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Cover image of Live Wire with Luke Burbank

Live Wire with Luke Burbank

Like late-night for radio, hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), the show artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians and cultural observers. Music, comedy, and conversation, live and packed with surprises.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Episode 125

Episode 125

59mins

30 Jan 2015

Rank #1

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Elena Passarello (Short)

This podcast short features the original interview with award-winning writer Elena Passarello who, after this appearance, became Live Wire's announcer. Elena is the author of two books of nonfiction, "Let Me Clear My Throat" (2012) and "Animals Strike Curious Poses" (2017). She is also the first female winner of the annual "Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest" held in New Orleans. Listen to this podcast to hear Elena's winning scream! And stay tuned for a song by folk rock singer This is The Kit, who performed on Live Wire in 2017.

24mins

29 Mar 2019

Rank #2

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Episode 137 Encore

Episode 137 Encore

59mins

30 Jan 2015

Rank #3

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"The Morning After" with Dan Savage, Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, Frangela, and Meklit

Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello unpack the ominous implications of “The Morning After;” author and journalist Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall describes his gonzo attempts to find the cure for the hangover; comedy duo Frangela riff on why they’re not giving up their healthcare; sex and relationship columnist Dan Savage advises on monogamy, gender pronouns, and online social etiquette; and Ethio-Jazz performer Meklit makes her return to Live Wire with the song, “I Want to Sing to Them All.”

58mins

4 Jan 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Ep. 295: "Timing is Everything" with Heidi Julavits, John Irving, Diana Nyad and Israel Nebeker

Ep. 295: "Timing is Everything" with Heidi Julavits, John Irving, Diana Nyad and Israel Nebeker

52mins

13 Nov 2015

Rank #5

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"Here Goes Something..." with Stephen Tobolowsky, Dale Scott and Matisyahu

Stephen Tobolowsky recalls getting held up at gunpoint while browsing for mangoes, MLB umpire Dale Scott talks about coming out as gay in the world of baseball, and Jewish reggae icon Matisyahu attempts to teach Luke how to beatbox.

53mins

19 Feb 2016

Rank #6

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"How on Earth?" with Gerrit Vyn, Nicole Apelian, Anis Mojgani and Fruition

Live Wire celebrates Earth Day! Survivalist and Alone reality show contestant Dr. Nicole Apelian reveals her packing list for living solo in the wilderness, two teen activists explain why they are suing the U.S. government, wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn attempts to identify some very... uh... unique bird calls, Anis Mojgani poeticizes his memories of growing up in New Orleans, and Fruition’s strings and harmonies take us out of this world and back again.

1hr 19mins

25 Apr 2016

Rank #7

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Ep. 294: "Diving In" with Aasif Mandvi, Wallace J. Nichols and Joseph

Ep. 294: "Diving In" with Aasif Mandvi, Wallace J. Nichols and Joseph

51mins

7 Nov 2015

Rank #8

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Ep. 282: "Dark Matters" with Janeane Garofalo, Chuck Palahniuk & Helio Sequence

Ep. 282: "Dark Matters" with Janeane Garofalo, Chuck Palahniuk & Helio Sequence

58mins

29 May 2015

Rank #9

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"Just Visiting" with Tom Bodett, Betsy Hodges, Chris Coleman, Fancy Ray and The Jayhawks

Live Wire visits the Twin Cities! Local TV pitchman Fancy Ray McCloney shows Tom Bodett how to spice up his Motel 6 ads, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis (Chris Coleman and Betsy Hodges) face-off in a trivia contest to determine who is the superior mayor, and The Jayhawks share their signature sound that put Minneapolis on the musical map.

56mins

25 Mar 2016

Rank #10

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Ep. 270: "The Grown Up Table" with Kelly Williams Brown, Ahamefule Oluo & Lost Lander

Ep. 270: "The Grown Up Table" with Kelly Williams Brown, Ahamefule Oluo & Lost Lander

52mins

1 Mar 2015

Rank #11

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Episode 132

Episode 132

59mins

30 Jan 2015

Rank #12

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"Cut the Crap" with Stephen Tobolowsky, Ariel Levy, The Minimalists, and Haley Heynderickx

Author and prolific actor Stephen Tobolowsky takes us to the genesis of his spiritual reawakening, New Yorker writer and memoirist Ariel Levy opens up about what it’s like to keep reliving the worst year of her life, The Minimalists preach the purging gospel, and singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx brings it home with the impromptu harmonic help of the Live Wire house band. Support Live Wire today: livewire.ejoinme.org/spring2017

1hr 2mins

21 May 2017

Rank #13

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"Real Talk" with Mitchell S. Jackson, Lori Gottlieb, Mohanad Elshieky, and Revel in Dimes

Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello get down to some “Real Talk;” writer Mitchell S. Jackson discusses how – in his latest book “Survival Math” – he uses men of history to frame his own painful relationships with women of his past; author and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains the importance of delivering a “compassionate truth bomb” to loved ones in need; comedian Mohanad Elshieky recounts how his confrontation with the border control on a Greyhound bus went viral; and blues-rock group Revel in Dimes perform “Tough City for Love.”

53mins

12 Apr 2019

Rank #14

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Episode 131

Episode 131

59mins

30 Jan 2015

Rank #15

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Ep. 282 Encore: "Dark Matters" with Janeane Garofalo, Chuck Palahniuk & Helio Sequence

Ep. 282 Encore: "Dark Matters" with Janeane Garofalo, Chuck Palahniuk & Helio Sequence

52mins

27 Aug 2015

Rank #16

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"Living the Dream" with Ian Karmel, Al Letson, Caitlin Kunkel, and Laura Gibson

Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello dispute the importance of their dream lives; satirist Caitlin Kunkel shares her favorite jokes from her new book, "New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay;" comedian Ian Karmel takes down the masculinity of men's grooming products; radio host Al Letson revisits an uncomfortable conversation with a far-right vlogger whose life he saved; and singer-songwriter Laura Gibson performs "Tenderness."

52mins

18 Jan 2019

Rank #17

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"Milestones" with Lindy West, Dave Hill, and Pink Martini

Celebrating Live Wire’s 15th anniversary, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello give advice to their 15-year-old selves; writer and TV creator Lindy West explains why she is not the lead character in her Hulu series "Shrill;" comedian Dave Hill demonstrates how making mother jokes will get you kicked off of Twitter; and genre-crossing musical group Pink Martini perform the first song they ever wrote, the French language “Sympathique.”

54mins

2 Aug 2019

Rank #18

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"For the Record" with Cheryl Strayed, Anis Mojgani, Jenn Nelson and LOLO

"For the Record" with Cheryl Strayed, Anis Mojgani, Jenn Nelson and LOLO

52mins

29 Jan 2016

Rank #19

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"Cautionary Tales" with Welcome to Night Vale's Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Danez Smith, Edan Lepucki, and Chad VanGaalen

Luke Burbank kicks off the “Cautionary Tales” episode with a harrowing anecdote about his dog’s actual tail, Welcome to Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor provide some techniques for concentrating on art during trying political times, poet Danez Smith deconstructs wokeness, author Edan Lepucki shares her methods for conjuring a ‘female snarl’ writing state, and musician and animator Chad VanGaalen performs the track “Static Shape.”

55mins

4 Dec 2017

Rank #20