The Phones Are Alive, With the Sounds of Katie Couric

“You don’t have to wear makeup, you don’t have to get dressed up, it’s just a very different vibe,” she said. “I also think people are more relaxed when they’re not being videotaped, or they don’t have to be so mindful of their facial expressions or how they look or how they’re coming across.”

Twelve episodes of the new iHeartRadio podcast, called “Next Question,” will be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts et al beginning Oct. 10. The format is similar to a newsmagazine series, like “60 Minutes,” with each 40-minute episode organized around a central question: “Does CBD really work?,” for example, or “Does eating meat really destroy the environment, and how so?” “How does violent porn affect teenagers?” She also discusses polyamory, vaping and rural poverty.

“I’m taking on these topics that have exploded onto the national stage but are confusing to people,” Ms. Couric said. “I find you get so much information in bits and pieces on your iPhone, just a little story here and there. I’ve always liked to connect the dots.”

The pornography episode was born of “a confluence of conversations” Ms. Couric had with several people, including a man she met at a conference, another journalist and her gynecologist; it was also informed by a piece she read in The Atlantic.

She interviews high-school boys as well as Gail Dines, an anti-pornography activist who accuses politicians of “complete willful ignorance on the part of adults who have been charged with taking care of teens.” Al Fernacchio, a teacher who gives lessons on gender equity to third graders using age-appropriate media like superhero shows and Pixar movies, also appears on the episode.

“The one skill I think I have is detecting patterns and trends and issues that are going to be sort of at the forefront just a little bit before they are, and I think it’s because I read a lot and I talk to a lot of people,” Ms. Couric said. Right now, she is working on a podcast episode on ageism, in which she interviews Lyn Slater, a retired professor with a popular Instagram account, @IconAccidental.


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