Introducing Freakonomics Radio: A Podcast About the Hidden Side of Everything

Listen now:

I have always loved radio. There’s something magical about the combination of listening intimacy and the technology of widespread transmission. Some of my firmest memories are radio memories: as a kid, listening to WGY in Schenectady, N.Y., on snowy mornings to find out if school was closed; hearing the Clash’s “Train in Vain” for the first time and thinking it must have been a mistake, that no radio station could ever play a song so raw and great; learning to

D.J. in college and sending coded messages to a girl I needed to get with.

It is amazing to me that, as much as media has changed in recent decades, the fundamental appeal of radio remains intact — and, in some ways, is much stronger. Technology has helped the cause; podcasts are a radio lover’s heroin.


So it is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of Freakonomics Radio, a podcast. We’re just finishing up our first episode. It’ll be called “What Do NASCAR Drivers, Glenn Beck, and the Hitmen of the NFL Have in Common?” It features interviews with all the people named in the title, along with a good dose of Levitt; I’m the host.

Here’s a brief preview in which we hatch our evil plan to make the podcast. Levitt talks about what the world would be like if economists ran it. Highlights: “unpleasant,” “demented,” but “efficient.” Feedback welcome — especially suggestions for topics or stories you’d like to hear.

[Update: You can now subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts here; Stitcher here; or get the RSS feed here.]


I'm all for iTunes. I have an iPod (oh my god, I must be heathen).

Glenn Mercer

Yes please provide an RSS option for those of us not yet enrolled in the Church of All Things Good Come from Apple. (Remember it was an apple that got us all into trouble in Eden, anyway...)


Can't wait for the podcast, iTunes or otherwise ... although the music intro may be enough to drive me away! Please have mercy on your listeners!

A Fan

It's up on iTunes now!


Richard Platts

Just adding my voice to those who are not chained to an iDevice - we would love to subscribe too!


Please get rid of the music.

Chaz El

Straight up, standard RSS feed please!!


I loved the podcast. How often do you plan to publish these? Clearly it's not weekly. Also, thanks for the RSS feed. Much better than Itunes.

Britt Sebastian

Love it! Wish it was longer than 20 minutes. I think an hour would be better suited.


I love the podcast and I love the music. Keep up the good work.


looking forward for another freakonomous episode.!!


So this has gone by the wayside? Nothing for three months now? Podcasts are supposed to be somewhat regular . . .

damon lisch

Hi guys,
I just heard your rather self conscious response to e-mails. Honestly, it's actually not that complicated. Produce a series of well produced, interesting podcasts on a regular schedule and you will do really well. Produce a series of podcasts of variable length and quality, and you will turn your listeners off. NPR has know this for ever, as had some other programs, such as This American Life and Planet Money. I honestly believe that you could be as good as them, but not if you don't provide consistent programing. As economists, no one should have to tell you that. Actually, what you really should have done it produce a series of "special" segments on Planet Money and This American Life, and THEN made a regular podcast. You've got a lot of potential. Don't blow it.



i'd like to know how you differentiate between 'statistics' and 'economics'. i suppose the cross-over between the two hadn't been clear to me until i started listening to this podcast.
it's my perception that your 'economics' discourse is hugely dependent on the quality and clarity in the supporting statistics.

and i love the music. who is it by?
there really should be a credit somewhere.
come on: tell!!!


I subscribed via itunes, and a good amount of the episodes are repeats of earlier episodes, but with slightly different names.

I'm thinking of
12/1/10: Who Could Say No to a "No-Lose Lottery"
11/17/10: Is America Ready for a "No-Lose Lottery"

This is confusing and kind of annoying. Other than that, I really enjoy the podcast.

Chris Norris

I don't know what you guys are talking about, I think the intro music is a killer jam! Anyone know the name and/or artist on that track?


I was struck how you touted the virtues of economics; empirical data, hard numbers, analysis, etc., to illuminate how our fears of sharks and terrorists are unfounded and those who are scared of those things are duped by the fear-mongering tactics of the media. Good point. You went on to illustrate your point by interviewing Glenn Beck, a man who takes to a radio booth and a TV set everyday to sway the political opinions of people with fear inspired by unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and fairy tales that can be seen as works of his imagination by anyone with intellect enough to dress themselves. Furthermore, you were used. Beck had one more platform to slam reasonable, practical regulation and appeal to the mythical "good ol' days," when kids didn't have to wear seat belts and the government stayed out of our business (subtext: when our presidents and supreme court justices were white men). Just remember, if you want a credible podcast, feature credible guests.


Rick Andres

I enjoy your podcasts. Keep up the good work.

chris a

Just my input here but there are many of us that are free of the I-machine. A direct link to a downloadable mp3 would be preferable. I'd love to hear your show and promote it.

Ben Austin

Assessment of risk related to the fukushima nuclear accident would be a good topic for you, I think. The foreign community has more or less abandoned Tokyo despite the fact that scientific consensus is that there is virtually no risk. Expensive flights, severe disruption to life etc appear not to discourage the panic reaction. A classic "fear of shark attack" kind of thing.