Studio: American Public Media
Category: Business News
What It Is
A quick, snappy look at the business news of the day/week structured with separate segments on a variety of topics related to the economy and business.
Clocking in at around twenty-five minutes an episode, the show is divided up into numerous segments of two to three minutes each. The show releases five times a week, Monday through Friday. The radio show is a production of APM, the second largest producer of public media after NPR, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. It began in 1989 and still airs on public radio stations all around the country. In 2007, it began to be released as a podcast. Both means of distribution are ongoing; you can doubtless find a time to listen to it on your local public radio station or download the podcast to listen at your convenience.
What About It
This is one of a large, large number of excellent programs produced by APM. We’ll be talking about quite a few of them. This one is typically informative and it moves at a rapid pace. No story takes up so much time that you get bored with it, yet it still feels as though the program is genuinely giving you the pertinent information you need to understand, at least on a macro level, the major business developments of the moment. Kai Ryssdal is, if I’m going to be honest, not one of my favorite hosts. He has a strange cadence to his voice that occasionally grates on me and often sounds, and I know of no other way to describe it, incredibly smug. On the flip side, his idiosyncratic style is often responsible for the occasional moments when the show transitions from being a very good news show to being a genuinely great, extremely entertaining news show. When he’s doing an interview and feels that he isn’t getting answers of a sufficiently good quality, he becomes dismissive in his tone, often interrupting his interviewees with a completely disinterested line like “Yeah, sure.” I’ll probably never forget when he dared to interrupt none other than James frigging Carville by snapping “Oh, come on!” when Carville made some sort of assertion that he didn’t agree with. James CARVILLE, you hear me? And, then I remember a time when President Obama revealed his “grand bargain,” you know, back when there was a new “grand bargain” every couple of weeks. Ryssdal introduced a story on it with one of the correspondents; the correspondent came on air, stated, “Yeah, there’s nothing new here,” and then signed off. Okay, that’s funny. And pointed too. All in all, it’s a good informative show that occasionally hits patches of being extremely good, if not great. And a word for the interstitial music: superlative.
You like your business news with a generous helping of quirk.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You think “Ben Bernanke” is a Dr. Seuss character.
Best Entry Point
As with any news podcast, the basic recommendation is to just download the most recent one. But if you want a choice from the archives that really demonstrates the show at its most emotionally resonant, check out this series of segments on the crime-ridden & poverty stricken town of Camden, New Jersey, and the way in which the healthcare industry may be giving it a ray of hope.
2 stars. Recommended against, on the whole.
Next time, a critically acclaimed podcast that actually offers little in the way of insight.