NPR During the Dog Days

Jul 1, 2013

This summer as families break out the GPS (or road maps, if you’re old school) and hit the road for the mountains, rivers and beaches, NPR has a great selection of interesting radio series planned to inspire lively conversations and fill the silence during those long road trips. Here’s a taste of what’s on deck.

The Nickel Tour

The Nickel Tour series profiles engaging tour guides from around the country, putting faces on the truly great rangers, docents, tram drivers, and other guides who make historical sites, natural wonders and tourist destinations come alive. The stories will root listeners in a sense of place, while focusing on the guides themselves. Listen in as they go through their day, find out why they do what they do, what excites them about their jobs, and go behind the scenes to discover what makes these guides tick. The series will launch in July.

Libraries in a New Age

NPR’s Arts Desk paints a picture of America through the lens of public libraries and their role during a transformative technological moment, as the economy forces a reconsideration of municipal obligations and responsibilities. 

The series explores big issues %u2014 our collective copyright nightmare, how content can be consumed and distributed electronically, the digital divide, funding challenges, historic preservation and how a public space might best serve its community.

   Listeners will discover unknown places, innovative local projects and passionate people committed to enriching the places they call home. The series reflects that sense of discovery and the pleasure you get from a great public library. The pieces air across NPR’s newsmagazines in August.


Ben Affleck won an Academy Award in his 20s for writing Good Will Hunting. In his 30s, he was in possibly the worst movie of all time, Gigli, with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and was the laughingstock of Hollywood. Now, close to age 40, he won another Oscar for Argo — it’s an incredible comeback.

NPR’s National Desk takes a look at other great comeback stories from pop culture, politics, business and sports, to neighborhoods, small towns, fashions, and fads, in a series that begins on Monday, July 15th, across NPR’s newsmagazines. Here are some of the comebacks that will be explored:

Grey Wolves:  Grey wolves have been successfully reintroduced into Yellowstone. And ranchers around there hate it because wolves don’t recognize the national park borders and are disrupting ranching operations.

New York Distilleries: One hundred years ago, distilleries in New York City and around New York State produced oceans of beer, whisky, brandy and other spirits made from the fruits that grew in the Hudson Valley and beyond. After Prohibition, the spigots were stopped, the industry consolidated, and the small distillers went out of business. But state laws regulating distilling were relaxed in 2002 and 2007 and now some 30 plus local distilleries are thriving.

Ruby Keeler: Star of Depression-era musicals like 42nd Street, Ruby Keeler’s career basically ended in 1941. Then in 1971, she came out of retirement to become the tap-dancing toast of Broadway in No No Nanette, which led to a nostalgia revival that brought back lots of other aging stars.

Moynat: Originally founded in 1849, Moynat made a name for itself creating trunks and leather goods for trans-Atlantic voyages — the luxury precursor to Hermes, Luis Vuitton and Goyard. Over the years, it fell out of favor as the other status leather makers rose in prominence — but LVMH took a bet on the name and bought it several years ago. Now six women in Burgundy make the excruciatingly elegant bags creating a fashion industry second act.

Alewives Return: Dams and the introduction of non-native species drove Maine’s native alewives (also known as River Herring) to near extinction. But years of legislative battles, lawsuits and some key players changing their minds set the stage for the alewives’ return.

Pat Martino: A jazz guitarist who came out of South Philly in the late ’50s and blew everybody away with his speed and forward-thinking ideas. In 1980, Martino suffered a brain aneurism on stage that left him with severe amnesia. But Martino relearned how to play the guitar and is as strong as ever.

As you head out to explore the great State of Jefferson and beyond we hope you’ll take JPR with you and stay tuned for some interesting stories during the Dog Days of Summer.