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September 14, 2020
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TTBOOK Turns 30!

Anne, Steve and Jim over the years

Thirty years ago, To the Best of Our Knowledge aired its very first show on Wisconsin Public Radio. We weren’t a national show yet — that came two years later. WPR’s former general manager Jack Mitchell originally dreamed up the idea for TTBOOK. He had in mind a concept he called “academic journalism,” though no one really knew what that meant, and we quickly modified the idea. But this core concept — that we weren’t going to be afraid to do a brainy and quirky radio show — is still an elemental part of our DNA. We’ve experimented with a lot of production techniques over the years, and I’m proud to say that the creativity of our staff has always been the engine that drives TTBOOK. One of our proudest moments was winning a Peabody Award in 2005.

Anne and Steve in studio

Anne and Steve in studio

Anne Strainchamps and I produced that first show thirty years ago. To be honest, it wasn’t that good. Thankfully, we’ve worked with a lot of truly wonderful producers, interviewers, editors and engineers over the years who keep making the show better. Charles Monroe-Kane, Joe Hardtke, Mark Riechers, Shannon Henry Kleiber and Angelo Bautista round out our current staff.

TTBOOK_1996.jpg

TTBOOK staff, 1996

TTBOOK staff, 1996

TTBOOK staff, 2012

TTBOOK staff, 2012

TTBOOK staff, 2020

TTBOOK staff, 2020.

We’ve never been a current events show — there are plenty of other great public radio shows that cover this territory - but we like to probe the deeper issues and ideas that shape today’s news. More recently, we’ve also felt a certain amount of news fatigue, so we’ve focused on shows with a sense of wonder and what we call “intelligent optimism.” 

Thirty years is a long time, but we keep experimenting and evolving. We’re so glad you’ve stayed with us over the years — or perhaps you’ve recently discovered us. 

Thank you for joining us on this ride!

—Steve

Anne and Steve working remotely in Vermont, 2020.

Anne and Steve working remotely in Vermont, 2020.

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girl reading
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Piles of books
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Anne Lamott
Writer Anne Lamott says that the children’s classic made her feel like there was room in the world for imaginative, adventurous girls who just might wear mismatched knee socks.
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What Monuments Can Tell Us About National Identity

Haleema reporting in Pakistan
You could say that the work of nation-building is never really done. Haleema Shah has been thinking about that after a recent trip to a country close to her heart — Pakistan.
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The Global Garage Sale

tea set
Journalist Adam Minter wrote a whole book about what happens to our things when we don’t want them anymore. It’s called “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” Angelo asked him: why don’t we think more about the things we donate?
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