It takes a village to make a podcast
also, Noel King can't be stopped and unicorns are real
ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter and podcast that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. Learn more at RockPaperRadio.com.
SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO (and watch)
We did it, misfit fam! We came, we cheers-ed, we celebrated my badass grandmas, we sidestepped a mention of “American exceptionalism,” and we launched Odd One In!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who showed up for me, for this oddball passion project, and for complex conversations with so much generosity and joy (and 🔥 style). I will never forget last Wednesday night and I am so excited for everything that’s coming next.
So here’s it is! Our 27-minute first Odd One In podcast episode, Hip Hop Redemption. You can also find a link to the full transcript there. And if you’d rather watch along while you listen, here’s the YouTube version that we shared during the launch party.
And in case you couldn’t make it or would like to re-live the magic of our party, here’s the video of the event from the Seattle Channel:
Shout outs are in order: To Old Chingu and Daudi for your stories, wisdom, and trust in me. To Yowei and Diana for your sharp editorial ears. To Niki for your invaluable feedback in the show’s early days. To Matt for the heart you brought to the sound design. To Mellina for stepping up like a boss last minute to be our facilitator. To Keri for being our gracious MC and for being my rock through this whole ride (through allll of the rides). To Gabriel and Sheryl for being our fearless volunteers at the event. To The Slants Foundation, 4Culture, Seattle Channel, and Nectar Lounge for your support and enthusiasm. To all of our RPR subscribers who’ve been part of this journey from the start. It takes a village to make a podcast and I am so grateful for mine. So much love to all of you.
SOMETHING TO READ
This Starting Out interview with Noel King from Transom is amazing—and not just because King shares her journey from bartending → teaching → public radio, but my former bartender/teacher/public radio self is 100% here for that too.
King, previously of NPR and now the co-host of Vox’s Today, Explained, is so fierce (and yet also nonchalant?!) as she recounts moving to Sudan at 23 to report on the war because, well, she didn’t want to have to prove herself to anyone. Mission accomplished. From King:
“I graduated from college in 2003. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I read a book that I got out of one of the public libraries in Queens, New York, where I was working as a bartender. It was called The Zanzibar Chest. It was a memoir by a man who had worked as a freelance reporter in East Africa, in the 1990’s, during the wars in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and I thought it was incredibly compelling. There was a moment where he is talking to a crusty old editor in Nairobi and the editor tells him, you know, young reporter, 24-years-old, ‘If you can make it as a freelance reporter in East Africa, you will never have to prove anything to anyone.’ Yeah. And I was a 23-year-old who felt like I had a lot to prove. And I was like, all right, that’s what I’m going to do.”
And then from there, King goes on to share her secret to keeping her cool while interviewing powerful people who don’t like to be questioned: She remembers what her mother taught her about treating everyone the same—from grocery store checkers to governors. Here’s to decisive women showing some love for their foremothers and doing what has to be done.
SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO
Just FYI there are actual mad scientists out there making real-life unicorns out of farm animals. IFL Science has the story, entitled, logically, The People Who Made Farm Animals Into "Real Unicorns".
This would be a mind boggling piece of reporting even without this glorious quote from a man named Dr. Dove who in 1933 guided a baby bull’s “horn buds” into a singular protrusion:
“Perhaps only a crude and literal-minded modern would lay hands on an object so endowed with sacred meanings as is the unicorn. To attempt to produce artificially the object of such a glorious myth may seem tantamount to the ridiculous, even to the profane.”
WHAT. What indeed. Here’s to curiosity and acting on our unshakable notions no matter how weird or unfathomable they might seem.
HAPPY SEPTEMBER, ALL!
That’s a wrap on issue 92, friends. Thanks for listening, reading, holding on.
The light’s getting all gold and cold brew now comes in pumpkin spice, so you know what that means—it’s time to reach out to the teachers in your life and remind them that they’ve got this, they’ve always gotten this, they rock. And then maybe drop off a roasted chicken, a bunch of dahlias, and a six-pack on their doorstep.
Happy back-to-school, teachers, students, and parents. You’ve all got this.
See you next Thursday.