NPR plans to launch three new enterprise storytelling podcasts during the next six months, which will tackle topics including music, mass incarceration and police accountability. NPR has also announced a “passing of the torch” at its podcast Invisibilia. The five-year-old podcast that explores the invisible forces shaping human behavior grew out of an idea on the NPR Science desk and has grown to a podcast with more than 100 million downloads. But change is in the air as hosts Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin have announced they will be relinquishing those duties next winter.
The hit podcast won’t end, however. NPR has announced the new Invisibilia co-hosts will be Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse. For the past four years Shaw has been the creative and editorial force behind many episodes of the podcast, including the critically-acclaimed A Very Offensive Rom Com. And Miakka Natisse has been the podcast’s producer. Together, NPR says the pair will “reinvent” Invisibilia with the help of key staffers Abby Wendle, Liana Simstrom and Deb George.
In the meantime, several new podcasts are in the works. The first will be a still-untitled podcast from NPR Music that’s set to debut in September. The limited-run narrative series will trace the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. It will be hosted by Rodney Carmichael, NPR Music’s resident hip-hop critic, and Sidney Madden, NPR Music reporter and editor.
Also coming this fall is No Compromise, an eight-episode limited-run investigative series that explores the world of Second Amendment advocates who believe the National Rifle Association is “too soft” on guns. KCUR Kansas City (89.3) reporter Chris Haxel and WABE Atlanta (90.1) reporter Lisa Hagen have been investigating the story for more than six months as part of the public radio reporting collaborative Guns & America.
And launching early next year is Unsealed, a limited-run podcast that uses an analysis of hundreds of police misconduct files, body camera footage and audio recordings of internal police investigations to examine how police departments are policing themselves. Unsealed will be hosted by KQED San Francisco (88.5) criminal justice reporter Sukey Lewis and produced by KQED’s race and equity reporter, Sandhya Dirks.
“NPR and its member station network are dedicated to public service journalism and gripping enterprise storytelling that opens our eyes to what’s really going on. It’s reporting that challenges the easy stories we tell ourselves,” said Anya Grundmann, SVP for Programming and Audience Development at NPR. “Each of these enterprise projects and programs tackles issues that are at the center of the national conversation and introduces new hosts and voices to a national audience. We’re proud to be putting this important work out with our partners across the public radio network.”
NPR says all three of the new podcasts were developed with support from NPR’s Story Lab, the network’s in-house creative studio whose mission is to cultivate new voices, new approaches to storytelling, and to evolve the sound of public radio.