"BETA" features playful and provocative profiles of the people and works changing our world through arts, pop culture and technology. The program is hosted by Doug Gordon and airs Saturdays at 9 a.m. on the NPR News & Classical Network and 11 a.m. on The Ideas Network.
Episode 317: Mike Drucker, Rose Glass, Amy Gentry
Director Rose Glass on her critically-acclaimed debut film, "Saint Maud." Also, Amy Gentry on her propulsive crime novel, "Bad Habits." And comedian Mike Drucker tells us why he wrote a book about the landmark video game, "Silent Hill 2."
Episode 411: Ishmael Reed, Megan Abbott, Kristen Radtke
Renaissance man Ishmael Reed reflects on his prolific career. Also, crime maestro Megan Abbott gets to the "pointe" about her novel, "The Turnout," which is set in the competitive world of ballet. And author/artist Kristen Radtke on the deep impacts of loneliness in America.
Episode 316: George Saunders, "The Last Blockbuster," Brandy Jensen
The acclaimed author George Saunders shares some life lessons from 19 th -century Russian writers like Chekhov and Tolstoy. We'll also meet the creators of the documentary, "The Last Blockbuster." And Twitter star Brandy Jensen talks about turning her life mistakes into an advice column.
Episode 410: "Midnight Cowboy," Tom Scharpling, Jim Jarmusch, and Dating App Dread
Author Glenn Frankel on the groundbreaking movie, "Midnight Cowboy." Also, author and filmmaker Nancy Jo Sales reveals the darker side of dating apps. Plus comedian Tom Scharpling on his touching memoir and a look at the indie film maestro Jim Jarmusch.
Episode 315: Martin Amis, Mateo Askaripour, The Firesign Theatre
Mateo Askaripour on his debut novel, "Black Buck," about a Black salesman on a mission. Also, the surreal comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre talk about their first record in 35 years. And acclaimed British novelist Martin Amis on his autobiographical novel, "Inside Story."
Episode 409: Paula Poundstone, Ron Friedman, Fabian Nicieza
Comedian Paula Poundstone on how she coped with the COVID pandemic and why she loves visiting Wisconsin. Also, author Ron Friedman shares the secret to success – reverse engineering. And Deadpool creator Fabian Nicieza pivots from comic books to fiction with his murder mystery, “Suburban Dicks.”
My favorite arts and culture podcast - insightful questions
Excellent way to discover new artists (authors, musicians, filmmakers) and gain novel insights about artists you might already know. Doug Gordon does his research and I’m often inspired to look up more about the guests and related topics after the show. The conversations are surprisingly in depth within a short amount of time and I find myself listening more than once Ito soak in the multifaceted content. The well-placed and playful sound clips really increase the entertainment value and make the show fun. I also appreciate the way Gordon treats each guest with kindness and curiosity— he manages to cover edgy topics without being cynical or pretentious. I’m a big fan.
Smart and engaging
Beta is a truly unique show from WPR. Fun and relevant, beta balances playful banter with deep discussions with diverse guests. This is my favorite look at art and culture today from the perspective of creators themselves
Beta is the Alpha in my book!
Playful and smart, quirky and complex- I so enjoy Beta! The topics and interviews are wide ranging. The conversations, questions, and quips show Doug Gordon’s interest and preparation for his guests. I find myself thinking about the episodes long after I listen to them, and am often inspired to dig even further to learn more about the historical event, book, comedian, podcast, etc. that was highlighted. I like that you can tune in during the middle of an episode to catch the next segment, and you also don’t have to listen to the episodes in any order. Even the theme song is catchy! Kudos to WPR for supporting this fun and innovative program.