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Author: WBEZ Chicago

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WBEZ's critically-acclaimed bio-podcast series explores how an icon is made. Providing an unmatched view from the beginning, all the way to the their rise to the top.
42 Episodes
Former President Barack Obama recently spoke with Aarti Shahani, host of WBEZ's Art of Power podcast, about masculinity in the post-Donald Trump era. Obama said society has made progress in recognizing the most toxic elements of bad behavior by men. But now he wants to flip the focus. “What are the positive values that we're trying to instill in our boys?” he said. “Showing compassion is not weakness. Listening is as important as talking.” We're bringing you this exclusive interview with the former president as a bonus to the Making Obama podcast series. Hear the former president explain his experience balancing ambition with family obligations and how he wants to expand the definition of what it means to be a man. And if you like what you hear, subscribe to WBEZ's Art of Power podcast for more conversations with people who have changed the world.
From the creators of Making Oprah, Obama and Beyoncé, WBEZ brings you a new season of its hit bio-podcast series, Making. With new host Brandon Pope, each episode tells the origin story of a different iconic Black figure. Through inner circle interviews and exclusive archival tape, this series looks at Serena Williams, Kanye West, Maya Angelou and many more. The years before they skyrocketed to success – the making years.
Hyphy Kids Got Trauma is an exploration of a transformative year in Bay Area music history, 2006, through the eyes and ears of Pendarvis Harshaw. A college student and burgeoning journalist at the time, Pendarvis navigates the shifting tides of a culture in transition, all set to the seminal sounds of the Bay Area’s “Hyphy Movement.” an era fueled by uptempo, bass-heavy songs with a free and fun-loving vibe. But 2006 also marked the second highest homicide total Oakland has ever seen. The violence was compounded by drugs, over-policing, the onset of gentrification, and the ongoing War On Terror. The wounds that occurred almost twenty years ago still impact the adults of the Bay Area today. Hyphy kids got trauma, and this is why. Listen to the whole series today on Rightnowish.
Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution is a public radio podcast -- about a daytime talk show. This fall marks 30 years since the national debut of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Be the first to hear a sneak peek of WBEZ’s three-part series featuring interviews with Winfrey, her onetime ratings rival Phil Donahue, former producers and staffers, and TV executives.
It was 30 years ago this fall that Oprah Winfrey first said “hellooooo” to a national audience. By the show’s finale in 2011, it was aired in 145 countries and watched by more than 40 million viewers a week in the U.S. alone. Today’s daytime hosts like Ellen and Dr. Oz? They now average only about a tenth of that. If Oprah mentioned a book title, it became a best-seller. She landed the interviews that no one else could get. Her message of spirituality and empowerment influenced millions. With an hourlong daytime TV show, Oprah built a powerful brand. She made billions. And, as CNN, USA Today, Forbes and Time Magazine all proclaimed, she became the most powerful woman in America. In the first of a three-part podcast series, Oprah and former producers talk with WBEZ's Jenn White about the early, scrappy days of the program. Phil Donahue reflects on Oprah's entry into the daytime talk landscape that he once dominated. Plus, the podcast revisits milestones from the 1980s, like the show's national debut, and some mixed feelings over the show's highest-rated episode ever.
In the second episode of Making Oprah, we explore how The Oprah Winfrey Show elevated itself out of the heap of trash TV and into a show that intentionally embraced spirituality and positivity. The early years of Oprah’s show often relied on sensational, tabloidy topics – cheating husbands, sexy clothes, and murderers. It was not yet the ‘Live Your Best Life’ Oprah we would come to know and love.  “It was during those shows where I just thought, ‘What are we doing?’ ” Oprah tells WBEZ’s Jenn White. “This is a platform that is speaking to people, and what are we saying?”  As the Oprah Winfrey Show reached maturity -- or at least, its college years -- the program conducted the on-air experiments that would allow this talk show to become something more than a talk show
Oprah 3: YOU GET A CAR!

Oprah 3: YOU GET A CAR!


