You Should Listen To Friday

Sam Greenspan from 99% Invisible curates his favorite radio stories from the week and of all time.


08/08/2014 What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon.  In part one we hear the story of what happened when he fought the "three strikes you are out forever" law and lost. Plus Howard Zinn on the myth of American Exceptionalism.
A Walker is banned from ever touching ground again. It's a great day to revisit Man Without A Country, from Theory of Everything.
03/31/2016Meet the people inside a house at the center of an HIV outbreak in Indiana. Find Kelly McEvers on Twitter @kellymcevers. Email us at
An uncomfortable visit to a house at the epicenter of an addiction and HIV crisis. From Kelly McEvers's new NPR podcast, Embedded.
03/31/2016This week, PJ helps a listener named Matt ask a very large company a simple question. Are you telling me the truth?
Why it's so hard to get FiOS in New York City (spoiler: it's capitalism). From Reply All.
01/06/2015Amy was dead broke when she found a Craigslist ad looking for a balloon porn fetish model.
You will not look at balloons the same way
01/15/2013 We turn to doctors to save our lives -- to heal us, repair us, and keep us healthy. But when it comes to the critical question of what to do when death is at hand, there seems to be a gap between what we want doctors to do for us, and what doctors want done for themselves.
What doctors don't tell you about end-of-life decisions
12/08/2015"Somewhere in the world there's a Tupperware Party starting every 10 seconds." And we're going to one with The Kitchen Sisters.
This Kitchen Sisters story from 1980 showed a whole generation of producers what's possible with the medium. And with Tupperware. From Fugitive Waves.
12/08/2015For Americans, the sight of pagoda roofs and dragon gates means that you are in Chinatown. Whether in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, the chinoiserie look is distinctive. But for those just arriving from China, the Chinatown aesthetic can feel surprisingly foreign. Pagodas and Dragon Gates
Why Chinatowns are generally the only ethnic neighborhoods with their own style of architecture.
Thursdays are Serial Days once again! As with last season, it's an on-going story told week-by-week, much of it through compelling phone tape. Episodes 1 and 2 now available.
12/15/2015Strawberries used to be a delicacy. The fruit is fragile, prone to disease and requires a very particular climate to grow. But these days, you can buy strawberries almost anywhere at any time – including in Barrow, Alaska, a polar community with an average annual temperature of -9 degrees Fahrenheit. So how did strawberries become … Continue reading From the battlefields to the strawberry fields
What does it mean to be able to get strawberries year round in Alaska? From Reveal.
12/11/2015 Transparent is an Amazon original series, created by Jill Soloway. The story centers on a family where the father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, comes out to his children and the to world at large as transgender. The first season was released in September 2014. It was critically acclaimed and won a lot of awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. In this episode, composer Dustin O’Halloran breaks down how he made the Transparent theme, using an 80-year old piano and channeling his own family nostalgia. This episode is sponsored by Hover, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and MeUndies.
Like all the characters in Transparent, there's more to the theme song than you might think. From Song Exploder.
12/17/2015 In January 2015, Björk released Vulnicura. She described it as "a complete heartbreak album." And in November, she released Vulnicura Strings, a companion album that stripped away the electronics. In this episode, Björk breaks down the making of both the original version of the song "Stonemilker," as well as the strings version. She traces her writing and recording process for the track, her collaboration with the electronic producer Arca, and why she wanted to make a second version. This episode is sponsored by Hover, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Turntable Lab.
A tower of equilibrium that you are standing in, a monument of equilibrium... Björk offers one of her best and most accessible interviews to Song Exploder, making this episode easily one of the show's best.
05/05/2015Nate DiMeo is the host of The Memory Palace. "I struggled a lot when I first got into journalism because I knew every Q&A I edited ... something would get cut. And that the person interviewed would not be entirely represented the way they wanted to be. ... So the best way to honor that person and to get at the heart of it was by writing really well. If their literal voice didn't carry and didn't get enough airtime the spirit of what they were saying was effectively and pointedly articulated by me as a writer."
Quit making cold-calls and writing host ledes—just write like Tracy Chapman.
03/19/2015In the mid 1800s, not many (non-native) Americans had ever been west of the Mississippi. When Frederick Law Olmstead visited the west in the 1850s, he remarked that the plains looked like a sea of grasses that moved  “in swells after … Continue reading
How barbed wire divided and united (but mostly divided) the American west.
04/15/2013En 2011, River Plate, uno de los clubes más famosos de Sudamérica, descendió a la segunda división del fútbol argentino. Desde Buenos Aires, Cristian Alarcón nos presenta la historia una catástrofe futbolística que convulsionó a todo un país. / In 2011, River Plate, one of the most famous clubs in South America, was relegated to the Argentine Second Division. From Buenos Aires, Cristian Alarcón shares the story of a soccer catastrophe that shook an entire nation.
The soccer catastrophe—and radio broadcast—that shook a nation.
04/04/2015Maddie Messer is 12, and she loves a good video game. One of her favorites is called Temple Run. In fact, it's one of the most successful games out there. Temple Run is free to play—if you play as the default character, Guy Dangerous. But playing as a girl character can cost extra. Maddie found out this was true for a lot of games, and she didn't think that was very fair. Today on the show: a 12-year-old girl takes on the entire video game industry. Image Credit: Imangi Studios
12-year-old-girl investigates video game makers for sexism, wins.