If you have children, then you especially should make plans to subscribe to this podcast when it debuts this week.
NPR’s latest podcast, Wow In The World is a delicious combination of science, engagement, and frivolity resulting in what ultimately will be their most popular program.
NPR’s latest podcast was born from a weekly segment on Sirius XM’s Absolutely Mindy Program. Host Mindy Thomas and NPR’s Guy Raz had a weekly segment where they discussed news that would be of interest to kids and grownups alike. Their segment went on to win the International New York Festival’s Award for best children’s program in 2016. When NPR announced that they were heading in this direction, I reached out to see if we could get an advance copy of the first episode. This move toward children-centric programming is historic for NPR. In 47 years of broadcasting, National Public Radio has never released a program with children in mind.
The production value was excellent. It gave the show a very Bill Nye the Science Guy vibe. If the show had just been a simple rip and read for the hosts, this podcast wouldn’t be around for very long.
The show seems to pick stories that have an internet component to them. For example, the first story talks about investigating a portion of outer space by checking out the website www.zooniverse.org. Apparently, people can choose a portion of outer space that they can investigate on their own. My hope is that they share these links on their site or tweet them out as well.
The chemistry between Thomas and Raz is off the charts. You certainly can hear how much they enjoy doing this show and the passion they have for reaching out to young listeners.
At the mid-point of the show, it was extremely smart to include clips of Mindy Thomas speaking to little kids about the topic de jour. This needs to continue!
What Didn’t Work
Currently, the show is set up where it’s two stories from Guy Raz and one story from Mindy Thomas. The show would flow smoother if there were two stories from each host. Thomas has such charisma that even when she’s not being silly, I’m immediately drawn to whatever story she’s telling.
There is a reason why NPR has waited until now to venture into programming geared towards children and centers around balance. Wow in the World strikes the right balance between serious and silly. The purpose of the program is to ignite a dialogue between a tablet driven generation and the parents struggling to relate. The show debuts on Monday and everyone should download it.