UNC research professor Brian Southwell hosts the show, based out of Durham, every Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. on 90.7 FM. Southwell said a podcast version of the show is later uploaded to iTunes by the following Wednesday and can be downloaded for free.
Southwell said he believes the work social scientists do is heroic and interesting. The 30-minute segment based on conversation allows for researchers to discuss their findings and tell honest stories.
“We increasingly live in a world where there’s need for interest in the type of work social scientists do,” Southwell said.
Karla Jimenez, senior producer and UNC class of 2014 graduate, said she and the rest of the team spend a lot of time discussing potential guests and topics.
While some topics do overlap with headlines in the news, Southwell said he focuses mainly on the research aspect and tries not to be episodic. He wants the show to be timeless.
Jimenez said the issues raised have implications reaching farther than just the U.S., with one of the more memorable episodes discussing human trafficking. Guests have included a Google researcher, Congress member David Price and UNC professors.
“How do you humanize research and researchers?” Jimenez asked. “By telling stories.”
The show has been downloaded in 40 countries and has attracted a fervent fan base from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where he has more than 600 likes and followers.
Kevin Monroe, of Virginia, said he stumbled across the radio show’s Facebook page due to his networking connections.
Although he hasn’t personally listened to the show, he said he cares about issues such as sexual assault and gun violence on college campuses.
“It sounds like something worth checking out,” he said.
After celebrating the show’s being on air for a year this January, Southwell and Jimenez are now looking forward in 2016.
The show has had no formal advertising and mostly relies on social media and fans’ word of mouth.
Southwell said he believes the show will continue to grow and evolve.
The show’s main goal in moving forward is finding new ways to connect with the audience, including the possibility of expanding to other ACC schools.
“We’re not overly produced,” Southwell said of the show. “It’s just good conversations with people who you might not realize how interesting they are.”