New Hampshire Public Radio’s latest podcast explores the side roads, back stories, pressing contemporary issues and cultural quirks of New Hampshire. The Second Greatest Show on Earth podcast launches Wednesday, October 16 – wherever you get your podcasts.
Second Greatest originates from an ongoing audio feature series that aired on NHPR called Only in NH. Listeners submitted questions about New Hampshire via an online audience participation platform and left voicemails for the team, informing local storytelling that ranged from a deep look at issues in the North Country and the origins of the Free State Project, to how the potato became the official state vegetable and why Greek-style pizza is so pervasive in the state. Now expanded as both a feature and a podcast, Second Greatest further builds on the original premise of letting NH residents have a say in what stories the team takes on.
“People-powered journalism like this allows our team to discover and learn about stories we might never uncover on our own,” said Erika Janik, Executive Producer of NHPR’s Creative Production Unit, which produces the Second Greatest podcast. “This collaboration with our listeners is helping us find and shine a light on people, places, history and traditions that give New Hampshire its unique cultural identity and make it our home.”
The name of the podcast derives from a famous observation by renowned circus founder and promoter P.T. Barnum. After climbing Mount Washington, he took in New Hampshire’s valleys, lakes and forests below from the peak, and proclaimed it “the second greatest show on Earth.” While Barnum famously promoted his own circus as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the new podcast aspires to highlight New Hampshire’s unique properties that inspired the Barnum quote about New Hampshire
Early stories will include:
- Three segments on witchcraft in New Hampshire, exploring:
- Why is Salem, Massachusetts, the witch story that people know? And who was accused of witchcraft and why in New Hampshire?
- From historical witches to pop culture depictions of witches and people who identify as witches today, witchcraft has taken many forms. How has the image of witches changed over time?
- How did witches go from terror to commercial entertainment? And how to modern witches fit into this story?
- Intercity bus service in New Hampshire. How do you get around New Hampshire with no transport of your own?
Beyond the initial episodes, later segments will focus on topics such as education, zoning and architecture, and school surveillance. Online at nhpr.org, visitors can see story recaps, listen to audio, and submit their questions for consideration by show producers for future coverage.
Second Greatest delivers on the promise of NHPR’s Innovation Campaign, where generous listeners from throughout the state donated more than $5 million for public media innovation. A key focus of the Innovation Campaign is an increased focus on New Hampshire content – from regional reporting initiatives, to expanded digital offerings, to increased community engagement. In addition, Second Greatest continues the tradition of developing in-depth, audio-rich podcast storytelling from NHPR; prior podcast productions include Outside/In, Civics 101, Bear Brook, Supervision, Patient Zero and Stranglehold.
Where to Find Second Greatest:
Listeners can subscribe to Second Greatest on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, Stitcher or wherever they access podcasts. Fresh episodes will drop every other Wednesday, beginning October 16.
Stories from Second Greatest will air every other Friday during All Things Considered on NHPR, with the first segment airing October 18. Other segments will follow November 1, November 15, and every other Friday onward.
All available Second Greatest episodes and digital assets can be found online at
A sneak preview audio trailer can also be found on the site.
About New Hampshire Public Radio
Since 1981, New Hampshire Public Radio has shaped the media landscape in the Granite State and beyond. Our mission is “Expanding minds, sparking connections, building stronger communities.” NHPR is broadcast from 14 different sites, making it by far New Hampshire’s largest (and only) statewide radio news service. Every week, NHPR is the choice of more than 161,000 listeners as a primary source of in-depth and intelligent news coverage, with thousands more viewing NHPR.org, following our social media sites or listening to our podcasts. Each day, New Hampshire Public Radio delivers several hours of local news reported by its award-winning news team. Locally produced programs and podcasts include The Exchange, The Folk Show, Outside/In, Bear Brook, and Civics 101, among others. NHPR is the exclusive outlet for NPR News in the Granite State and broadcasts national weekly programs such as The Moth Radio Hour, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and This American Life. Visit nhpr.org