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It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
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It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Author: NPR

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A talk show with a heart. Each week, Sam interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.
280 Episodes
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has been rising in the polls. He's spent more than $450 million on ads, but faced a big challenge Wednesday in his first presidential debate. This week, Sam talks to two journalists who have covered Bloomberg for years. Rosie Gray, a reporter for Buzzfeed News, says that his lackluster debate performance shows that there is a limit to the power of money on the campaign trail. Matt Flegenheimer, a national political reporter for The New York Times, details how Bloomberg is using his wealth to run a very different campaign than his competitors. Then, Sam revisits his reporting from Oakland last year on the realities of young people living with gun violence every day.
R. Eric Thomas writes a column that is part news, part culture and part celebrity shade for But in his new book, "Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America," Thomas takes a look at his own life. He talks to Sam about his love of words, growing up as a gay black teenager and finding love in an unexpected place. Email the show at
The nation's first caucus and primary are in the rear-view mirror, and states around the country are second-guessing their election systems after the app used in the Iowa Caucus failed. Miles Parks, a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk, talks about how the state of Nevada is learning lessons from Iowa, including keeping the process slow so that results are certain. Libby Denkmann, senior politics reporter at member station KPCC, discusses how Los Angeles County is creating its own voting system — a hybrid of paper and electronic systems. Then, Sam talks with writer and architecture critic Kate Wagner about why a proposed rule from the Trump administration that would mandate "classical style" for new federal buildings is angering the design world.
Listen up music composition nerds and music lovers! In this episode Sam is joined by Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding, co-hosts of the podcast Switched On Pop. They break down what makes a song: why certain pop songs become ear worms and what their form and structure mean for the future of music. Answers to those questions and more that will leave you singing along. Sloan and Harding's recent book is called Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why It Matters.
The Oscars are Sunday and once again this year's nominees reflect an Academy that's still older, whiter, and more male. All five directing nominees are men, and 19 of 20 nominees for acting are white. Adam B. Vary, Senior Entertainment Writer for Variety, tells Sam the best-reviewed film of the year is "Parasite," from South Korea, which is up for Best Picture. But none of its cast were singled out for awards. Audrey Cleo Yap, host of Daily Variety on, says that lack of notice for Asian actors is consistent with past Academy behavior. She also notes the few film industry insiders who are pushing Hollywood to open up — but says most are too fearful to speak out. Sam also talks with two Virginia Commonwealth University political science students who traveled with their class to New Hampshire to observe and participate in the state's presidential primary activities. They're featured the New Hampshire Public Radio podcast Stranglehold. They asked why such an overwhelmingly white state should remain the first to hold a primary — when it doesn't reflect the rest of the nation.
Roy Wood Jr. has been a comedian since he was 19. He's a correspondent for 'The Daily Show with Trevor Noah' and has two Comedy Central specials under his belt. Wood talks to Sam about his career, how to be funny in a changing political climate, and a project he's working on that was inspired by a run-in with the law. Email the show at
It's been a busy week in news. Australia's capital Canberra is menaced by wildfires and has declared a state of emergency. And the fast spread of the coronavirus has also led to racist comments and press coverage about Asian food and Asian-American eating habits. Sam talks about these stories with panelists Julie Cart, a reporter for CalMatters and Andrew Ti, host of the podcast Yo, Is This Racist? and writer for the ABC series Mixed-ish. Then sports writer Jemele Hill of the Atlantic reflects on basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash this past week. Sam asks how and when we should acknowledge the good and bad sides of someone's life after a sudden death.
Randee St. Nicholas met Prince for the first time in 1991, when she was hired to do their first shoot together. From there she captured some of his highest moments doing sold out shows across the world, to his most vulnerable, in hotel rooms late at night. Randee recalls her memorable relationship with Prince that spanned years and led to countless memories. She's published her photos of the iconic singer in a new book called My Name Is Prince.
As President Trump's impeachment trial starts in the Senate, we look to some ongoing stories to recap the week in news. An NPR investigation finds a government agency reported deeply disturbing housing and health conditions in ICE facilities holding people seeking asylum. And the Supreme Court opens up a pathway for civil lawsuits over lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan. Plus, a conversation about a new Hillary Clinton documentary, and her comments on Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders. Sam is joined by Tom Dreisbach, investigative reporter for NPR's Embedded podcast, and Vanessa Romo, NPR breaking news reporter.
NPR Code Switch correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates steps in for Sam. She is joined by best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, who has written popular books like Good In Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes over the past two decades. Weiner talks about her latest novel, Mrs. Everything, the importance of having plus-size characters in books and speaking out against sexism.
Guest host Elise Hu steps in again for Sam this week, this time from member station KQED in San Francisco. She's joined by Nitasha Tiku, tech culture reporter at the Washington Post, and Farhad Manjoo, an opinion columnist at The New York Times who focuses on technology and culture. They talk about news from Google and Apple, surveillance, and the role big tech's products play in geopolitics. Plus, the creative director of VOGUE Italia explains why the latest issue of the magazine contains no photos.
One of Broadway's hottest tickets last year was a play with no big-name actors by a 30-year-old black queer writer. Jeremy O. Harris talks to Sam about poking the bear that is Broadway, and whether he thinks he'll be embraced there long-term. Email the show at
Elise Hu steps in for Sam this week, from member station WBEZ in Chicago. She's joined by NPR's Peter Sagal, host of 'Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!', and Greta Johnsen of WBEZ's 'Nerdette' podcast. They discuss Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer now on trial in New York for sex crimes. Plus, an Iranian-American writer shares her perspective on decades of disputes between Iran and the U.S. Also, Peter tries to get off Twitter.
You may know Jad Abumrad as the host of WNYC's 'Radiolab.' He tells Sam why he created another podcast, Dolly Parton's America, examining the life and work of music legend Dolly Parton. Jad himself grew up in Nashville, where his physician father, a Lebanese immigrant, struck up an unlikely friendship with the singer. Jad uses this podcast to ask what divides us, and how we can transcend those divides like Dolly does. Maybe. Email the show at
Wondering how to get a solid start on your New Year's resolution? Whether you're hoping to get your finances in better shape or change your diet, the experts at NPR's 'Life Kit' have some advice that can help. NPR correspondent Chris Arnold and NPR senior editor and correspondent Maria Godoy join Sam Sanders as they dig into how to make those New Year's resolutions stick and how to have a relaxing weekend.
'Silicon Valley' and 'Crazy Rich Asians' star Jimmy O. Yang spoke to Sam in 2018 about his book 'How To American: An Immigrant's Guide To Disappointing Your Parents.' Email the show at
On this special episode, Sam Sanders revisits his 2019 conversations with two writers whose books he loved: Candice Carty-Williams, author of 'Queenie,' and Angie Thomas, author of the books, 'On The Come Up' and 'The Hate U Give.' Candice Carty-Williams' 'Queenie' has been called "the black 'Bridget Jones' Diary" and centers around a 25-year-old woman going through the awkwardness of breakups, love and life. Angie Thomas's 'On The Come Up' chronicles the story of a young girl who wants to be a rapper and whose song goes viral in an unexpected way.
Last Christmas PJ Morton released 'Christmas With PJ.' He and Sam spoke about putting new twists on holiday classics, and what his father — a legendary gospel singer and preacher — taught him about music. Email the show at
There were large-scale protests in countries across the globe the year. What do they signify about our current cultural moment? Plus a look back at the state of democracy in the United States and a dive into China's increasing influence in the U.S. entertainment industry. Sam is joined by NPR political editor Ron Elving and host of NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
The NBC sitcom 'Friends' has been around for 25 years, and its popularity endures. Netflix says 'Friends' was the second most popular show on its streaming platform this year, based on minutes watched, and the show has also struck a chord with a younger generation. What is it about 'Friends' that resonates with viewers, and what does it say about us? Sam Sanders spoke to listeners, reporters and a critic to find out what it is that people love — and despise — about Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross.
Comments (18)

