Jesse Thorn

Anna Sale

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Anna Sale

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Anna Sale is the host of WNYC Studio's Death, Sex, and Money. As she puts it, her show is about "The things we think about a lot, and need to talk about more." Anna sits down with celebrities like Kevin Bacon or Mahershala Ali, but more often than not she's talking to someone you've never heard of. She is interested in the stuff that sometimes gets skipped over in other interviews. The downfall before the success, and poverty before the wealth.


Photo: Amy Pearl

Before Death, Sex & Money Anna was a political reporter for 9 years. She worked for news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, covering elections and talking to voters and elected officials alike. She was interested in learning why people vote the way that they do, which was one of the inspirations for her show. Since its debut in 2014, Death, Sex, & Moneyhas been on all sorts of "Best Of" lists, and Anna herself won a Gracie Award for best podcast host in 2016.

Anna and Jesse talk about her past career covering politics and elections, and how her decade doing that work aids her in the kind of interviewing that she does now. They get into how to ask really sensitive questions without it feeling exploitative, and why it is important to talk about the hard or shameful parts of a person's life.

New episodes of Death, Sex & Money come out every other Tuesday. You can listen and subscribe here.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Jerry Springer

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Jerry Springer

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

This week's Turnaround guest is the one and only Jerry Springer! You might be surprised to know that Jerry didn't begin his career in broadcasting an intern for a TV station, but instead as a politician and lawyer. He was a city councilman in Cincinnati, OH and even served as mayor of the city for a one-year term in the late 1970s.


Photo: Courtesy of Artist

Later on, Jerry was hired by Cincinnati's NBC affiliate WLWT as a political correspondent and commentator. He won numerous Emmys for his nightly commentaries on WLWT. He eventually began anchoring the news desk, after which he was asked to host his own daytime talk show, Jerry Springer, in 1991.

You may know what Jerry Springer is now, but the daytime talk show used to be a lot more anodyne. In fact, it was originally modeled after Phil Donahue's show. In 1994, Jerry Springer's producers revamped the program to boost its popularity by planning shows around sensationalist topics and conflict-driven interview segments that often resulted in chaos. The show became a ratings smash, and the rest is more or less history. Jerry Springer is now in its 26th season.

What you know about the Jerry Springer show is probably correct, and Jerry would agree with you. But as he explains to Jesse, he sees his show as a way of empowering his guests. Jerry wouldn't trade his job for anything, mainly because he's got some really great stories. He also shares about his fascinating past jobs, including his stint as mayor.

Jerry's daytime talk show, Jerry Springer, is in its 26th year. Jerry also hosts a weekly podcast, simply called The Jerry Springer Podcast.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Brooke Gladstone

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Brooke Gladstone

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

This week on The Turnaround Jesse sits down with Brooke Gladstone of WNYC Studio's On The Media.

Brooke began her career working for NPR, as an editor on both Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, and All Things Considered. She also worked as a foreign correspondent for NPR in Moscow. Now she co-hosts and edits the weekly show On The Media. The award winning show has been around in its current iterations for over 15 years covering, you guessed it, the media. She and co-host Bob Garfield cast a critical eye on their peers in the media, asking questions that are larger than that week's headlines.


Photo: Janice Yi

Brooke interviews all kinds of people on the show. She and Bob make an effort to represent many points of view on any given topic, to give the listener a better understanding of all the issues involved. Her interview style is direct and respectful, though you never feel like she hasn't asked the question that you want answered.

In her conversation with Jesse, Brooke shares how such a tightly edited weekly show gets made, and how she and her team choose to edit their show when cutting down for time and content. She also talks about journalistic objectivity, an ideal that she believes has no business dictating any part of the relationship between the media consumer and producer.

Brooke has won two Peabody awards among many others, and she has written two books. One of them is a non-fiction graphic novel starring Brooke herself that covers changes in the media over the last 2,000 years. It came out in 2011 and is called The Influencing Machine.

Her most recent book, The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time came out earlier this year. It deals with the proliferation of "fake news" in our time, examining how the Trump administration uses these lies to shape reality. You can listen to On The Media every week on your local public radio station, or you can download the podcast. If you're not already subscribed, do it! Seriously.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Larry King

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Larry King

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

It's Larry King! You know, the real Larry Legend -- the guy so famous that all you'd have to do is draw a stick figure with a pair of glasses and suspenders, and you'd know it was him. Otherwise you know him from Larry King Live, CNN's most watched show ever that ended in 2010 after a remarkable 25-year run. Larry's pretty much interviewed everyone over his 60 years in broadcasting: actors, world leaders, superstar athletes, UFO experts, even Eleanor Roosevelt.

Prior to his CNN show, Larry did a bunch of different things in broadcasting: he had a nightly radio show on the Mutual Broadcasting System that ran for many years. Larry was also a sports color man for the Miami Dolphins during their perfect season. But interviewing has been the main thing that has held together his career.

For this episode, Jesse visited Larry King at his palatial home in Beverly Hills. They sat in his trophy room, literally surrounded by bookcases full of Emmy awards and letters from U.S. presidents.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Despite his rise to celebrity from humble beginnings in Brooklyn, Larry has always considered himself an every man. He explains to Jesse why being "dumb" -- knowing relatively little about his subjects and asking them simple, obvious questions -- has been his greatest asset as an interviewer. Very much a creature of live broadcasting, he loves the thrill of going into an interview cold and not knowing what's going to happen next.

Larry's a natural storyteller, and he tells Jesse about what it was like to interview guys like Richard Nixon and Frank Sinatra. He gets introspective too, talking about both his proudest accomplishments and deepest regrets, as well as his biggest fear: death.

