WBUR, Boston's NPR news station, is among the many podcast creators using the Fall IAB Podcast Upfront to show off what it has planned for the next two years. It includes a mix of returning shows as well as new podcasts still in development including a project with the former New York Times China Bureau Chief Jane Perlez. WBUR’s podcast network currently drives more than five million monthly downloads.
WBUR is also home to two daily national radio shows – “On Point” and “Here & Now.” It says this fall “On Point” will lean into its new focus on narrative storytelling in a news format with “The Prime Effect,” an ambitious series exploring how Amazon has impacted the way we work and live. The eight-part series aims to understand how the shopping and technology giant has redefined expectations and service in the modern age.
On “Here & Now” new co-host Scott Tong will lead a new podcast series with Jane Perlez of The New York Times on the under told history of how the U.S. relationship with China began 50 years ago and how it has led to our complicated relations with the country today. It is scheduled to be released in February 2022.
WBUR is also announcing plans to produce two brand-new shows, both tackling huge societal issues. One will address an underreported story about a powerful link between the government and America’s addiction to guns that began in Massachusetts after the Revolutionary War. The series will explore how gun manufacturing in the Northeast has had a lasting impact on technology, manufacturing, and politics.
WBUR’s second new show will be a podcast about climate change that imagines the future and asks listeners to play a role in deciding that future. The show, tentatively titled Great Job Everyone, will combine rigorous climate change journalism with futurism and responsible, speculative reporting, all with a goal of inspiring listeners to face humanity’s existential threat together.
“As one of the largest public media organizations, rooted in one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities, WBUR has established itself as a radio and podcasting powerhouse with millions of listeners and numerous distinct audiences,” said WBUR’s new Executive Producer Ben Brock Johnson. “Our podcast team is focused on bringing bold and innovative storytelling to new generations of public media consumers. For us, that means bringing engaging series and stories to our fan favorites and launching creative and ambitious programming that inspires listeners who want to understand their world better via content that speaks directly to them.”
Here are some of the podcasts that WBUR plans to release into 2022 –
- Last Seen: WBUR’s true crime art heist podcast from 2018 gets a new season along with a new mission: exploring stories of people, places and things that have gone missing. The true crime series relaunches as an anthology, featuring diverse voices telling stories about everything from astronomers searching for ghost planets to the disappearance of an unassuming fish, to a surfing jewel thief who predicted the rise of the online influencer. The new season will be curated by podcast producer Nora Saks. It debuts in Jan. 2022.
- Endless Thread: The show featuring untold histories and unsolved mysteries from the internet, is relaunched with a new look and as a stand-alone podcast. The show’s 2021 return kicks off in October with a special series of deep dives on a timely and consequential topic: memes. The series features conversations about the personal, historical, and cultural impact of memes, a unit of culture that’s changing the way we communicate. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson will talk NFTs, Scumbag Steve, Disaster Girl, the rickroll, how memes are being used as a form of protest in Kenya, and even being co-opted by the white supremacist movement in the U.S. It debuts Oct. 1.
- Circle Round: WBUR’s popular storytelling podcast for children, jumps into its fifth season. In addition to a new set of folktales from around the world, Circle Round will launch a picture and activity book published by Workman Imprint Storey Publishing in May 2022.