BONUS: Oprah Gets Political

Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo

This week on Making Oprah: For more than 10 years after the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah deliberately avoided having politicians on her show, particularly during election seasons. 

But she slowly changed her mind. She invited George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore on the show in the final months of the 2000 election. And she eventually made the surprising decision to campaign for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. 

In this second bonus episode of Making Oprah, host Jenn White talks to Oprah about the role politics played - and didn’t play - in the history of the Oprah Winfrey show.

Produced by Jenn White and Colin McNulty, with mixing and editing by Justin Bull.

Episode audio available here. 

Margot Lee Shetterly, Andy Cohen And The Best Podcasts Of 2016

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

This week on Nerdette: We talk to Andy Cohen, the man behind Bravo's Real Housewives, about celebrity obsession. Then we break down some of the best podcasts of 2016 with help from Lauren Ober, host of NPR's The Big Listen, and Brittany Luce, of Gimlet. And finally, author Margot Lee Shetterly on her book Hidden Figures (the inspiration for the new film by the same name) which tells the stories of black female mathematicians who played crucial roles in the early days of NASA.

Produced by Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, with mixing and editing by Justin Bull.

Episode audio available here.

An American Concession Speech

Produced by Justin Bull. Copyrighted material reused under fair use. Video courtesy of C-Span, CNN, Fox News, Aye Hidayat and efan2011.


From Shannon: "Why use a prettier name for it? Call it what it is. Most of us who have been in relationships have to face this demon at some stage in life. Is it a growing pain or fatal?"

From WBEZ Chicago, this is episode #86 of Shannon Cason's Homemade Stories.

Story by Shannon Cason (
Production by Justin Bull  

Shannon Cason Sucks

From Shannon: "An exploration of fessing up for obligations I feel pressure in my mind to fulfill. Inspired by a beer I enjoy drinking. I know I don't really suck, but I do at the same time...esp depending on who you're asking. So I'll just admit it. I suck. The paradox!"

From WBEZ Chicago, this is episode #85 of Shannon Cason's Homemade Stories.

Story by Shannon Cason (
Production by Justin Bull  

How Do You Stop a Stalker?

What's the difference between a persistent romantic interest and someone who is stalking you?

Many cases of stalking involve an ex-partner, which makes things more complicated. How do we intervene to stop the stalking behaviour before things get really difficult?

Produced by Justin Bull
Guest: Dr Lorraine Sheridan, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University

Aired on ABC's Life Matters on May 5, 2016

Rise of the Killer Robot

Weapon technology is getting more and more advanced and the human component is slowly fading away.

Should the next phase of warfare: autonomous, weaponised robots, go the way of landmines which are banned, or drones which are accepted as a reasonable option?

Produced by Justin Bull

  • Dr Jai Galliot, Research Fellow in Indo-Pacific Defence, UNSW
  • Mary Wareham, Global Coordinator for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and Advocacy Director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch

Aired on ABC's Life Matters on April 27, 2016

Storytelling: Scientists Under The Microscope

Scientists from around the world converged on Brisbane for the first World Science Festival to be held outside New York. 'Conversations' hosted a storytelling night, where selected festival guests, all foremost in their fields, shared personal stories.

Stories by:

  • Professor Ian Frazer - inventor of the technology behind the HPV vaccine and CEO of Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia. Ian was 2006 Australian of the Year, and is President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.
  • Dr Julienne Stroeve - research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. Visit Julienne's blog 'Ice Edge 2012' for images from her research trips.
  • Dr Simon Kyaga - attending physician in psychiatry at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Professor Priya Natarajan - Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Priya's book, 'Mapping the Heavens', is published by Yale University Press.
  • John Hockenberry - award-winning US broadcaster and disability advocate. John hosts WNYC and PRI radio program, 'The Takeaway'.

Hosted by Richard Fidler
Produced by Pam O'Brien, Michelle Ransom-Hughes, Richard Fidler, and Justin Bull

Solo sailor Bill Hatfield rolled his yacht at Cape Horn and lived to tell the tale.

Plenty of people have solo-circumnavigated the globe heading east. But 77-year old sailor Bill Hatfield from Brisbane wanted to go the hard way: Westward, against the prevailing winds. 

In March, he encountered a storm which capsized his 32-foot yacht at South America’s Cape Horn. Tossed overboard and forced to abandon his record setting attempt, Hatfield barely survived.

And like any good sailor, Hatfield undersells the severity of this near-death experience.

Produced by Justin Bull
Presented by Cassie McCullagh

Guest: Sailor Bill Hatfield

Aired on ABC's Life Matters on April 15, 2016

Bernie Sanders' Early Life

Bernie Sanders is America’s anti-establishment candidate from the left. A self-described Democratic Socialist, he’s wildly exceeding expectations, and he could very well be America’s next president. So who is he?

