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NPR’s ‘Planet Money’ podcast to show live at the WMPAC

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Three hosts of the “quirky” finance podcast will cover various money-related topics in a manner that goes beyond auditory experience


Hosts of NPR’s popular “Planet Money” podcast will bring a fun take on explaining economic nuances to the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

“Planet Money” isn’t like your usual finance report or economic breakdown. Hosts use the podcasting format to find creative and entertaining ways to boil down complicated pieces of the economy for listeners. And—given the podcast’s 1.3 million monthly listeners—the approach seems to resonate.

For “Planet Money Live!” the hosts will take things one step further, using visuals and theatrics to engage with listeners IRL.

“We aim to entertain as much as we aim to inform and it should be really fun,” said Joanna Pawlowska, NPR’s senior producer for events. “If you’re a ‘Planet Money’ fan, I think you will know that they have a pretty quirky and creative way of getting into economic topics and explaining how the economy works. So that same quirky signature style will be on stage.”

The podcast is known for going beyond simple explanations and actually getting involved in a complicated process to fully explain it to listeners. For example, “Planet Money” made a t-shirt and followed it around the world to see the full production process—from harvesting the cotton on a Mississippi farm and fabric manufacturing overseas to sewing in Columbian and Bangladeshi factories and transporting the shirts back to the U.S.

Podcasts are inherently audio-driven, so Pawlowska’s job as an event producer is to help the hosts with creative ways to transform their unique stories into a well-rounded performance.

For the show at the WMPAC, hosts Greg Rosalsky, Mary Childs and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi will cover three main topics: a murder mystery of famed Scottish economist Adam Smith’s reputation, a silly-yet-historical look the origin of job benefits and the naturally occurring economic experiments that came from the COVID-19 pandemic. The show will include mini plays, interviews, audience engagement and, for an added touch, a band will provide live scoring and music accompanying the various segments.

NPR will record the show to potentially publish as a future podcast, Pawlowska explained. The event will also be livestreamed so people unable to make it to the WMPAC can still enjoy the show.

“It’s part of NPR’s mission to make our journalism really accessible,” Pawlowska siad. “It is also really awesome to bring hosts, reporters and stories into a live venue so that individuals have an opportunity to ask questions and go a little bit deeper with the content … In larger cities like New York, LA and DC, there’s so much content being produced live all the time because there’s so many people that live there. It doesn’t happen as often that we get the opportunity to come to a place like Big Sky, so we’re really, really excited.”

Although NPR has certainly been to Montana before—the “Morning Edition” podcast came to Bozeman during the 2016 election as part of a live series investigating how people across the country felt about election issues and candidates—Pawlowska said the upcoming live show will be the first podcast performance the broadcasting company has done in the state.

To purchase tickets for “Planet Money Live!” or to stream the event, head to the WMPAC’s website.

Listen to the “Planet Money” podcast here.

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