In the show’s final decade, Oprah and her team staged massive spectacles of increasing grandiosity, from the infamous car giveaway to a 21,000-person flash mob that shut down part of Chicago. “It had become increasingly more difficult to top what you’d done the year before,” Oprah told WBEZ’s Jenn White. “I mean, to the point where we literally sat in a room saying ‘What about outer space?’ ” That’s what we look at now: Oprah living her life at the top, pushing the boundaries of what could be done with the world’s most powerful talk show, and why it all had to end after 25 years.
If you look at any image from the Oprah Winfrey Show, you can pretty much figure out what decade it’s from by looking at Oprah’s hairstyle. In this short bonus episode, host Jenn White talks to Oprah’s longtime stylist Andre Walker about the high stakes of doing the hair of the most watched woman on television.
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. In this 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.
In our final bonus installment, the Making Oprah production team revisits an extended interview with daytime talk show legend Phil Donahue. His pioneering show, Donahue, aired from 1967 to 1996 and laid the groundwork for Oprah’s program. It tackled heady, controversial issues - and landed frothy exclusives with A-list celebrities. Donahue also used his studio audience and callers in ways that were both innovative and intimate. Join host Jenn White, producer Colin McNulty, and executive producer Joel Meyer as they listen back to one of their favorite non-Oprah interview from the dozens of interviews conducted for Making Oprah. 
Former President Barack Obama — along with friends, mentors, and rivals — tells the story of his climb from Chicago to the national stage. Subscribe now and don’t miss the first episode on February 8.
Before he was the 44th President, Barack Obama worked as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. Hear how the city shaped his political ambitions.
When Barack Obama first came to Chicago, a political transformation was happening in the city. Hear how that change inspired him.
Former President Barack Obama won his first political seat in 1996. Hear what he had to learn, and the conflicts he faced, to get there.
In 2000, Barack Obama ran for Congress against a Chicago political legend. It became a contest about race and identity.
Obama 5: Up Or Out

Obama 5: Up Or Out


Former president Barack Obama has only lost one election in his life. It was in 2000, and that defeat set him on the course for his eventual U.S. Senate run. Making Obama is a production of listener-supported WBEZ Chicago. Support WBEZ and the future of podcasts like this at
Obama 6: Yes We Can!

Obama 6: Yes We Can!


Barack Obama burst onto the national stage during his U.S. Senate run. Hear how ambition and luck propelled him to Washington.
Just two and a half years after his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, Barack Obama announced he was running for president.
Trailer: Making Beyoncé

Trailer: Making Beyoncé


From the makers of Making Obama, WBEZ Chicago presents Making Beyoncé, a new three-part bio-podcast series that explores Beyoncé Knowles’ rise from local talent shows to global musical icon. Find episodes of Making Beyoncé right here beginning Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.
Beyoncé 1: Girls Tyme

Beyoncé 1: Girls Tyme


Before the Grammys, before the platinum records, before Destiny’s Child, there was just a shy girl growing up in Houston. We follow Beyoncé Knowles from the stages of local talent shows to her first crack at a record deal with the group Girls Tyme.
Comments (29)

Farhad Rad

#Mahsa_Amini #Nika_Shakarami #Sarina_Smailzade #Hadis_Najafi #Dictator_Governance #Protest #Iran #مهسا_امینی #نیکا_شاکرمی #حدیث_نجفی #سارینا_اسماعیل_زاده ✌️✌️✌️

Oct 9th



Jun 23rd

Lisa Lawson

10 NEON 20.18. GOD

Jan 18th

Lisa Lawson

10 NEON 20.18. GOD

Jan 18th

Arun Prasad


Oct 20th


this was fantastic, loved every minute of it! thanks!!!

Sep 20th

marvelous momo lol

lovely work. thanks for doing this. very educative.

Aug 2nd


Does this also detail how Obama lost dems a 1000 seats nationwide? Right after Hillary best present gop ever got. Keep propping up your god, libtards! Alex, I'll take MAGA for 8, please

Jul 10th
Reply (2)

Josh Belz

I always wondered how the worst President in the history of America was made

Jul 4th

NvT Cheft

20,000 bombs dropped on the heads of women and children, all while the American people are lied too daily. Worst 8 years since carter and lbj. And somehow this traitor is allowed to still have a voice in politics. If you can still stomach obama after all the truth has come out, then youre still part of the problem. I dont support any of the political parties, or politics for that matter, but if your perspective still stands behind this POS then you're still one of the useful idiots destroying our country for moral brownie points.

Jul 3rd
Reply (3)

Christopher LaFuria

What’s wrong with people that they have to take their rage to a podcast comments section? For crying out loud. Great production. I look forward to more!

Jun 28th
Reply (4)

Akhil Vasudev

This is broken from 42:00 onwards. I hope they fix it.

Mar 26th
Reply (2)

Aren Abraham

Very well done! Obama's story is so fascinating!!!!

Mar 26th

Matt Freight

Do Making Donald for Season 3!

Mar 8th
Reply (1)

Kristi Remkus

I miss Oprah, her positivity and thoughtfulness. We need more of her approach during this time of division. Thank you for this podcast, I wish there was more and more and more!

Feb 26th

Onini Suleman Timi


Nov 18th
Reply (1)
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