Presented by Cassie McCullagh
Produced by Justin Bull
Guest: David Smith, Senior Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy and US Studies Centre Academic Director

Aired on ABC's Life Matters on April 15, 2016

Prime Minister of Iceland becomes first political casualty of Panama Papers

The Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, is the first major political casualty of the leaked Panama Papers. Overnight, the leader resigned after documents from Mossack Fonseca revealed that he owned an offshore company with his wife but had not declared it when he entered parliament. Gunnlaugsson is accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets stemming from his wife's inheritance. He says he sold his share to his wife, and has denied any wrongdoing. But yesterday, 10,000 angry Icelanders took to the streets to call for his resignation, which followed soon after.

Produced by Justin Bull
Guest: Steengrimur Sigfusson, Iceland's Former Finance Minister

Aired on ABC's RN Breakfast on April 6, 2016

How will a soft drink tax play out in the UK?

The UK's sugary drinks tax is scheduled to begin in 2018. It's expected to raise more than a billion dollars to assist primary school sports programs in the UK.

The tax will inevitably be passed along to consumers, but will it change consumption habits?

Presented by Ellen Fanning
Produced by Justin Bull
Guest: Alex Renton, Food Policy Journalist for The Guardian

Aired on ABC's Life Matters on March 23, 2016.

Climate Connections Radio

Climate Connections is a nonpartisan multimedia service providing daily 90-second broadcast radio programming on the issue of climate change, one of the greatest challenges and stories confronting modern society.

Episodes written and reported by Justin Bull and ChavoBart Digital Media
Episodes produced and edited by Bridgett Ennis, Sara Peach, Bud Ward, and Erika Street Hopman

Are You Smarter Than An Eighth Grader?

A 13-year-old climate activist has organized a rally, spoken at events, and filed a lawsuit

Aired on Yale Climate Connections March 3, 2016.

Bees Get Stung by Changing Climate

Honey bees and plants depend on each other, but will they adapt in sync as the climate changes?

Aired on Yale Climate Connections March 3, 2016.

Going Really Local

Two students at MIT are now selling a hybrid indoor aquarium and vegetable garden they pioneered as college roommates

Aired on Yale Climate Connections February 18, 2016.

The Paradox of Cheaper LED Lights

LED lights use much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, but as they get cheaper, people may use them more 

Aired on Yale Climate Connections February 8, 2016.

Weathercaster's Change of Mind

A self-described hardcore skeptic becomes convinced that humans contribute to climate change

Aired on Yale Climate Connections January 25, 2016.

Wetlands Do More For You Than You Do For Them

Wetlands protect shorelines -- and Maryland acts to protect them from sea level rise 

Aired on Yale Climate Connections January 11, 2016.

WBEZ Teasers

Written, scored, and produced by Justin Bull for broadcast on WBEZ.

WBEZ Live Events

Get a WBEZ Podcast Passport here.

More about Filmspotting Live here.


Listen to the season 2 finale of PleasureTown here.

Listen to the story of the Cintamani Stone here.

Curious City

Listen to Curious City's investigation of Chicago's cycling laws here.

Listen to Curious City's report on Wrigley Field's iconic scoreboard here.


Listen to Filmspotting's review of the year 2015 here.

Listen to Filmspotting's analysis of the top films of 1990 here.

Note: Filmspotting promos were written by show hosts Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen.

My Chicago Blues

From WBEZ Chicago 91.5 FM, you can hear the blues on every side of town. This is Shannon Cason's first story from The Moth StorySLAM. The theme was "Neighborhoods." Also, it's one of his first Homemade Stories episodes, re-recorded and remixed for the season finale.

Story by Shannon Cason (
Production by Justin Bull

A Simple Honest Story

From WBEZ Chicago 91.5 FM, the challenges and reflections of going back home ... and starting over. A personal and raw story highlighting a move home to Detroit from Chicago.

Story by Shannon Cason (
Production by Justin Bull  

Musical Theatre & A Special Announcement

From WBEZ Chicago 91.5 FM, it's General Admission. This week, the guys talk to Bethany Thomas, a master vocalist from Chicago who performs regularly as a musical theatre performer but also in clubs, bars and backrooms all over town. And stay tuned to the end of the episode for a special announcement about the future of the show.

This is an episode about how to prepare a song, what it takes to be a gigging musician and why artists never leave Chicago.

Hosted by Tyler Greene and Don Hall (
Guest Bethany Thomas
Production by Justin Bull

Art for Social Change

From WBEZ Chicago 91.5, it's General Admission. This week, Tyler and Don speak with Collaboraction Theatre's Anthony Moseley about his part in the invention of Crime Scene, a performance project about gun violence in Chicago. The guys also talk about what it's like to have a family as an artist and how mentoring young people works for Anthony.

This episode is about changing society with art, responding to unfolding history and balancing family with work.

Hosted by Tyler Greene and Don Hall (
Guest Anthony Moseley (
Production by Justin Bull and Joe DeCeault

Go See Godspell!

The Woods Hole Theater Company brings a new production of Godspell to the Woods Hole Community Hall from June 11 through June 27.