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It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Author: NPR

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Each week, Sam Sanders 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.
345 Episodes
When the biggest news stories happen all at once, it's easy to miss what each of them really means. Since Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last week, there have been questions about who will replace her and what it means for the court. Sam talks to Slate's Mark Joseph Stern about the Supreme Court's history and what recent discussions get wrong. Then, Democrats and progressives brought in massive fundraising dollars in the days after Justice Ginsburg's death. Sam chats with Julie Bykowicz of the Wall Street Journal about what all that money means. Finally, Sam talks to Tina Vasquez of Prism about the forced sterilization of immigrants in a Georgia detention center, and why it's important to see the bigger picture.Follow us at Email us at
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last week at the age of 87. The conversation has quickly moved to the politics around her replacement, but what kind of legacy did she leave? In the award-winning documentary RBG, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West chronicle the life of Ginsburg, from her rise to the judicial branch to becoming the 'Notorious RBG.' NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg also joins this encore conversation with Sam, Betsy, and Julie.
Coronavirus And Teachers

Coronavirus And Teachers


This school year is proving to be unlike any other. Teaching might be a nightmare in schools doing hybrid learning, a success for those doing virtual learning, or vice versa. It all depends on which school district you're in and what resources and funding you might be able to access. So what's the experience been like so far for the teachers trying to make school happen?
The movie industry is hurting. Most theaters in the U.S. are still shut down, and who knows when—or if—audiences will pack into theaters again. Adam B. Vary and Angelique Jackson of Variety talk about the state of the movie industry and how it's adapted, for better or worse, in this pandemic. Also, Sam talks to actor LeVar Burton about reading, why we like being read to, what he really wanted you to learn from Reading Rainbow, and the latest season of his podcast LeVar Burton Reads.Follow us at Email us at
Larry Wilmore has a resume that could rival pretty much anyone's in Hollywood. Name a show and he probably had his hands in it. He created The Bernie Mac Show, co-created Insecure, wrote for shows like In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Office, and served as the "Senior Black Correspondent" on The Daily Show. He also had his own late night show called The Nightly Show.Now, Wilmore is back in the hosting chair with a new show on the NBC streaming service Peacock. Sam and Wilmore chat about starting a new show from scratch in a pandemic, deconstructing 2020, and why that one episode of The Office probably wouldn't fly today.
The smoke, the flames, the creepy orange and red skies. It's fire season out west and it's already one for the books. Sam talks a resident of Napa County, CA, who had to flee her home because of the fires. Then he's joined by New York Times opinion writer Farhad Manjoo, who is convinced this is the end of California as we know it. Finally, comedian and SNL writer Sam Jay talks about her new Netflix special 3 O'Clock in the Morning.
Poet Claudia Rankine is back with a new book called Just Us: An American Conversation. Much like her acclaimed 2014 book of poetry, Citizen: An American Lyric, her new volume offers an unflinching examination of race and racism in the United States — this time in conversations with friends and strangers. Guest host Audie Cornish talks to Rankine about what she learned about herself and others in these conversations, why she doesn't mind educating others about race, and how we move forward together in tough times.Follow us: Email us:
Guest host Elise Hu looks at how the pandemic has exacerbated existing problems when it comes to the care of small children. A Massachusetts childcare center owner shares her story about reopening, while a public policy professor talks about the difficult choices women often have to make between their careers and caregiving. Also, a look at how mukbang and true crime collide in the world of Stephanie Soo, a YouTube star and host of the Rotten Mango podcast.
Sam revisits his 2017 chat with Bill Nye the Science Guy. They discuss climate change (and climate change deniers), how Nye got his start in TV, and whether fame has changed him, for better or worse.
A special bonus feed drop from the KQED podcast Truth Be Told, hosted by Tonya Mosley. A conversation about parenting during the pandemic — there's no right way to do it. Tonya and two Wise Ones, Nancy Redd, author and mother, and Wajahat Ali, New York Times contributor and father, answer questions about parenting during this tricky time.
This week we're talking protests, both old and new. On Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks players refused to play their NBA playoff game in protest of racial injustice. Other pro athletes in the NBA, WNBA and more also walked off the job. Sam talks it out with Clinton Yates, columnist for The Undefeated. Then, we take it back 50 years to the Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles on August 29, 1970. That march and rally against the Vietnam War ended in 200 arrests, many injuries, and three deaths, including journalist Rubén Salazar. It's Been a Minute producer Andrea Gutierrez shares a personal story about it.Follow us: Email us:
Billy Porter is a force to be reckoned with. A Tony Award-winning Broadway performer. A fashion icon with unforgettable red carpet looks. An Emmy Award-winning actor (with another nomination under his belt this year). Currently, Porter stars in the acclaimed FX show Pose, all about New York's underground ball culture in the 80s and 90s. It's also takes place during the height of the HIV-AIDS crisis.Sam talks to Porter about the parallels between that crisis and the one we're living in today, about growing up in the church, and why — despite everything that's happened this year — love will always win.
Everyone's talking about obstacles to voting this year, from the post office to the pandemic. Sam talks with NPR's Miles Parks about how everything's supposed to work with the election in November. Then, Sam calls up historian Martha S. Jones, author of the forthcoming book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All. They talk about why voting looks the way it does even in a normal cycle, and what the U.S. Constitution actually says about voting. Plus, Sam talks with comedian Robin Thede, creator and showrunner of A Black Lady Sketch Show, which is nominated for three Emmys this year. They talk about her long career in comedy, which includes her time as head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and as host of The Rundown with Robin Thede, and play the game Who Said That.Follow us: Email us:
We're in the homestretch of the 2020 presidential election campaign. Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Democrats have their national convention this week, Republicans next week, and each party's candidate is hoping to energize their voter base. Sam talks to The Atlantic's McKay Coppins about Donald Trump's base and how his campaign's digital efforts have evolved since 2016. Then NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid turns the focus to Biden's eclectic coalition of voters — who include not only a growing number of Black and brown voters, but also white, college-educated suburban voters — and who have one goal in common: to defeat Trump in November.
Home sales are up, but the number of people facing evictions is also up. Sam talks to The Indicator's Stacey Vanek Smith and Cardiff Garcia about the good and bad news of the housing market in a pandemic. Then, TikTok is massively popular around the world, but now it's under fire from the Trump Administration due to national security concerns. We hear from NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn about the latest on the social media upstart and what a proposed ban has to do with China and user data.Follow us: Email us:
The Rise of Netflix

