The New Yorker Radio Hour
The New Yorker Radio Hour is a weekly program presented by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, and produced by WNYC Studios and The New Yorker. Each episode features a diverse mix of interviews, profiles, storytelling, and an occasional burst of humor inspired by the magazine, and shaped by its writers, artists, and editors. This isn’t a radio version of a magazine, but something all its own, reflecting the rich possibilities of audio storytelling and conversation. Theme music for the show was composed and performed by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YArDs.
In 2010, the Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, sent nearly seven hundred and fifty thousand classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. The leak earned Manning a thirty-five-year prison sentence, which was commuted by President Obama to seven years.
Less than five months out of prison, she sat down with The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar at the 2017 New Yorker Festival. Manning discussed her tumultuous upbringing, including her months living as a homeless teen in Chicago; her highly public gender transition; and her treatment in military prison. She also described the quick decision that led her to send the documents to WikiLeaks. Having seen “All the President’s Men,” Manning had originally intended to send the documents to the Washington Post or The New York Times, but, at the time, she said, the newspapers struggled to provide her with the security protocols she insisted on. Only WikiLeaks offered the necessary level of security, and she took the chance. “I was running out of time,” she told MacFarquhar. “They just had the tools available, they knew how to use them. That’s all it boiled down to. I had to go back to Iraq.”
Though the trial is behind her, Manning maintains a fierce conviction that her leak posed no threat to U.S. soldiers or local sources in Iraq or Afghanistan, a fact disputed by the government and many N.G.O.s disputed by many, including leading human-rights groups. Her disclosures profoundly embarrassed the government, made WikiLeaks a household name, and, by some accounts, served as a catalyst for the Arab Spring. But Manning hopes to be done with the leaks, and to spend the next phase of her life as an advocate for trans people.
The death last month of Hugh Hefner reopened a conversation about the “Playboy” founder and the world he created. Hefner said that his magazine’s pictures of naked or near-naked women were an empowering blow against puritanism; his critics argued that they normalized the degradation of women. Janice Moses was just nineteen and in desperate need of a job when she started in the magazine’s photo department, eventually rising to become a photo editor. Empowered as a professional woman, she became increasingly uncomfortable with the content, especially as “Playboy” began competing with more explicit rivals such as “Hustler.” After Hefner died, Janice’s daughter, Michele Moses—a member of the The New Yorker’s editorial staff—had a few questions about her mother’s years making centerfolds.
Also: The New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb talks with Bill Rhoden, a writer-at-large for ESPN’s “Undefeated,” about the fifty-year history of black athletes embracing politics on the field. Is it time, they ask, to retire “The Star-Spangled Banner” from football?
Annie Clark, known as St. Vincent, launched her career as a guitar virtuoso—a real shredder—in indie rock, playing alongside artists like Sufjan Stevens. As a bandleader, she’s moved away from the explosive solos, telling David Remnick, “There’s a certain amount of guitar playing that is about pride, that isn’t about the song. . . . I’m not that interested in guitar being a means of poorly covered-up pride.” Her songs are dense, challenging, and not always easy, but catchy and seductive. Remnick caught up with Clark before the launch of her new album, “MASSEDUCTION.” They talked about the clarity of purpose she needed in order to “clear a path” to write the “glamorously sad songs” she’s become known for.
Patricia Marx is a longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, and Roz Chast is a celebrated cartoonist. Chast’s book “Can’t We Please Talk About Something More Pleasant,” about dealing with her aging parents, was a best-seller in 2014, winning awards that don’t usually go to books of cartoons. But something you don’t know about Chast and Marx is that they played in a band. As the Daily Pukeleles, they claim, they influenced some of the biggest names in music in the sixties and beyond. But they were always a little too far ahead of the curve for the mainstream. For the first time ever, Patricia Marx and Roz Chast tell their story. Plus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan talks with David Remnick about cops and mobsters, and the torture of writing a novel.
The Trump SoHo was supposed to be a splash for the Trump Organization and for Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr., who were leading the project. Instead, they were stuck trying to market very small units to buyers as the financial crisis hit. That they lied in selling the building isn’t in question, and the Manhattan District Attorney's office began investigating; but, after a meeting between the D.A. and Marc Kasowitz, a Trump lawyer, the government never filed charges. What happened? Andrea Bernstein, of WNYC, and the Pulitzer Prize-winner Jesse Eisinger, of ProPublica, jointly reported on the Trump SoHo; they spoke to The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson, who has reported extensively on the Trump Organization. Plus, the staff writer Doreen St. Félix tells David Remnick why Cardi B, the first female rapper since Lauryn Hill to hit the Billboard No. 1—is shaking up the music industry.
A crime reporter and a business writer try to figure out how the government can charge a bank a sixteen-billion-dollar fine for wrongdoing yet fail to prosecute any individual at that bank for a crime. Plus, a long walk with Karl Ove Knausgaard. Knausgaard’s monumental autobiographical novel in six volumes, “My Struggle,” describes the events of his life in immense detail over thousands of pages—a most unlikely literary hit. His new project is only a bit less ambitious. It’s a four-part series named after the seasons, one book per season, which he wrote for his daughter while awaiting her birth. Each book consists of dozens of short essays, reflections on the most common things, tangible and intangible. The first book in the series, “Autumn,” was just published in the U.S. When Karl Ove Knausgaard was in New York recently, he met up with The New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman, and they covered all the basics: near-death experiences, raising kids, puberty, brain surgery, and turtles.