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From out of nowhere, the US Energy Department launches a great podcast

From out of nowhere, the US Energy Department launches a great podcast

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The folks at the US Energy Department adore the NPR-style radio program so much, they made their own human interest podcast. Direct Current, a new show from the team, borrows liberally from the public radio playbook. Hosts Matt Dozier and Allison Lantero, have that warm start-and-stop cadence of This American Life, a show they parody early in the premiere episode with a skit called This American Lightbulb. It's hosted by, who else, Ira Fiberglass.

The episode moves at a clip. By the five minute mark, we're deep into a story about President Carter and the formation of the US Energy Department in 1977. "Our decision about energy," says Carter, "will test the character of the American people." Around the 10 minute mark, the show finds its groove, settling into a longer piece on the hidden costs of installing solar panels on your roof. Dozier and Lantero find specific human entry points into otherwise dry topics, particularly memorable is Dozier's interview with a member of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board.

The program doesn't quite reach the highs of my favorite NPR shows, but come on, what a silly comparison to make for one episode of radio produced by a government agency. In 25 minutes, Direct Current flaunts better production value and storytelling than 99 percent of podcasts. I subscribed. (And here's the RSS link!)