethio-Jazz musician Meklit performs the song, “I Want to Sing for Them All” as a tribute to her musical influences.


J. Wortham, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Margo Cilker

Journalist J. Wortham (The New York Times Magazine, Still Processing) recounts what happened when they visited a nude queer beach in Oaxaca; author Curtis Sittenfeld discusses her newest novel Romantic Comedy, which flips the script on the celebrity love story; and singer-songwriter Margo Cilker performs "With the Middle" from her sophomore album Valley of Heart's Delight. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello highlight some favorite romantic moments in cinema.


REBROADCAST: Jamie Loftus, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and Danielle Ponder

Writer and podcaster Jamie Loftus dives into her New York Times bestselling book Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs, a travelog on the cultural and historical significance of the American sausage; chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt tests his knowledge of cooking gadget infomercials; and R&B/Soul vocalist Danielle Ponder performs "So Long" from her debut album Some of Us Are Brave. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello go on some hypothetical road trips.


Hari Kondabolu, Kristi Coulter, and Quasi

Comedian Hari Kondabolu discusses his new standup special “Vacation Baby” and how regrettably he blew off congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her campaign trail; writer Kristi Coulter unpacks her memoir “Exit Interview: The Life and Death of My Ambitious Career,” which recounts the often soul-crushing work culture of an Amazon executive; and indie rock duo Quasi performs "Queen of Ears" off their new album “Breaking the Balls of History.” Plus, host Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello share some of the wildest things children have said to our listeners.


REBROADCAST: Ari Shapiro and Demi Adejuyigbe

Ari Shapiro, journalist and co-host of All Things Considered, unpacks his new book The Best Strangers in the World: Stories From a Life Spent Listening, which chronicles his reporting adventures across the globe, from Air Force One to the stage of the Hollywood Bowl; comedian and TV writer Demi Adejuyigbe explains how the WGA strike afforded him so much free time... to go to the Renaissance Faire. Plus, host Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello share stories of the most amazing strangers our listeners have encountered.


REBROADCAST: Timothy Egan and Dessa

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and acclaimed author Timothy Egan unpacks his newest book A Fever in the Heartland, which traces the Ku Klux Klan's expansion across America in the 1920s and one woman's crusade to stop them; rapper and poet proves she's more talented than AI by performing a poem she penned backstage using popular search terms. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal the most ridiculous challenges our listeners have accepted.


Paul F. Tompkins, José Olivarez, and Esme Patterson

On the special holiday edition of Live Wire, comedian and podcaster Paul F. Tompkins talks about passive-aggressive Christmas carolers and the most tense rendition of “O Holy Night" he's ever heard; poet José Olivarez discusses his latest collection Promises of Gold, which explores the various types of love in our lives, from self-love to platonic love and over to romance; and singer-songwriter Esme Patterson performs her original Christmas song “If I.” Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share our listeners favorite holiday traditions.


EXTRA: Aparna Nancherla & Celebrity Lowlights

In this podcast extra, comedian Aparna Nancherla (Unreliable Narrator: Me, Myself and Imposter Syndrome) is quizzed on the former "career lowlights" of some high-profile celebrities.


REBROADCAST: Laura Chinn, Mohanad Elshieky, and Jenny Conlee

Writer and director Laura Chinn (Florida Girls) discusses her memoir Acne, which tackles her racial identity, Scientology, and of course... very oily skin; standup comedian Mohanad Elshieky riffs on embarrassing encounters with TSA and Uber drivers; and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Conlee, of The Decemberists, performs "Hawk" from her solo album Tides: Pieces for Accordion and Piano. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello hear from our listeners about what they obsessed over as teenagers.


Sam Sanders, Reggie Watts, and Sway Wild

Podcaster Sam Sanders (Vibe Check) shares his hot takes on pop culture, from the Barbie movie to his favorite nepobaby; comedian Reggie Watts interprets his feelings about generation differences through a spoken word poem; and indie folk duo Sway Wild perform their song "Home," which was inspired by a two-month sailing voyage in British Columbia. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal our listeners' favorite moment in pop culture this year.


