Radiolab is probably my favorite radioshow/podcast. What I like the most about it is the unexpected twists and turns it seems to take. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich do an excellent job of always sending the listener curve balls while keeping the material fun and informative. I used to listen when I could on the radio, but really got hardcore about it when I started listening to their podcasts. I have worked my way through almost five years of RadioLab episodes, and here is my top ten episodes. If you want to hear episodes just click on the link at the top or bottom of the article, and that will take you to their website. Note- Some of these episodes are from other shows, but were replayed on Radiolab.
1. The Living Room – A woman watches a young couple from her living room window over several years. At first, they are annoying to her and her family walking around naked forcing her to close her shades. Over time they become a fixture in her life without even knowing their names. She follows what is happening in their lives just by peeking through their window. This is all I am going to say about this episode so I don’t spoil anything, but believe me I wouldn’t rate it number one if it was not great.
2. Smile My Ass– The origin story of Candid Camera, and how the show helped us discover how we assimilate our behavior to our environment. The story of Peter Funt (the creator of Candid Camera) having an interesting plane trip that is directly influenced by who he is.
3.Raising Crane – In order to keep the Whooping Crane from becoming extinct, the US government goes to extraordinary lengths, including having people dress up as a crane. Despite all this effort the plan doesn’t go as smoothly as hoped.
4. Fu-Go – The story of phantom bombs from the early 1940s, landing in western Canada and the western portion of the United States. The investigation into where these bombs came from , and why you most likely have never heard of them. One family is deeply effected by a chance encounter with one of these unusual bombs.
5. Loop the Loop – The greatest airplane pilot you have never heard of, the story of his flying antics, and the nursery rhyme involving his name is explained.
6. Whats up Doc – The story of Mel Blanc the voice of Bugs Bunny and many other Warner Brother voices. He has an accident which effects him in unexpected ways.
7.An Ice cold Case – A body is discovered, and a murder is suspected. The police don’t even bother looking for anyone because the body is a caveman who has been frozen for hundreds of years. Speculation runs rampant on who might have killed him and why.
8.The story of everything including you – One of the best short stories I have ever heard.
9.From tree to shining tree – How trees network with other trees and other organisms. Also, how this “sharing economy” is vital to survival.
10.Patient Zero – This episode tackles tracking a decease back to the original carrier. Rumors and misinformation must be sorted through to get to the truth.
Bonus – Argentine Invasion – The story of an ant colony that has seemingly spread throughout the world.