The New Yorker Radio Hour The New Yorker Radio Hour is a weekly program presented by the magazine's editor, David Remnick, and produced by WNYC Studios and The New Yorker. Each episode features a diverse mix of interviews, profiles, storytelling, and an occasional burst of humor inspired by the magazine, and shaped by its writers, artists, and editors. This isn't a radio version of a magazine, but something all its own, reflecting the rich possibilities of audio storytelling and conversation. Theme music for the show was composed and performed by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YArDs.
The New Yorker Radio Hour

The New Yorker Radio Hour

From WNYC Radio

The New Yorker Radio Hour is a weekly program presented by the magazine's editor, David Remnick, and produced by WNYC Studios and The New Yorker. Each episode features a diverse mix of interviews, profiles, storytelling, and an occasional burst of humor inspired by the magazine, and shaped by its writers, artists, and editors. This isn't a radio version of a magazine, but something all its own, reflecting the rich possibilities of audio storytelling and conversation. Theme music for the show was composed and performed by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YArDs.More from The New Yorker Radio Hour »

Most Recent Episodes

The Fall of a Chinese Pop Star, and Calvin Trillin's Happy Marriage

For some years, Denise Ho was one of the most popular singers in Asia. A Hong Kong native, she performed the style known as Cantopop in mainland China and in foreign countries with Chinese émigré populations. But, as Ho told the staff writer Jiayang Fan, she began to have qualms about the often-saccharine content of the genre. "Is that all? Is that all I can do with my songs, my career—just for personal wealth, and all that?" She was one of the first stars in China to come out as a lesbian, which the government took in stride; but, when she took part in political demonstrations in Hong Kong, she was arrested on television and detained. Authorities began to cancel her concerts, and to block access to her work on the Internet in China. Her endorsements followed suit. "I expected to be banned from China, but I wasn't expecting the government to react to it in such a way," she says. "The main goal is to silence everyone—especially the younger generations—with fear." Now Denise Ho is trying to rebuild her career as something unfamiliar in China: an underground protest singer. Plus: Kai-Fu Lee on China's tech sector and the challenge it poses to Silicon Valley; and the longtime staff writer Calvin Trillin, who puts his happy marriage onstage in a new play, "About Alice." "This play certainly would have failed Drama 101 . . . But you have to write about what you know."

The Producer dream hampton Talks with Jelani Cobb about "Surviving R. Kelly"

For decades, it's been an open secret that R. Kelly has allegedly kept young women trapped in abusive relationships through psychological manipulation, fear, and intimidation. His domestic situation has been compared to a sex cult. He was acquitted of child-pornography charges even though a video that appears to show him with a fourteen-year-old girl was circulated around the country. It was described only as the "R. Kelly sex tape." Why has it taken so long for the reckonings of the #MeToo movement to catch up to him? Lifetime just aired "Surviving R. Kelly," a six-part documentary by the producer dream hampton that airs the full breadth of the accusations against Kelly. (He continues to deny all charges of illegal behavior.) One young woman featured in the documentary left a relationship with Kelly, whom she met when she was a teen-age supporter outside the Chicago courtroom where he was being tried. "He was cruising eleventh graders on that trial," hampton tells the New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb. "I mean, the hubris!" Cobb and hampton discuss the complicated dynamics of accusing R. Kelly. "It's a deep shame black women have, handing over black men to this system we know to be unjust and that targets them," she says. "At the same time, black women are black people, and we too are targeted . . . . Most sexual-violence survivors don't find justice in this system, regardless of race."

The Producer dream hampton Talks with Jelani Cobb about "Surviving R. Kelly"

For a French Burglar, Stealing Masterpieces Is Easier Than Selling Them

Vjeran Tomic has been stealing since he was a small child, when he used a ladder to break into a library in his home town, in Bosnia. After moving to Paris, he graduated to lucrative apartment burglaries, living off the jewels he took and often doing time in prison. He became known in the French press as Spider-Man, and he began to steal art. Tomic has a grand sense of his calling as a burglar; he considers it his destiny and has described his robberies as acts of imagination. He eventually carried a truly epic heist: a break-in at the Musée d'Art Moderne, in Paris, in which he left with seventy million dollars' worth of paintings. But selling these masterpieces proved harder than stealing them, and that's where Spider-Man's troubles began. The contributor Jake Halpern tells Vjeran Tomic's story; excerpts from Tomic's letters from prison are read by the actor Jean Brassard.

How "The Apprentice" Made Donald Trump, and a Boondoggle in Wisconsin

The staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe has reported on "The Apprentice" and its impact on Donald Trump—on how America saw Trump, and how Trump saw himself. Keefe spoke with Jonathon Braun, who was a supervising producer on "The Apprentice," about how the show's team reshaped Trump's image, and how the news media are doing that same work for him now that he is President. Dan Kaufman, the author of "The Fall of Wisconsin," explains how a deal to bring manufacturing jobs to an industrial town in Wisconsin became a boondoggle of national proportions. And Terrance Hayes, the author of "American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin," reads a poem for the New Year.

