Barry Gordemer | New Hampshire Public Radio

Barry Gordemer

The 2020 hurricane season was so prolific that the National Hurricane Center used up its roster of 21 alphabetized storm names. When that happens, the government pulls in the Greek alphabet. But don't expect to see Hurricane Alpha or Beta again.

Turns out the names were Greek to a lot of people, and forecasters worried about creating confusion.

"Some of those were very difficult to translate into other languages," says Kenneth Graham of the National Hurricane Center. "In our region we have French. We have Portuguese, Spanish and English."

As hopes increase that life will soon get back to normal, there's one pandemic ritual that a lot of kids and parents are going to miss.

A year ago, as the coronavirus began to rage, fitness instructor Joe Wicks, known as The Body Coach, started a daily exercise class for kids on YouTube called "PE With Joe." The idea was to help children stay active during the lockdown.

Front-line workers are the mostly unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their jobs are critical and can't be done from home. They're nurses and orderlies, grocery store workers and letter carriers. They run warehouses, deliver packages and drive trucks, buses and trains.

These workers may have been required to be on the job during the pandemic, but many — often guided by a sense of duty, commitment, compassion and honor — are proud to do it.

Just like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, the microwave oven often gets no respect. Every kitchen has one, but no self-respecting cook would admit to using it for anything more than just heating up last night's pasta. But it's hard to deny the influence the food-nuker has had on American life, and this year marks 50 years since its arrival.

The first countertop microwave was the Amana Radarange, which debuted in 1967 and sold for $495. It's the appliance that made zapping your food as routine as brushing your teeth.

First, it was The Supremes, then The Beatles, then The Police. Now there is news that another enduring band is breaking up: Chuck E. Cheese's The Pizza Time Players.

Chuck E. Cheese — a large rat puppet with a New York accent — along with his fellow animatronic pals sing and shake their mechanical limbs to cover tunes in about 500 pizza restaurants nationwide.

Tom Leverton, the CEO of the company that runs Chuck E. Cheese and its sister restaurants, Peter Piper Pizza, says the animatronic characters have been in the restaurants since 1977.

On April 19, 1987, a momentous event happened: America was introduced to one of its most enduring families, The Simpsons.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

I'm Renee Montagne and - David - David, are you there?

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The United Nations has declared Friday World Radio Day in celebration of radio's unique status as a "simple and inexpensive" technology with the power to reach even the most remote, marginalized communities.

But we wondered — in this digital age, how hard is it to find a simple, inexpensive radio?

Our journey took us to several stores in Washington, D.C., in search of a portable and affordable radio, as well as to the National Capital Radio and Television Museum in Bowie, Md.