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Philosophy Talk Named as Finalist in 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards


"The program that questions everything—except your intelligence" is one of hundreds of entrants from over 30 countries.

Philosophy Talk, the nationally-syndicated radio program that originated at KALW (and currently airs Sundays at 11 am), has been listed as a finalist in the Social Issues category of this year’s New York Festivals radio competition. Three episodes are in the running: The 2020 Dionysus Awards, Philosophy Talk’s version of the Oscars; Covid Conundrums and Moral Dilemmas, featuring listeners’ real-life ethical quandaries raised by the pandemic; and Time for Summer Reading, which marked the program's 500th episode and so focused on books about time. All three are magazine-style episodes, a slight departure from Philosophy Talk’s usual format, combining the best of the program's probing conversation and with a more sound-rich experience.

Philosophy Talk was founded in 2004 by Stanford philosophers John Perry and Ken Taylor, who hosted the program together for over 13 years. It previously won Gold (2013), Silver (2012, 2017), and Bronze (2016), but this is the program's first time entering the competition with current co-hosts Josh Landy and Ray Briggs. Landy joined the team when Perry retired in 2017, and Briggs came on board after the tragic and unexpected death of Taylor at the end of 2019.

“It’s nice for Philosophy Talk to receive this recognition,” says Landy, “since there are relatively few shows about philosophy on the radio. John and Ken pulled off quite the feat in creating a show that might appeal to a broad audience, and achieve such longevity.”

Philosophy Talk faced significant challenges in 2020 and 2021,” Briggs adds. “I feel good about how we overcame these challenges to produce these shows, which address philosophical issues raised by the pandemic (like persevering through adversity, combating disinformation, and maintaining solidarity in relative isolation). I like to think Ken would be proud of us.”

The 2021 New York Festivals Radio Award winners will be announced on October 12 at the annual Storytellers gala taking place in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, all three episodes can be streamed directly from Philosophy Talk’s website.

Devon Strolovitch studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before coming to KALW. He is the Senior Producer of Philosophy Talk, and since 2007 has hosted Fog City Blues, the weekly digest of Blues in the Bay Area and beyond.