The Director Boots Riley on "Sorry to Bother You"

Boots Riley's directorial début, "Sorry to Bother You," blends a dark strain of comedy with a sci-fi vision of capitalism run amok. The film's hero, Cassius Green, is a telemarketer who rises quickly in the ranks—eventually becoming a "power caller"—after he learns to use a "white voice" on the phone, mimicking the way white people are supposed to speak. As sharp as the film is on issues of race and identity, "Sorry to Bother You" ultimately takes capitalism, and the way it exploits labor, as its target. "There were a lot of things about capitalism that were forgiven by big media companies while Obama was in office," Riley tells The New Yorker's Doreen St. Félix in a live interview at the New Yorker Festival. "Things that we had said we were against under Bush." "Sorry to Bother You" is, in part, a response to that loss of focus. Riley, who is forty-seven, got his start as a rapper; for many years, he led the political hip-hop band the Coup. He traces his interest in art as activism to an incident from 1989, when police officers in San Francisco beat two children and their mother in front of a housing project. Neighbors began protesting, spilling out onto the street and chanting lyrics from Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." "It made me see what place music could have," Riley tells St. Félix. "I knew, This is what I had to do."

Live: Janet Mock and Chris Hayes

Janet Mock first heard the word "māhū," a Native Hawaiian word for people who exist outside the male-female binary, when she was twelve. She had just moved back to Oahu, where she was born, from Texas, and, by that point, Mock knew that the gender she presented as didn't feel right. "I don't like to say the word 'trapped,' " Mock tells The New Yorker's Hilton Als. "But I was feeling very, very tightly contained in my body." Since coming out as transgender publicly, Mock has emerged as a leading advocate for trans people; she is the author of a best-selling memoir and the first trans woman of color to be hired as a writer for a TV series, Ryan Murphy's FX series "Pose." Plus: MSNBC's Chris Hayes, the youngest prime-time host for a major cable-news channel, on the psychic toll of covering the news in Donald Trump's America.

Philip Roth's American Portraits and American Prophecy

The novelist and short-story writer Philip Roth died in May at the age of eighty-five. In novels like "Portnoy's Complaint," "The Human Stain," and "American Pastoral," Roth anatomized postwar American life—particularly the lives of Jewish people in the Northeast. And in works like "The Ghost Writer" and "The Plot Against America," he speculated on how the shadow of authoritarianism might fall over the United States. The breadth and depth of Roth's work kept him a vital literary figure throughout the second half of the twentieth century, and established him among the most respected writers of fiction in American history. David Remnick speaks with Roth's official biographer, Blake Bailey, about Roth's life and career. Judith Thurman, Claudia Roth Pierpont, and Lisa Halliday discuss the portrayals of women in Roth's work and the accusations of misogyny that he has faced. And, finally, we hear an interview with the author, from 2003, when he sat down with David Remnick for the BBC. Plus: the actor Liev Schreiber reads excerpts from Roth's fiction. This episode originally aired on July 20, 2018.

Christmas Music Reimagined with Kirk Douglas, the Guitarist for the Roots

Kirk Douglas, the guitarist for the Roots, plays anything and everything as part of the "Tonight Show" band, so David Remnick put him to the test on some holiday classics. Roz Chast rings a bell to collect pennies for a good cause: saving the globe from destruction by asteroid. And a religion scholar who just translated the New Testament from the original Greek explains why we've been getting the book wrong all these years.

Christmas Music Reimagined with Kirk Douglas, the Guitarist for the Roots

2018 in Pop Culture

The New Yorker staff writers Jia Tolentino, Doreen St. Félix, and Alexandra Schwartz all cover the culture beat from different angles. They talk with David Remnick about the emblematic pop-culture phenomena of 2018 that tell us where we were this year: how "Queer Eye" tried to fix masculinity, and how that spoke to women in the #MeToo era; whether "Black Panther" and "Crazy Rich Asians" will mark a turning point in the representation of nonwhite people in film; and how, as Tolentino says, "A Star Is Born" was r"arguably the only event of the year that brought America together."

Kelly Slater's Perfect Wave Brings Surfing to a Crossroads

In December of 2015, a video appeared on the Internet that stunned surfers worldwide. Titled "Kelly's Wave," it showed Kelly Slater—arguably the best pro surfer in history—unveiling a secret project he had been working on for more than a decade. With the help of engineers and designers, Slater had perfected the first artificial wave, created by machine in a pool, that could rival the best waves found in the ocean. "One could spend years and years surfing in the ocean," notes staff writer William Finnegan, himself a lifelong surfer, "and never get a wave as good as what some people are getting here today. Ever." Finnegan went to visit the Kelly Slater Wave Company's Surf Ranch—a facility in California's Central Valley, far from the coast—to observe a competition and test the wave for himself. Up until now, surfing was defined by its lack of predictability: chasing waves around the world and dealing with disappointment when they do not appear has been integral to the life of a surfer. But with a mechanically produced, infinitely repeatable, world-class wave, surfing can become like any other sport. The professional World Surf League, which has bought a controlling interest in Slater's company, sees a bright future. But Finnegan wonders what it means to take surfing out of nature. Will kids master riding artificial waves without even learning to swim in the ocean? Finnegan spoke with Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore (the Australian seven-time world champion), and Matt Warshaw (the closest thing surfing has to an official historian). Warshaw, like Finnegan, is skeptical about the advent of mechanical waves. Yet he admits that, when he had the chance to ride it, he didn't ever want to stop. "It reminded me of 1986," Warshaw recalls. "The drugs have run out, you already hate yourself—how do we get more?" William Finnegan's article "Kelly Slater's Shock Wave" appeared this month in The New Yorker.

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