You can catch Larry still doing his thing after 60 years on his new show Larry King Now, available on Ora TV and Hulu.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Audie Cornish

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Audie Cornish

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Audie Cornish co-hosts NPR's All Things Considered. On NPR, she's often doing live interviews on breaking stories, interviewing reporters and newsbreakers who are on the scene after huge, sometimes really scary events took place. In a world where news moves so quickly, it's gotten easier and easier for hosts like Audie to slip up, maybe get a fact wrong. Honestly, the whole thing kind of terrifies me. But when Audie's covering a breaking story, she's careful, she's unflappable, and prepared.


Photo: Stephen Voss/NPR

This week, Jesse sits down with Audie to talk about how she got into broadcasting and the difference between working in broadcasting and print journalism. She tells us what it's like to work at such an established news institution like NPR, and why the word "dispassionate" does not describe her and her fellow broadcasters.

You can listen to Audie Cornish every weekday on NPR's All Things Considered on your local NPR affiliate station.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Marc Maron

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Marc Maron

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Marc Maron is a standup comedian, actor, and host of one of the biggest podcasts ever: WTF with Marc Maron. Recording in his garage in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Maron has long, free-wheeling conversations with every kind of famous person you can think of, from comedians, to actors, to musicians -- even President Barack Obama when he was still in the White House.

When you listen to WTF, though, you aren't just listening for the guest. Maron has a big personality, and it shows in his interviews. He's not rattling off a list of questions, but instead he's having a really intimate and revealing conversation. It doesn't always go great, but it always reveals a lot about the guest, even if they aren't into it.

Marc and Jesse talk about what it's like recording his very popular show in his garage, his tactics for getting people to open up to him, and the differences between his standup and podcast personas. They also discuss two very different people who loom large in their consciousness: Terry Gross and Chris Hardwick.

Marc's podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes out twice a week. He also has a book called Waiting for the Punch coming out this fall.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Susan Orlean

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Susan Orlean

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Susan Orlean has been a journalist for over 30 years, writing for publications like The Rolling Stone and Vogue. In 1992 she was made a staff writer at The New Yorker and has been contributing ever since. She has also written eight books. One of them, The Orchid Thief, was the basis of Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman's 2002 film starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep.

Susan talks to Jesse about how some of her best pieces start as one thing and end up as another, especially once she begins talking to living, breathing human beings. She did just that in her 1994 piece about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, which she wrote by talking to locals in Harding's hometown of Clackamas, Oregon. She also shares about her experiences interviewing celebrities, including the valuable lesson she learned when profiling Tom Hanks for Rolling Stone.

Visit Susan Orlean's website to learn more about her work, including the many articles and books she's written.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Ira Glass

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Ira Glass

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

On the premiere episode of The Turnaround, Jesse talks to Ira Glass, the host and creator of This American Life from WBEZ. This American Life has been on the air since 1995. For more than twenty years, Ira and his fellow producers have helped pioneer a distinctive narrative-driven brand of audio journalism that's become so influential that it's now heard pretty much everywhere.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg

In his conversation with Jesse, Ira explains how he asks questions of people in such a way to draw out a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. He says he chases after authenticity in his interviews, which sometimes gives way to the kind of emotional moments usually reserved for close friends and relatives.

Visit This American Life's website for new and archived episodes of the show.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Introducing The Turnaround, starting June 22nd!

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Show: 
The Turnaround

Subscribe now to The Turnaround, a new series from MaxFun and Columbia Journalism Review that features interviewers, interviewed. Releasing twice a week all summer, starting Thursday, June 22nd. Host Jesse Thorn sits down with the greatest living interviewers, including Larry King, Terry Gross, Werner Herzog, and Audie Cornish, and uncovers how these greats ply their craft.

Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you download podcasts, and catch the first episode on June 22nd!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Werner Herzog and Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Werner Herzog
Guests: 
Phil Elverum

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie and The Microphones on his wife's death and creating music honoring that experience

First up: Phil Elverum. He's a recording artist and songwriter. Elverum's career dates back over 20 years, first as the Microphones and later Mt. Eerie. He's produced ambitious, beautiful records that mix genres like folk, noise, death metal, shoegaze and more. It sounds a little like we're listing off different bins in a record store, but it's really compelling stuff.

His albums have all gotten a lot of acclaim, not just because of the studio experimentation but because of the beautiful, kind of ephemeral lyrics he used to tackle big, existential questions.

On his latest record, A Crow Looked At Me, he abandons pretty much all of that. His wife, Geneviève, died of pancreatic cancer last summer.

Phil wrote and recorded the album in the room where she died, using instruments she owned. As an album it's raw, plainly spoken and kind of therapeutic. He talks about really specific moments - trips to the hospital, getting rid of old clothes, getting her mail still.

He talks to Jesse about death and dying, and how he processed thatloss through music. Plus, for a little levity, he talks about his high stakes gambling game: Wad Lord

Phil's new album A Crow Looked At Me is out now.

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Werner Herzog on his new film Salt and Fire

From eating a shoe onstage to hauling a steamboat over a huge hill in the Amazon, German film director Werner Herzog is one of those public figures that has a kind of mythology to him him. But in Werner's case, a lot of it's true. He has had a career that spans more than 5 decades and dozens of awards, working both in documentaries and narrative films. He's known for Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Fitzcarraldo and Little Dieter Needs To Fly. He says that although he doesn't consider himself a workaholic, he has directed a film almost every year from the beginning of his career, with 3 being released in the last year alone.

Jesse and Werner talk about his new film starring Michael Shannon and Veronica Ferres and what it was like when he was shot during a routine interview with the BBC.

Werner's new films Salt and Fire and Queen of the Desert is out now.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

The Outshot: Broadcast News

Jesse tells us about his why the 1987 classic dramedy Broadcast News is his favorite James L. Brooks film.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

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