Podcast Idea: Why?

A podcast that recaptures childhood curiosity to teach us about the world.

Description: Every parent or babysitter has stumbled into the “why” trap before. You know the one, where the kid (or sometimes adult) just keeps asking “why” and your explanations get more and more challenging until you stop or often land at “because that’s the way it is!” But why? (One group found that preschoolers ask 73 questions a day.) This podcast is a return to childhood, but this time with less scolding and crying. Why do things work the way they do? Each episode host Charlie Jane Anders leads an expert down a series of “why’s” and help us understand the world better.

Host: Charlie Jane Anders, who is charming as heck and so good at wondering about the world.*

Executive Producer: Rose Eveleth**

Comps: Explain Like I’m Five meets Five Levels. But Why? for adults and taking the whole premise way more literally. Really this should just be a segment on a science podcast that does bits. Like “yes yes no” but for some fictional science show. Or a recurring segment on Short Wave.

Sample Episode 1: Why do cats have fur? Because they need to stay warm. Why? Because if they get too cold they’ll die. Why? Why? Why? On this episode, our why chain leads Charlie Jane* and her guest Dr. Natalia Borrego* to interesting insights about evolution, death, cold storage, warm blood, and why exactly fur is a better way to stay warm than scales or feathers.

Sample Episode 2: Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Because they went extinct? Why? Well we’re not sure but we think an asteroid killed them. Why? Why? Why? On this episode Dr. Pincelli Hull* takes us to the origin of asteroids, where they come from, how likely they are to wipe US out and why a big rock was able to kill so many creatures.

Audience: Nerds who are curious about the world and like to dig into ideas and topics. People who are sometimes afraid to ask questions they think might seem stupid (like, “why?”) but really do want to know the answers!

If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.

Bonus Podcast From Twitter

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it. If you don’t know how, reply to this newsletter and I’ll make it happen.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas.