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WNYC Studios Listen Lounge


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WNYC Studios Listen Lounge


What's a Listen Lounge?

A Listen Lounge is your chance to pick a WNYC Studios podcast about a topic that matters to you and use it to lead a meaningful discussion with your peers.

How do I lead a Listen Lounge? 

It's easy! Download our Listen Lounge guide packet and fill out the sign up survey below.

Who can I contact to learn more about WNYC Studios Listen Lounges? 

Email Shannon McMahon: smcmahon@wnyc.org for any questions that aren’t covered in the packet or unique Listen Lounge ideas you have. WNYC Studios is here to help you create the best experience possible!

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Suggested Episodes


Suggested Episodes


 

Suggested Listen Lounge Episodes

Below you can find suggested episodes and discussion questions for your own Listen Lounge. If you don't find your favorite here, head to the WNYC Studios Homepage for more options

 
 
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Death sex & money
"stop calling me homeless VALEDICTORIAN"
Length: 22 minutes
language/content advisory: no

A year and a half ago, Rashema Melson attracted attention after she graduated at the top of her high school class in Washington, D.C., and earned a full scholarship to Georgetown while living in a homeless shelter. Halfway through her sophomore year, she says she still gets recognized as “the homeless valedictorian.” She says people stop her for pictures, and strangers even send her donations. But Melson’s life didn’t change overnight. She visits her mom and her brother in their apartment across town where they've moved since leaving the shelter. While her new classmates are busy partying and enjoying life away from home, she says she's stayed focused on what got her here: working hard. The pressure she feels to succeed, though, can be weighing. Rashema told DSM about how she's considered dropping out, the distance she feels between herself and her classmates, and why the one thing she's not afraid of is growing apart from her family.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Was there ever a time you felt ostracized by your peers? How did you handle it and how would you recommend others handle it?
  • Have you ever felt so much pressure to succeed that it inhibited you in other areas of your life? How did you cope?
  • Do you think we should talk more openly about mental health issues? Why or why not?
  • Do you think homelessness is being addressed adequately in NYC, or where you live? If you feel comfortable, can you share with the group if you’ve had any personal experiences with homelessness and how it impacted you and those in your life?
 
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DEATH SEX & MONEY
"SIBLINGHOOD"
LENGTH: 40 MINUTES
LANGUAGE/CONTENT ADVISORY: MILD - PHYSICAL/SEXUAL ABUSE DISCUSSION

For all the things we share with our brothers and sisters -- parents, genes, a childhood -- most of us have also wondered at one point or another how we could possibly be related to our siblings. As we grow up, it can be hard to update those relationships that were forged so long ago. More than 200 of you reached out to tell DSM your sibling stories. 

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever felt hindered by a sibling and their behavior?
  • If you are an only child, how has your experience varied from that of your peers with siblings? What do you enjoy and dislike about being an only child?
  • How do you feel about caring for your parents as they get older? How much thought have you given this to date?
  • Do you agree with Anna’s sister about middle children? Do you think they seek attention because they are forgotten? Why or why not?
  • If you’ve moved away from home, has your relationship with your family changed? What do you wish was different?
 
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Death sex & money
"dating was so hard, until it wasn't"
LENGTH: 22 minutes
language/content advisory: strong language in opening

"When I want it badly enough, I can...really steel myself and just be like, 'Don't freak out, just stay still, kiss them. Just do it!'" This is how Katie Heaney talked about her dating life back in 2014. She'd just published her confessional first book, Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date—a chronicling of her lifelong singledom until age 25. When she talked to DSM, the 27-year-old was also a virgin—something that made her really uncomfortable. "I really don't like it," she said. "And I also hate that I don’t like it. Because that feels like conceding that it bothers me and that I am susceptible to the opinions of others." Listening back to herself two years later, Katie winces. "I hear myself talk about all the fear and the dread and 'making myself,' and I'm just like, 'Ugh, you don't have to feel that way,'" she told DSM. Now 29, Katie says she's adjusted to life in New York and has also come to terms with the fact that she's gay. Despite her newfound comfort in her sexuality, Katie says she's still learning how to be in a relationship. "I thought that I had struggled so long to find [a relationship] that once I did, it would just be perfect or easy. And, you know, I was naive about what it really means to spend that much time with someone."

