Document Type

Conference Abstract

Publication Date

Spring 2-13-2024


This is the first study to investigate parasocial breakups in the context of long-term podcast listening. Radiolab, which is produced by WNYC in New York, is an award-winning program that reaches millions of people. Starting as a radio show in 2002 and later offering a podcast format in 2007, show creators and former hosts, Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad, entertained audiences with their journalistic investigations of science-related topics while later incorporating societal and political content in the program. Yet similar to successful long-running television programs, Radiolab has undergone host changes. Today, the official hosts are Latif Nasser and Lulu Miller, both of whom were associated with the program. However, since the host transition, loyal listeners—many who vow to stop listing—are communicating their frustration on the program’s iTunes reviews. Mentions of excessive reruns, a lack of depth, immature wording, and other negative mentions can be found online. Through the use of a thematic analysis, this study identifies major issues associated with the new format and provides strategic recommendations to address these challenges, not only for Radiolab, but for other podcasts facing similar issues.