Sarah Yeagle

"Scooters are bad, but people are good." 😊

Feb 22nd


"Anyway, this has been everything I wanted it to be." 🤣🤣🤣 This was fun to listen to. (:

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

Jennifer Ingram


Nov 16th


Most campus sexual assaults are by people the victim knows not strangers and also occur outside of frat parties. It's also not like drinking stops after college but we clearly don't use that as the scapegoat for sexual assault elsewhere. Drinking is a factor but it is not the cause and going after that won't magically stop assault. A lot of people drink and the majority do not assault someone while doing so. I really don't think the presentation of the issue by Gladwell was accurate and quite frankly it did sound like victim blaming not "victim prevention."

Sep 18th

Xavier Doc Jenkins

I need that “what” sound byte as a text tone.

Aug 24th


if the trans Victoria secret model is hot, I'm sure it'll get some views but guaranteed if Victoria's secret keeps going down this ridiculous Woke path and think the majority of their viewers of the show want to see plus size models and trans people who do not come off as well as they'd like, they will go either out of business or their catwalk show will be cancelled. these are facts.

Aug 11th

Cheng Zhang-Stoddard

Love this talented man!

Apr 10th

Lizzie Sullivan

Thank you for the trigger/content warning right up front. I appreciate it.

Mar 12th

Dani Vasquez

Sam is so tuned in. I love that he learns the language needed to help him connect to each person that he interviews. He brings in techniques that are probably representative of his training and education while maintaining an air of authenticity. This interview is no exception. Thanks for turning me on to artists that are new to me in a way that makes me feel like I've been listening to them for a while.

Feb 22nd

Isaac Sanchez

one of my favorite podcasts. the tone is just right with a good balance of intellect and blissful pop culture ignorance. keep up the good work you guys!

Jan 12th

Victoria Rose

I hire day workers for 20 an hour so I could work for that too. and if I need some Brawn I could higher one of those heavy lifting types for some Things. does that sound doable?

Dec 26th

Anna Linnell

I'm challenging your declaration of the "youngest person elected to congress". Check it out, Abby Finkenaur from Iowa's first congressional district is just 29.

Nov 17th

Danica Hay-Skattum

please be sure to talk about the sexual harassment of males especially when talking about servers. Women can be just as out of line with comments and unwanted touching of males but males are, in my opinion, even more so chastised for speaking up against it!!

Oct 2nd

jmike s

thanks so much for the Updatez I gvxkmt pzx I'm looking hey mang oh Chris k

Sep 21st

Pizza Monster

"American culture borrows from other cultures, never seen the reverse in a movie". Really? Have you been outside of the US? The whole Hollywood propaganda machine pushed American culture down the world's throat. What the hell are you talking about???

Aug 24th

Cliff Bernard

this episode isn't downloading

Jan 27th

Rachael Ma

Data is powerful, but having every piece of data tracked by Facebook is certainly scary.

Oct 12th
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