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Do you think there is a lot of pressure on college students and younger adults to have a significant other? Why or why not?
  • What would you say to Katie if you could talk to her during the time she was making herself go on dates that she didn’t enjoy and not fully coming to terms with her sexuality?
  • Have you ever had to discuss an issue you were uncomfortable with with your parents like Katie? How did they handle it? Do you have any tips?
 
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Death sex & money
"diane guerrero on debt & deportation"
LENGTH: 27 MINUTES
LANGUAGE/CONTENT ADVISORY: MILD - REFERENCES TO SELF-INJURY & SUBSTANCE ABUSE, strong language

Diane Guerrero was just 14 years old when she came home to an empty apartment. Her parents had been taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and would soon be deported to their native Colombia. "My family unit essentially died that day," she says. Now 29, Diane has recurring roles two successful television shows. She plays inmate Maritza Ramos on Orange is the New Black and smart aleck Lina on Jane the Virgin. But this success is new to Diane. Most of her teens and twenties were spent working any job she could get her hands on, dodging loan collectors, and keeping her family drama a secret. "You would never know that I was going through such sadness," she says, "I made sure that nobody would find me out." Keeping everything bottled up only worked for so long. In her junior year of college, she started to drink heavily and cut herself. "I used that as a coping mechanism," Diane reflects, "or a way to self-sabotage myself." Diane finally found a positive outlet in acting classes and her life is stable now, but her family is still in a precarious place. Her parents are still unable to enter the U.S., even as visitors. 

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Were you surprised at Diane’s childhood situation?
  • Do you know anyone in a similar situation? What would you change about the way our government addresses illegal immigration, or how would you help?
  • Do you think many college students have financial concerns similar to Diane’s? Is there anything we could do to change this?
  • Diane is very open about her mental health journey. Is this something you’d like to see covered more in the media today? Why or why not?
  • Do you have student loans? Are you worried about making payments after graduation?

 

 
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The New yorker radio hour
"lena dunham turns 30 and memorial day malaise"
segment length: 16 minutes
language/content advisory: no

In this episode, Lena Dunham joins David Remnick hours before her thirtieth birthday party, to face the angst of leaving her twenties behind.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Do you think Lena’s show is an accurate representation of millennial life in New York City? Why or why not?
  • What do you think about Lena Dunham’s friends who won’t speak out about supporting Hillary Clinton? Why do you think this is? Did you feel similarly to Lena or her friends during the 2016 Presidential Election?
  • Do you think Hillary Clinton faces unjust criticism as a woman? Why or why not?
  • Lena says Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are fully expressing themselves all the time and being rewarded but Hillary is not. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election? How did it impact you and your day to day life personally? What about your loved ones?
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The NEW YORKER RADIO HOUR
"julia louis-Dreyfus on the PRESIDENTIAL race, and malcolm gladwell on school shootings"
length: 13 minutes
language/content advisory: no

Julia talks about what she “heard and didn’t hear” when speaking to politicians, alluding to subtext in their conversations.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Do you think that individuals were honest with Julia? What do you think they didn’t share and why? Do you think our politicians should be more or less open?
  • Julia talks about an employee who overworks frequently in the beginning of the episode - do you think this is healthy and normal, or is it a dangerous norm in the U.S.?
  • Do you have faith and trust in our political system? Why or why not? Have you ever felt you’ve had to put on a persona around your peers the way that Julia does her show around fellow politicians?
  • How do you feel about the lack of female writers and actors on SNL when Julia was there? Do you think this has changed over the years?
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the new yorker radio hour
"lin-manuel miranda, marc maron, & the broads of broad city"
length of lin-manuel miranda segment: 18 miutes
length of broad city segment: 15 minutes
language/content advisory: mild - drug REFERENCES & sexual discussion

In this episode: stars of the stage, screen, and earbuds. Marc Maron tells Kelefa Sanneh why talking into a mic saved his life. The magazine’s TV critic, Emily Nussbaum, speaks with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer about their raunchy and joyful TV comedy “Broad City.” And Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of “Hamilton,” takes comfort in knowing that dirty politics are as old as America.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

Lin-Manuel Miranda Segment:

  • What do you think Lin-Manuel means when he says “most artists grow up in a world of benign neglect”?
  • Have you ever had to cut something from your own work that you didn’t want to? What was it and how did you feel afterward? Was your work better or worse because of this?
  • Do you think we’ll always be pushing for a more perfect union? Do you think we’ll always have these struggles, as Lin-Manuel says?

