WAMU 88.5, Washington’s NPR news station launched Unprecedented, an eight-episode podcast series that tells the raw and emotional stories of ordinary people who defined the limits of our First Amendment rights.
Hosted by award-winning radio producers Michael Vuolo and Matthew Schwartz with special appearances by NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Unprecedented introduces listeners to the protestors, pornographers, religious zealots, and Klan members who were plaintiffs of precedent-setting cases – many of whom have never been interviewed before – and who have become accidental guardians of free speech.
Unprecedented combines deep reporting, thoughtful musical scoring, and first-ever interviews with litigants who made history. The series begins with the story of a New Hampshire resident that covered up the phrase “Live Free or Die” on his state-issued license plate. He eventually got a ticket, spent two weeks in jail, lost his job, and carried his disagreement all the way to the Supreme Court. Future episodes will touch on students’ rights to protest at school, the right to be mean, how far can you take political satire, and more. The outcome of each case changed the way we interpret freedom of speech.
“Each episode showcases Americans who, regardless of their social or political views, have helped us fill in the Constitutional gaps that our Founding Fathers left open to interpretation. And now, their voices and stories are on the record,” said Andi McDaniel, senior director of content and news.
“Matt and Mike poured their hearts into this podcast. They were haunted by these stories — and never gave up the idea that they would tell them in this unique and engrossing way. I’m so pleased they chose to do so in partnership with WAMU.”
The first episode is available now. Future episodes will be available on the following Wednesdays in 2019: Oct. 30, Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Nov. 20, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18.
To learn more visit wamu.org/unprecedented. Listen to the trailer and subscribe on Apple Podcasts at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unprecedented/id1482312405 or wherever you listen to podcasts.