#542 : December 12, 2014

Wait - Do You Have The Map?

Stories about people feeling lost and trying to figure out how to move ahead: two brothers take a doomed road trip through through Mexico and a couple from radically different backgrounds draw up a contract for their unlikely romance.

#541 : December 5, 2014

Regrets, I've Had a Few

Every day we make mistakes, and most of the time we just ignore these failings and move forward. But every so often, there is one that makes us pause and take notice. This week, people struggling with those regrets — big and small — that take root and have to be dealt with.

#540 : November 21, 2014

A Front

Stories about people and places that are fronting in order to hide the truth. We visit a bizarre store in Milwaukee called Fearless Distributing, government checkpoints scattered on highways out west, and a front in a doctor's office.

#539 : November 7, 2014

The Leap

Most of us go from day to day just coasting on the status quo. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? But when routines just get too mundane or systems stop making sense, sometimes you just have to hold your breath…and jump. This week, stories of people who leap from their lives, their comfort zones…even through time.

#538 : October 17, 2014

Is This Working?

Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.

#537 : October 3, 2014

The Alibi

Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a bright teenager disappears after school one day. Six weeks later her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is arrested for her murder. He says he's innocent — though he can't remember what he was doing that afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School claims to know exactly where Adnan was. Trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found. This week features a pilot of our new podcast, Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig.

#536 : September 26, 2014

The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra

This week, an unprecedented look inside one of the most powerful, secretive institutions in the country. The NY Federal Reserve is supposed to monitor big banks and prevent another financial crisis. But when Carmen Segarra was hired, what she witnessed inside the Fed was so alarming that she bought a tiny recorder, and started secretly taping. ProPublica reports.

#535 : September 19, 2014

Origin Story 2014

This week we bring you little-known and surprising stories of how all sorts of institutions began. An updated version of a 2009 episode.

#534 : September 12, 2014

A Not-So-Simple Majority

We take it for granted that the majority calls the shots. But in one NY school district, that idea — majority rules — has led to an all-out war. School board disputes are pretty common, but not like this one. This involves multimillion-dollar land deals, lawyers threatening to beat up parents, felony criminal charges, and the highest levels of state government. Meanwhile, the students are caught in the middle.

#533 : September 5, 2014

It's Not the Product, It's the Person

Starting a business is not for the self-doubting. Or even usually the self-deprecating. The first thing you have to sell is yourself — like dating, but with a greater chance of landing in debt. Alex Blumberg tells the incredible, sweat-stains-and-all saga of a man fumbling through starting a new business, and the man is: himself. Plus, new stories from Mike Birbiglia and Love + Radio.

#532 : August 15, 2014

Magic Words

When Jonathan Goldstein was a kid, his father gave him a book that promised to teach you how to shoot mental laser beams, win the lottery, move solid objects with your mind, make others obey your command – all through the use of mental power and magic words. This week, he revisits the book to try to unlock the secrets within. And we have other stories where people recite words that have the power to change their lives, with no magic or mumbo jumbo at all.

#531 : July 25, 2014

Got Your Back

There is a special comfort that comes from knowing someone's got your back. You can do things that just weren't possible before. You take huge risks, including some that aren't necessarily advisable. This week: stories where one person's powerlessness is transformed when they discover they have backup. And we see what happens when that backup goes away. Note: This episode contains un-bleeped curse words. BLEEPED VERSION

#530 : July 11, 2014

Mind Your Own Business

Stories of meddling, snooping, and just getting way, way up in other people's business. A cellphone hidden in a bag of chips starts a messy turf war between the FBI and a local sheriff; and a surprising handbook lets us peek into the secret world of professional cheerleading. Plus: Studs Terkel.

#529 : June 27, 2014

Human Spectacle

Gladiators in the Colosseum. Sideshow performers. Reality television. We've always loved to gawk at the misery or majesty of others. But this week, we ask the question: What's it like when the tables are turned and all eyes are on you?

#528 : June 20, 2014

The Radio Drama Episode

Our most ambitious live show ever! (get the video!) We pulled together a massive team of theater pros at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Opera House – nearly 50 singers, actors, dancers and musicians. The result? Journalism turned into a Broadway musical (the cast album is here), into opera. Mike Birbiglia, Sasheer Zamata, Stephin Merritt, Josh Hamilton, Lindsay Mendez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others.