Broad City Segment:

  • It is interesting that Abbi and Ilana must reflect on past episodes as former versions of themselves. Have you noticed a lot of changes in yourself since beginning college?
  • Do you think that Ilana and Abbi are judged more than their male counterparts for the sexual content they’ve written into their show because they are women?
  • Do you anticipate that your early 20s will be as romantic as Ilana and Abbi say in terms of experiencing life? Why or why not?
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freakonomics
"aziz ansari needs another toothbrush"
length: 31 minutes
language/content advisory: no

Comedian, actor — and now, author, Aziz Ansari — answers FREAK-quently Asked Questions. 

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • Do you think that Aziz is right about dating today, that we are too overwhelmed with information and unable to make choices?
  • Do you agree with Aziz when he says that the internet is filled with mostly useless information? Has it been a distraction in your life? How? Aziz talks about having an issue with being photographed in NYC by strangers. What do you think of celebrity culture in the U.S.? Is it healthy to view people this way? Why or why not? 
  • Do you feel pressure to be on your phone or computer all the time? How has this impacted your life?
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freakonomics
"how to get more grit in your life"
length: 44 minutes
language/content advisory: no

Psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Find out how in this episode.

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think about the fact that Angela’s parents consistently told her that she was “no genius”? Have you experienced this kind of pressure from your family? How did it impact you?
  • Do you think you have grit as Angela defines it? How can you tell? What in your life have you been “gritty” about? What makes you stick with it? How many hours do you dedicate to it?
  • Bonus - take the Grit test with your peers. Where do you fall? Do you think this is an accurate reflection of yourself? Would you like to be grittier? Why or why not? What do you think is difficult about having grit? Can you share any personal examples?
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FREAKONMICS
"FAILURE IS YOUR FRIEND"
length: 31 minutes
language/content advisory: no

Why are so many people so reluctant to quit projects or jobs or relationships that have soured? One reason, Stephen Dubner argues, is that we tend to equate quitting with failure, and there’s a huge stigma attached to failure. But … should there be? In their new book Think Like a Freak, Dubner and Steven Levitt argue that perhaps we’re not thinking clearly about failure. Failure, they say, can be your friend:

Suggested Discussion Questions:

  • This episode talks about the achievements of NASA in relation to the 1986 space shuttle explosion - do you think perfectionism and a string of successes can be damaging? Has this ever happened in your own life? How?
  • Are you comfortable with failure? Do you think it really is necessary to grow?
  • When is a time that you failed that proves this theory to be true?
  • Do you believe that there truly is a general inclination to quit projects/relationships because we are afraid of failure?
  • Do you think overconfidence can ruin certain projects?
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Resources


Resources


Listen Lounge Resources

Below are some resources to help you plan your Listen Lounge.

sample EMAILS 

 

social media post templates

Listen lounge posters

 

ICEBREAKERS

listen lounge flyers

 

Discussion Tip Sheet

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How to download a podcast


How to download a podcast



New to podcasts? We’ve got you covered. You have a couple different options when it comes to getting your podcasts. You can either stream shows through websites like WNYC Studios, or you can download podcasts on your cell phone/tablet.  


To Download: 

If you have an Android:
1. Head to Google play
2. Download the Stitcher app
3. Search the name of the show you’d like to listen to
4. Click the plus sign (+) to add to your Favorites list
5. Click on your Favorites list
6. Click the gear in the upper right corner to make sure Stitcher downloads new episodes as they come out
7. You’ll receive new episodes of your favorite WNYC Studios podcasts every time they’re uploaded for free!

If you have an iPhone:
1. Search for the Podcasts app
2. Open the Podcasts app
3. Search the name of the show you’d like to listen to
4. Click on the show icon
5. Hit “subscribe”
6. You’ll receive new episodes of your favorite WNYC Studios podcasts every time they’re uploaded for free!


To Stream:

Visit the WNYC Studios homepage and click on the icon of the show you’d like to listen to. Once you’re on the show’s webpage, you’ll be able to stream directly from the website!