REBROADCAST: Dana Schwartz, Jenny Odell, and Black Belt Eagle Scout

Novelist Dana Schwartz unpacks her gothic fantasy duology, Anatomy and Immortality, then dives into her podcast Noble Blood, which explores the bizarre and risqué lives of royals; writer Jenny Odell dismantles the clock in her newest book Saving Time while explaining it's unofficial motto: time is beans; and indie rocker Black Belt Eagle Scout performs "Don't Give Up" from her new album The Land, The Water, The Sky, which dreams up the atmosphere of her ancestral land of Swinomish. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal how our listeners love to "waste" time.


R. Eric Thomas, Ian Karmel, and NONBINARY GIRLFRIEND

Author and columnist R. Eric Thomas shares anecdotes from his memoir Congratulations, The Best Is Over, including how baking cupcakes may have saved his life; standup comedian Ian Karmel makes the case for why Arby's is a farm-to-table restaurant; and indie group NONBINARY GIRLFRIEND perform the title track off their new album Big and Kind. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal the surprising differences between our listeners and their partners.


REBROADCAST: Kelsey McKinney, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Madison Cunningham

Journalist and podcaster Kelsey McKinney (Defector) dishes on producing her juicy podcast Normal Gossip; poet Brenda Shaughnessy explains how her newest collection Tanya is partially an attempt to reconnect with her estranged college roommate; and Grammy-winner Madison Cunningham performs her single "Broken Harvest." Plus host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some niche gossip from our listeners.


Paul F. Tompkins, Safiya Sinclair, and Isabeau Waia'u Walker

Comedian Paul F. Tompkins chats about his improv comedy podcast The Neighborhood Listen, where he and fellow comedians re-enact posts from the app Nextdoor; poet Safiya Sinclair discusses her memoir How to Say Babylon, in which she recounts growing up Rastafarian in Jamaica under the strict patriarchy of her father; and singer-songwriter Isabeau Waia'u Walker performs her song "All My Friends Think I'm Okay." Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some unhinged behavior from the neighbors of our listeners.


REBROADCAST: Lauren Fleshman, Joey Clift, and Who Is She

Record-breaking runner Lauren Fleshman unpacks her New York Times bestseller Good for a Girl, a part-memoir, part-manifesto which challenges the male-built sports system; comedian and writer Joey Clift chats about his Comedy Central digital series Gone Native, which delves into the weird microaggressions Native people are up against; and Seattle-based indie supergroup Who Is She? performs a cover of a Le Tigre song... which actually got them fired from a sports arena gig. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share what records our listeners would like to break.


Aparna Nancherla, Gary Gulman, and No-No Boy

Comedian and writer Aparna Nancherla discusses her memoir Unreliable Narrator and why her mother made her order pizza to combat her shyness; stand-up comedian Gary Gulman riffs on the false notion of dangerous scissors in elementary school; singer-songwriter and historian No-No Boy performs his song "1603," featured on his latest album Empire Electric, which tells the story of the first non-Native sighting of Oregon by a multicultural crew of sailors who fell through the cracks of history. Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello learn about the times our listeners suffered from impostor syndrome.


REBROADCAST: Cheryl Strayed, Joseph Earl Thomas, and Stephanie Anne Johnson

Celebrated author Cheryl Strayed (Wild, Dear Sugar) revisits her collection of advice columns, Tiny Beautiful Things, which celebrates its tenth anniversary and has recently been adapted as a Hulu series starring Kathryn Hahn; writer Joseph Earl Thomas unpacks his memoir Sink, in which he describes how geek culture saved him from his hazardous upbringing; and singer-songwriter Stephanie Anne Johnson performs their song "The Day That You Begin." Plus, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share some life advice from our listeners.