Here & Now

Monday-Thursday at 12noon
  • Hosted by Robin Young & Jeremy Hopson

Supreme Court rulings. Breaking news. Thoughtful interviews.

A live production of NPR and WBUR Boston, in collaboration with public radio stations across the country, Here & Now reflects the fluid world of news as it’s happening in the middle of the day, with timely, smart and in-depth news, interviews and conversation.

Co-hosted by award-winning journalists Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, the show’s daily lineup includes interviews with NPR reporters, editors and bloggers, as well as leading newsmakers, innovators and artists from across the U.S. and around the globe.

Here & Now began at WBUR in 1997, and expanded to two hours in partnership with NPR in 2013. Today, the show reaches an estimated 3.1 million weekly listeners on 325 stations across the country.

Stay connected to what’s happening…right now…with Here & Now from NPR and WBUR.

Spotify To Offer Mobile App For Free

Dec 12, 2013

Spotify, the music streaming service, announced it will allow anyone on an Android or iOS device to use its app free of charge, starting immediately. The service lets listeners pick and choose songs, and is hoping the move will expand its user base.

The company also announced that it’s adding 20 new countries to its roster. Spotify will now reach 55 global markets. Spotify currently has about 24 million active users and 6 million paying subscribers. Its competitor Pandora has about 72 million active listeners.

Ty Burr, film critic for the Boston Globe, gives Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti a rundown of the latest releases.

He says the recent movies released feature meaty and varied parts for actresses, and some great performances.

Audio Postcard: Smoggy Streets Of Shanghai

Dec 11, 2013

NPR’s Frank Langfitt brings Here & Now an audio postcard from the streets of Shanghai.

Last week, the smog in Shanghai, China, reached hazardous levels. On Friday, smog set records in Shanghai. The Air Quality Index soared over 600, which is officially “beyond index,” or off-the-charts awful.

And on Saturday morning, there was essentially a smog white-out, according to Langfitt. Visibility was down to about 40 feet.

About a quarter of all the coal the U.S. exports goes to Asian markets. To meet the demand, there are plans to build what would be the largest coal terminal in North America at a place called Cheery Point in the far northwestern corner of Washington state.

In the early 1980s, Nelson Mandela’s name was virtually unknown in the United States. In fact, it was Steve Biko, who died in police custody in South Africa in 1977, who first put the struggles of black South Africans into public consciousness in the U.S.

Peter Gabriel’s song “Biko” was written in 1980, the same year the United Nations established a cultural boycott of the country, and was among the first of the songs that catapulted the plight of apartheid onto the musical airwaves.

It’s been five years since the Madoff scandal broke — the largest Ponzi scheme in history that defrauded investors of over $17.5 billion dollars.

Earlier this week, Frank DiPascali, Bernie Madoff’s former finance chief testified against five former coworkers, detailing how they helped carry out the fraud.

In the meantime, Madoff will spend the rest of his life at a federal prison in North Carolina. He recently granted an interview to The Wall Street Journal.

Is Chipotle The New Model For Fast Food?

Dec 10, 2013

With nearly 200 new restaurants slated to open in 2014 and the fastest-rising stock in the fast food industry, is Chipotle the new model for fast food?

Industry analyst David Tarantino says Chipotle is changing fast food the way Starbucks changed coffee shops and Home Depot changed home improvement.

Residents of Newtown, Conn., have decided against a public commemoration to mark the first anniversary this coming Saturday of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

Instead, the town is endorsing a “year of service” and is asking residents to put a candle in their window on Dec. 14, the day of the shooting, to show their commitment to the idea of service to each other.

Soprano Dawn Upshaw has been a longtime fan of composer Maria Schneider’s work, so Upshaw approached the composer and suggested a collaboration.

The result is the album “Winter Morning Walks,” which has been nominated for three Grammy awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Vocal Solo.

We revisit our March conversation with Schneider and Upshaw.

The Close Harmony Of Lily And Madeleine

Dec 9, 2013

Each week NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings us a new song. Today, he introduces us to the music of Lily & Madeleine with their song “Devil We Know.”

“Lily and Madeleine capture what is sometimes called ‘blood harmony,’ where siblings can make their voices interlock in ways that sound incredibly natural,” Thompson tells Here & Now’s Robin Young.

In Prison With Nelson Mandela

Dec 6, 2013

Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada spent almost 27 years in prison with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Earlier this year, he gave President and Michelle Obama a tour of his former prison.

Here & Now’s Robin Young spoke to Kathrada in July. Today we present an excerpt of that conversation.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are praising Japan for making progress to stabilize the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami nearly three years ago.

This week, the IAEA inspectors wrapped up a 10-day inspection of the plant, where the decommissioning process started a few weeks ago.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson gets the latest from BBC Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.

Budget Deal May Be On The Horizon

Dec 6, 2013

Congressional budget committee leaders are working to pull together a budget deal by the end of next week. Republic Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray are reportedly discussing how to increase revenue without raising taxes.

A main provision of the agreement would be a partial easing of the next two spending sequesters. It was only in October that a deadlock over federal spending led to the first government shutdown in 17 years.

On Monday, NBC’s a cappella competition “The Sing-Off” returns for a fourth season on Monday, Dec. 9.

Ten teams (list below) will compete for a recording contract and a $100,000 prize.

Update 3:20 p.m.: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the pension reform bill.

Now that lawmakers have passed an overhaul of Illinois’s government worker pension systems, the fight is expected to move to the courts.

Provisions of the overhaul include raising the retirement age for many state workers and cutting some benefits. The overhaul is estimated to save the state $160 billion over 30 years.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill by the end of the week.

China Mobile And Apple Sign iPhone Deal

Dec 5, 2013

The world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, will soon offer iPhones on its network.

The deal gives Apple access to more than 700 million subscribers. That’s seven times the size of Verizon Wireless.

Derek Thompson, business editor for The Atlantic, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the implications of the deal.

Miami Gears Up For Art Basel

Dec 4, 2013

Every year, tens of thousands of people attend the international art show in Miami Beach called Art Basel. There are arts galleries, live music performances and lots of live street exhibitions on the street.

Art Basel, which runs from Dec. 5 to 8, also comes to Miami’s up-and-coming neighborhood, Wynwood. With its warehouses-turned-art galleries, Wynwood is a prime location for street art.

If you’ve been listening to NPR this week, you’ve probably heard about something called the t-shirt project.

Months ago, Planet Money had the idea to design a t-shirt and follow it around the world as it was manufactured.

The project took the Planet Money team around the globe: from factories in Bangladesh and Colombia, to cotton farms and container ships.

New Bombs Pose New Threat

Dec 4, 2013

With top U.S. lawmakers warning of new terrorism threats, intelligence officials in the U.K. say there remains an enduring threat from bombs made by terrorists in Yemen.

The threat comes from the type of bomb that failed to explode on a plane over Detroit in 2009 — the so-called underwear bomber.

The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner reports.