#527 : June 13, 2014

180 Degrees

Flipflops, u-turns, changes of heart, about faces. Completely changing our position — sometimes it can be our best move, sometimes it can be our worst. Either way, it's usually complicated. This week we bring you stories of people who go one way, and then, for what ever reason, turn around and go the exact opposite direction.

#526 : May 23, 2014

Is That What I Look Like?

You've been seeing yourself, getting to know what you look like, your whole life. So why is does it often take an outsider to see things about you that are obvious, and set you straight?

#525 : May 9, 2014

Call For Help

Stories of people coming to terms with being in serious trouble. They need help. Figuring out how to get it, that's another problem.

#524 : May 2, 2014

I Was So High

Your waitress. Your colleagues at work. Your doctor. Maybe even your parents. They’re all high. All the time. That’s what it feels like anyway. This week, stories in which drug use and daily life intersect – and in which people get high in secret and then do their best to function in the non-high world. Also, we hear some “I Was So High” stories from our very own listeners.

#523 : April 25, 2014

Death and Taxes

It is a peculiar feeling to know with certainty that something big is about to happen to you. This week we watch people go right up to the edge of inevitable change. We hear from preteens about the terrifying knowledge that puberty is about to happen...any minute now. And true to the death and taxes saying, we found it unavoidable to include a story about each one of those things.

#522 : April 11, 2014

Tarred and Feathered

This week, stories of people being threatened and punished with public shame. Including the story of someone who was literally tarred and feathered. It happened a lot more recently than you'd guess.

#521 : March 28, 2014

Bad Baby

They're small. And they're cuddly. But sometimes it feels as though our babies were replaced with demon replicas — controlling, demanding, or just downright awful. This week, stories of infants and children who dominate the adults around them with their baditude, or whom adults have painted with the "bad" brush from early on. We also ask the question: at what age does badness begin?

#520 : March 14, 2014

No Place Like Home

There's lots of ways we define where we're from. And whether we're proud of it, or ashamed of it, love it, hate it, miss it or are trying desperately to get back to it — where we're from is always a big part of who we are. This week, stories of people who are, in good ways and bad ways, coming to terms with the places they call home.

#519 : March 7, 2014

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Last May, a weird story made the news: the FBI killed a guy in Florida who was loosely linked to the Boston Marathon bombings. He was shot seven times in his living room by a federal agent. What really happened? Why was the FBI even in that room with him? A reporter spent six months looking into it, and she found that the FBI was doing a bunch of things that never made the news. Her Boston Magazine story.

#518 : February 14, 2014

Except For That One Thing

Mike Anderson was 36 years old, married, a suburban father of four. He owned a contracting business and built his family’s modest, three-bedroom house in St. Louis from the ground up. He volunteered at church on the weekends and coaches his son’s football team. All pretty normal, right? Except for one thing … which surfaced one day last summer.

#517 : January 31, 2014

Day At The Beach

It's January, and freezing outside. This week 5 stories from the sunny beach! Including David Sedaris telling us how losing a sister in 2013 prompted a family reunion, and an impulse buy of a lifetime — an oceanfront cottage big enough for all of them.

#516 : January 17, 2014

Stuck In The Middle

Jan Brady is not the only one who hated being in the middle. This week we have stories about how it sucks to be in limbo or be the mediator, but we also hear from a man who absolutely loves being in that uncertain and boring middle most of us dread — on hold, listening to hold music.

#515 : January 10, 2014

Good Guys

Lots of men think of themselves as "good guys." But what does it actually take to be one? To be a truly good guy. Stories of valiant men attempting to do good in challenging circumstances: in war zones, department stores, public buses, and at the bottom of a cave 900 feet underground.

#514 : December 20, 2013

Thought That Counts

It's the thought that counts. So true. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not always so clear what that thought was. And sometimes, when it is clear, we wish it wasn't. This week, during this, the season of giving, we turn our spotlight on the givers and exactly whatever it was they could've possibly been thinking.

#513 : December 13, 2013

129 Cars

We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don't make it, it'll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops. Photo gallery here. NOTE: the Internet version of this episode includes un-bleeped curse words. Bleeped version here.

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