The State We’re In was a terrestrial radio program until 2012 on Radio Netherlands Worldwide. It was cancelled after budgetary cutbacks to the dismay of its substantitive fanbase. Most NPR fans know The State We’re In Through its syndication run on WNYC.
To the delight of many, it became a podcast one year later with the help of WBEZ in Chicago with Brooklyn native Jonathan Groubert as host. WBEZ is also the parent station for This American Life.
Ira Glass, host of This American Life, has called Groubert “one of the best radio interviewers [ever]”.
Having worked in public radio, I’m ashamed to say, until this morning, I’d never listened to the program. I now, indisputably, get it.
The State We’re In is framed as a human rights program, where the producers spotlight real people’s unique stories in intimate one-on-one vignettes. Well, the story I heard wasn’t short enough to be a vignette, but 28 minutes isn’t exactly War and Peace either.
In episode 1, we hear from Stuart Sharp, and Englishman, who after the death of his son, composed a symphony — despite his inexperience with clasical music. He says he was guided by angels or “snow people” in his endeavor.
I was a fan almost instantly. Obviously the show is thought provoking, but what’s more is how adeptly Groubert and his producers execute the narrative. It truly is theater of the mind — without heavy-handed sound effects or long-winded asides from the host.
I am completely and totally sold. Time for a backlog binge.