I subscribed to this podcast and listened to a few episodes then let it go (without unsubscribing). Recently I put a few new episodes in my listening queue, based on the topic and expert guests, that looked interesting. But I had forgotten how annoying the host is. He doesn't know how to make good use of his expert guests. He tries to anticipate their points, or provide them a hook with a leading question ... which would be fine if he weren't so often just dead wrong! Or even a little wrong, but in a way that then needs subtle correction from the guest expert, wasting their time and ours. I wish he would ask more open-ended questions, stop showing off with his off-base guesses, and give the guest experts more room for their own explanations and exposition instead of needing to set him straight so much. (This review is in particular responding to the 16 October 2009 episode "Regional Accents".)
This is an interesting program, with interesting guests. Sadly, the educated commentary ends up rankled as Mr. Lopate juggles both: the clock, and an unfortunate cacophony dial-in dullards. Ultimately, the program ends up distorting the better aspects of it’s experts as it tries to make them rush their subject matter (which is not terribly uncommon for NPR science programing). Another would-be-good program if only it weren't saddled with time and telephones.
I've been listening to this Podcast for over four months and find the random topics a refreshing change to my day when the newscasts are focusing on the Middle East. Everything about the sun, baking goods, dinosaurs, or my credit score have been touched. The host even asks intelligent questions to keep the discussions going. However, I also find the host gruff, and somewhat rude when speaking to callers. People will give compliments regarding the show and their words fall on deaf ears. Additionally, callers are often rushed and sometimes spoken down to. Even though I'm just listening to this man in my car, I would never want to have a conversation with someone like this AND enjoy it. Listen to NPR's 'Talk of the Nation' by Neil. He's polite and brings to the table a wide range of issues in our lives today.
Show is well named. Lopate takes a subject, and they just explain how the subject works. No big updates or emphasis on breaking news. No fancy special effects. Lopate isn't afraid to ask dumb, basic questions that most of us would like to ask if we could.
Leonard excels in his interviews regarding politics, social issues and history, but when it comes to science it's obvious he has little overall background knowledge. It's frustrating to hear him miss real opportunities to get past the basics and invite deeper insights from his guests. Perhaps worse is when something really good is emerging but is then brought back down to a basic level by the interjection of a poorly timed comment. Likewise, there never seems to be intelligent follow-up on a topic that's starting to get somewhere. His guests are too polite to brush away a trivial interruption. In an age where the general public needs to get itself up to speed on so many science topics, it's ashame that an otherwise great program misses the chance to really enlighten its devoted listeners.
I have been an avid Leonard Lopate show listener for a really long time!!! Leonard is extremely well informed..Super intelligent questions!! Super interesting guests! There is always something for everyone in every show..you will learn something new and exciting every day!
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of WNYC in general. I think Radio Lab is one of the best podcasts anywhere on the web. That said; I think Please Explain is not up to snuff. All in all the subjects are interesting but the interviewer was unprepared and the final product was tedious to listen to. The first episode I heard was informative and interesting- but had nothing at all to do with it's category of Natural Science (march 21, 2008, Media Ethics). To be fair I tried a second (March 14, Proprioception) which was properly categorized but over and over again Mr. Lopate asked questions in his interview about the sense of balance which, while related to proprioception, or kinesthesia, is actually a separate system in the body. Once would have been enough for the subjects to explain that the systems were related but fundamentally different.... over and over he asked in different form, as if he didn't realize he'd already gotten the response. The subject was proprioception- he insisted on making the entire interview about balance. Bad interview. Hope this helps.