Freakonomics Radio Network’s 2022 Staff Picks

To celebrate a wonderful year of production on all of the shows in our network, we asked our staff to choose their favorite episode of the year.

Lyric Bowditch, Production Associate
Why Do Doctors Have to Play Defense?” from Freakonomics, M.D.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, my feeds were flooded with content about it. This episode cut through the noise by offering a really important, mind-widening, and distinctly Freakonomical perspective on the issue that I hadn’t considered or encountered anywhere else. I find myself bringing it up in conversations often!

Neal Carruth, Executive Vice President and General Manager
Has Globalization Failed?” from Freakonomics Radio
Freakonomics Radio does not shy away from posing big, provocative questions. This episode starts with a question that might, at first blush, seem kind of boring or too abstract to be interesting. But through a charming conversation with a supremely knowledgeable guest, the law professor Anthea Roberts, you acquire the tools to answer for yourself the question of whether globalization has failed. This episode also does a good job of engaging with the back catalog of Freakonomics Radio since the show has covered this general topic in the past.

Jeremy Johnston, Audio Engineer
Names,” from Off Leash
Since my dog doesn’t seem to recognize his own name half the time, I was excited to learn something from this episode of Off Leash. It ended up being a really great insight into how dogs respond to their nicknames, differentiate vowel sounds, and identify their owners’ voices in crowded places. This is such a happy episode full of animal lovers talking about how they arrived at a name for their furry friends, and also takes us on a fun tour of Isabella Rossellini’s farm.

Julie Kanfer, Senior Producer
Why Is Everyone Moving to Dallas?” from Freakonomics Radio
I really enjoyed this two-part series and learned a lot about a place I’ve never been (Dallas) and a thing I didn’t know (that everyone is moving there). I found myself thinking about this episode/series a lot throughout the year, random bits of it popping into my brain when I least expected them to. It also really evoked a sense of place and of the people in that place; I felt like I was along for the ride (in that Uber in the pouring rain).

Ryan Kelley, Associate Producer
What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?” from Freakonomics Radio
We don’t normally focus on current events on Freakonomics Radio (we like to give the economists time to play with the data and come up with something smart), but the new, Saudi-backed professional golf league was just too intriguing not to cover. When Phil Mickelson, Qatar, and Barbra Streisand all come up in the same conversation, it must be good.

Alina Kulman, Production Associate
Can the Big Bad Wolf Save Your Life?” from Freakonomics Radio
I loved how interdisciplinary this episode was — it’s about wildlife conservation, politics, literature, and also (of course) economics. It also has some pretty staggering statistics, like the fact that deer collisions cost about $10 billion in damages annually.

Zack Lapinski, Senior Producer
Why Did You Marry That Person?” from Freakonomics Radio
This episode has everything: sexual anthropology, Victorian era politics, divorce, Shakespeare, the dating app Raya, aristocratic romance, Bridgerton, and — of course — an economist.

Morgan Levey, Senior Producer
A Rockstar Chemist and Her Cancer-Attacking ‘Lawn Mower’” from People I (Mostly) Admire
Maybe it’s a little gauche to list your own show / an episode you produced, but I loved this episode with Carolyn Bertozzi. Rarely does someone so brilliant also have the ability to explain Nobel-prize winning science so clearly. She’s also cool as hell, and I’d really like to be friends with her.

Rebecca Lee Douglas, Senior Producer
J***s C****t, Angela, Why Are You Such a F***ing Potty-Mouth?” from No Stupid Questions
I saw that Morgan listed an episode of PIMA, so now I feel empowered to share an episode of NSQ. This show was so much fun. It was packed with interesting research, personal anecdotes, and lots and lots of jokes — basically, the ingredients for an incredible episode of NSQ. We received more listener emails/voice memos to this show than any other episode we’ve produced.

Katherine Moncure, Associate Producer
Are N.F.T.s All Scams?” from Freakonomics Radio
I loved that entire series (“What Can Blockchain Do For You?”) because it took a very complicated and opaque part of our economy — a part that’s highly polarized — and in classic Freakonomics fashion, broke it down into something that was actually understandable. N.F.T.s are especially mind boggling to me, but less so now. I would have to say though, my favorite part was not any of the clear, informative explanations, but rather when the Freakonomics crew and the artist Tom Sachs were chased out of Bryant Park for launching a rocket. Well worth the risk.

Greg Rippin, Technical Director
The “What Can Blockchain Do For You?” series, from Freakonomics Radio
I feel that we did a really good job of explaining the different applications of crypto without coming across like we were trying to get listeners to (literally) buy into it. Plus, I got to leave my studio for a bit and get some fresh air in the park.

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