On NPR's new weekly one-hour program "It's Been a Minute," host Sam Sanders talks with journalists, newsmakers, and listeners about news, popular culture, and the Internet. Think of it as an irreverent, casual space for listeners who don't know how to process the pace of current events, but can't think about anything else.
As a former key member of NPR's election unit, Sam covered the intersection of culture, pop culture, and politics in the 2016 election, and was one of the original co-hosts of the NPR Politics Podcast, which launched in 2015. In his free time, Sanders runs, eats bacon, and continues his love/hate relationship with Twitter.
Sam is a San Antonio native, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of the Incarnate Word, where he double majored in political science and music. He graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 with a master's degree in public policy.
Learn more about Sam below, and hear the weekly one-hour program It's Been a Minute on Saturdays at 3:00 on all of Texas Public Radio's news/information stations.
Q. Why did you decide to make It's Been a Minute?
A. What I really see the show doing is taking the conversations I have with my friends and colleagues all the time, about current events, and everything -- taking those conversations and putting them on the radio. Smart conversations. Newsy conversations -- but loose, and conversational. Also, when I talk with my friends, we talk about everything. That new Lorde album AND the state of the nuclear Iran deal. That thing that's trending on Twitter, and your friend who just had a baby. The show purposefully includes our listeners sharing some of the joyful stuff going on in our lives. That's the goal of the show. Having those wide-ranging smart conversations that feel a bit like the ones you might have at the watercooler, or happy hour.
Q. What do you hope listeners take away from listening to the show?
A. We hope the show hits them like a good novel. We hope they hear truths and ideas about the week's events that resonate with them, but that they maybe hadn't articulated in their own head. But also -- ideas and voices that challenge them, that are new to them, that surprise them. And the pipeline for all that stuff is good, fun, human conversation. We also hope the show reminds people that it's ok to still have questions, and to still be figuring out just how to feel about everything going on in the world right now. And in some parts of the show, particularly some of those deep dives and our "Best Thing All Week" segment, we're really trying to remind people that we're all still human, that regardless of the crazy in the news cycle, we can still find some joy, and even humor in all of our weeks.
Q. Who's your dream interviewee or panelist, and why?
A. I'd really enjoy a conversation with former President Obama. And I've been itching to talk with Senator Lindsay Graham since I was on the campaign trail. Also Kate McKinnon from SNL. I think we could have a conversation that would be the perfect mix of politics, comedy and pop culture. (And J.Lo, because I'm fascinated in the amazing longevity of her career.)
Q. In the spirit of your segment "Best Thing All Week," what's the best thing about making a show like this?
A. For sure our listeners. We couldn't do this without them. They helped us create the show in (the app) NPR One, and their voices are a big part of every episode each week.