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Inside Podcasting (Aug 14th, 2017)

NPR's new "Rough Translation" podcast offers "familiar conversations in unfamiliar territories." Upcoming examples include an explanation why, in Afghanistan, a tear shed by the president was political theater that sent "shock waves" across the country; a story about a "flirt coach" who helps a Syrian refugee understand how dating and romance works in Berlin; and a look at a Ukranian team that's slaving away at trying to invent a "vaccine" for fake news. The premiere episode, out now, deals with a national commission of judges in Brazil who have been chosen to determine how dark a person's skin must be for them to be considered "black." – NPR

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"Steal the Stars" is a new sci-fi drama from Tor Books offshoot Tor Labs. The 14-episode "sci fi/romance" hybrid focuses on protagonist Dakota Prentiss, security chief for a secret government compound (the like of which, certainly since "The X-FIles," has seemed more and more like the "haunted house" of modern times.) Like radio shows from the classic pre-TV era, and unlike most modern dramatic podcasts, the show features a relatively enormous cast of 24, all of whom appear in the very first scene. And like those old shows, "Steal the Stars" does an expert job of keeping the action clear. The style adds thrilling dimension and scope to the average podcast drama, according to Ars Technica's Steven Strom. – ARS TECHNICA

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Jackie Biederman, of Woodbury, Minnesota, is running a podcast about "social entrepreneurs" out of her bedroom closet. “It’s the quietest place in the house with a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old,” Biderman said. She says she's able to conduct the interviews she needs via Skype at night or on weekends. Her podcast, "Changemaker," was inspired by the "This American Life" model of simply letting interesting people tell their stories. Biederman's show is all about social entrepreneurs, the people she calls "visionaries," who work on coming up with products or services to help "mitigate social maladies." The most recent episode, "Belonging," is about the phenomenon where some brands inspire deep name-brand loyalty, like Apple or Harley-Davidson. – WOODBURY BULLETIN

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Uproxx's "Celebration Rock" podcast looks at 1987, which they call "one of the greatest years in rock history." Acclaimed hit albums released that year included Prince's "Sign O' The Times," U2's "The Joshua Tree," Michael Jackson's "Bad," George Michael's "Faith," and Def Leppard's "Hysteria." Even something as relatively major as Bruce Springsteen's critically-lauded "Tunnel of Love," also from '87, can't compete with that group. And there was also a major surge forward that year for what was known as "college rock" in those days, with major albums from The Cure, The Smiths, The Replacements, and Depeche Mode all proving pivotal to the artists' careers. Host Stephen Hyden talks to Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt about Hiatt's "crackpot" theory that all years ending in "7" see the release of major pop-cultural landmarks. – UPROXX

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Bobby Moynihan talks to USA Today's "Mothership Podcast" about his voice work as Louie (of Huey, Dewey, and Louie fame) on the upcoming reboot of Disney's "DuckTales." The well-remembered original 1987 series ran for four seasons, and took as its direct inspiration the beloved series of Uncle Scrooge-centric comic books written and drawn by the legendary Carl Barks for Dell comics starting in the early 1940s (and which also inspired the opening sequence of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," not that you asked.) Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Moynihan talks about his "DuckTales" gig, his nine years on SNL, and being a new dad. – USAT

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PODCAST SPOTLIGHT

Most people aren’t interested in the idea of a sleepless night, but when it’s in the name of horror, it’s worth it once in a while. That’s what some quickly realized in 2010 when the “No Sleep” subreddit emerged on Reddit.com. Fast-forward to 2017, and you have a podcast dedicated to all things nightmare-inspiring.

But let’s back up for a moment. In order to understand the podcast, it’s important to grasp the concept of “No Sleep.” For those who haven’t been to this corner of the internet yet, it’s a forum-style page where people – presumably those who’re having trouble falling asleep – post creepy stories that’ll keep you wide awake. Member Matt Hansen is responsible for proposing a podcast on the concept, and in 2011, his idea came to fruition.

David Cummings now produces and hosts “The No Sleep Podcast,” which is in its ninth season. With some volunteer help from Redditors, he delivers creepy stories from the darkest corners of the Web every week. Each episode features a handful of different stories with their own quirks, and it isn’t all just about ghouls and goblins. As readers of the “No Sleep” subreddit will tell you, some of the best spine-tingling chills can come from ordinary occurrences – creaky floorboards, unexplained knocks, mumbled voices.

“The No Sleep Podcast” takes advantage of some of the same tactics used by other podcasters in the horror arena, namely voice actors and campy sound effects. But if you can get past the clichéd production and lose yourself in the stories, it makes for an unusually frightening endeavor.

– @kavermes

THE BASICS
Title: "The No Sleep Podcast"
Episodes Available: 218
Episode Length: 30 mins
Where to Download: stitcher; iTunes
Hosts: David Cummings

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