Building on a legacy of top-notch political reporting, New Hampshire Public Radio launches its first politics-themed podcast on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Titled “Stranglehold," the podcast explores the history, evolution and continued relevance of the first-in-the-nation status of the New Hampshire primary, while also probing some of the ‘mythology’ around this longstanding political tradition.
Every four years, the U.S. presidential election is shaped by events on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. Candidates travel the state, meeting with thousands of citizens, debating at town halls and forums, visiting iconic locations and interacting with hundreds of local, national and international media who descend on the state. New Hampshire residents, local and state government officials, and key influencers and organizations are accustomed to this quadrennial spotlight – a spotlight that also helps the local economy and reinforces the notion of New Hampshire as “special” when it comes to national politics.
In this context, the Stranglehold podcast explores the power dynamics of New Hampshire’s key role in a national conversation. The podcast begins with five, pre-produced episodes that probe the history, impact and evolution of the New Hampshire primary.
NHPR’s State of Democracy Reporter Lauren Chooljian and Senior Producer Jack Rodolico serve as podcast hosts, but other NHPR political reporters will also appear in the podcast.
“With this podcast, we set out to explore questions of power as it relates to an institution that has transformed New Hampshire’s politics over the years,” said Dan Barrick, News Director at NHPR. “The primary shapes the way many people in New Hampshire think about their state, and it may be one of the few things outsiders even know about New Hampshire. Through that lens, we wanted to examine the benefits derived from this unique first-in-the-nation status, as well as the impacts, both here and around the country.”
Reporting for the podcast took place for close to a year, involving both the resources of NHPR’s award-winning newsroom and Creative Production Unit – NHPR’s resident experts on podcast production. In the course of reporting, the team interviewed dozens of sources spanning the political spectrum – from state and local government, academia, the media and local citizens who are part of the primary tradition.
Beyond the initial episodes, later segments will focus on news, trends and developments as the 2020 primary campaign unfolds in New Hampshire; bonus episodes may be produced in connection with breaking news. Online, visitors can see photo galleries, historical timelines and other interactive tools to learn more. Music for the series was composed by NHPR Reporter Jason Moon.
Stranglehold will delve into the politics of the New Hampshire primary through several pre-produced episodes, then evolve into a regular, biweekly feature tied to news and trends from the campaign trail. The initial episodes:
Ep 1: The Guardian, available September 11
Ep 2: The Dragon Egg, available September 18
Ep 3: The Oracle, available September 25
Ep 4: The Brawl, available October 2
Ep 5: The Game, available October 9
Where to Find Stranglehold:
All available Stranglehold episodes and digital assets can be found online at
A sneak preview audio trailer can also be found on the site.
Stranglehold is part of a broader portfolio of NHPR reporting around New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. Other tools and reporting projects include:
- 2020 Candidate Conversations – long-form interviews with the candidates as featured on NHPR’s weekday talk show, The Exchange.
- Primary Candidate Tracker – tracking where and when candidates will appear in New Hampshire.
- 2020 Two-ways – a series of interviews with the candidates featured on NHPR’s Morning Edition
- Candidate Interviews on the NPR Politics Podcast – Conversations with the national candidates, produced in collaboration with NPR and Iowa 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 170,000 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.