The Rise of Netflix


One of the few companies doing well during this pandemic is Netflix. In the last few months, the streaming service has seen a huge uptick in new subscribers. Sam talks to Peter Kafka and Rani Molla, co-hosts of the podcast Land of the Giants, about the Netflix effect — how it got to where it is today, its win over Blockbuster, and the one TV show that launched a thousand binges (figuratively speaking).
Sam revisits his chat with Regina King from 2019 after the actress' recent Emmy nomination for her performance on the HBO series Watchmen. In this encore interview, King talks about why she gravitates toward work that deals with race and policing, why she's still proud to call herself an American and why that also means demanding things to get a lot better than they are now.
"Karen" is not just a name. It's also a persona, an attitude, a label for a certain type of white woman determined to get what she wants—especially at the expense of Black people. Karens are part of a long lineage going back at least a couple centuries. This week we share an episode from Code Switch about the origins of "Karen" as an archetype, who her ancestors were, and why such a label even exists.
A special bonus feed drop from The Los Angeles Times podcast Asian Enough: A conversation with Top Chef host, model and writer Padma Lakshmi about growing up Indian American in the San Gabriel Valley, cultural appropriation vs. appreciation in food, and her new Hulu show Taste the Nation.
Should I wear a mask while running? How often should I wipe down my phone? Can I say hello to other people's dogs? Our listeners had questions about coronavirus, we have answers. Sam is joined by Short Wave host Maddie Sofia to dig into the science behind some of the decisions we have to make about everyday encounters in this pandemic. Then, Sam is all caught up in the buzz around Netflix's Indian Matchmaking, and he calls up journalist and former It's Been a Minute intern Hafsa Fathima to break it down.Follow us: Email us:
Comments (28)


if Texan teachers strike their teaching licenses can be revoked? that doesn't seem right

Sep 25th

Maria Ray

So timely!! And so thoughtfully said!!!

Sep 13th

Maria Ray


Aug 28th
Reply (1)

Adriano Chiaretta

Totally agree on shaving your own head.

Aug 4th

muffen jr

I want so BADLY to hear the unbleeped version of this episode.

Jun 30th

Ntete Bassey Duke

such a rollercoaster of emotions episode

Jun 19th

Jes L Schultz

I wonder what history lessons you may have about what the big upperclass to rich America have done to keep the lower-lower middle classes quiet and happily pegged/immobilized .

Jun 12th

Arielle Niss

Love what you do with this show, Sam! Thank you for producing and reporting this.

Jun 10th

Xavier Doc Jenkins

Andrew Glouberman

Mar 11th

Sam 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
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