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Top 2020 Podcast Episodes From Texas Public Radio

Art by Rob Martinez

TPR welcomed three new podcasts this year, bringing the station's total to six. Our most-listened to episodes include stories about the early days of the pandemic and its economic fallout, as well as stories that explore the history and culture of San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley and highlight new works of literature.

More than 400,000 listeners contributed to 780,000+ downloads: our biggest numbers ever. Here are TPR's most popular podcast episodes of 2020:

The Shakeout: Oil Is In Trouble. So Is Texas.
The Shakeout Podcast

The oil industry is in the midst of one of the worst busts on record. The price of oil is one-third less than it was in January, and for every dollar the price drops, Texas stands to lose $85 million a year in economic impact. The Shakeout traveled to Midland and Odessa to talk to people who work in and around the oil fields about how they are weathering the collapse in the market.


Petrie Dish: Clocking in: Meet the Essential Workers Whose Jobs Never Stopped, Despite the Risks

A huge swath of the American workforce is unable to work from home, and the repercussions of a crowded workplace, rather than one that is social-distanced, are gradually becoming clear. The Petrie Dish team heard from essential workers about their worries on the job and their struggle to stay safe.


The Source: The History And Impact Of San Antonio's Often Overlooked 'West Side Sound'

The genre of music known as the "West Side Sound" was a distinctly San Antonio and South-Central Texas cultural phenomenon. Contrary to its name, the "West Side Sound" did not actually originate on the West Side of San Antonio and is not a singular sound that can be easily categorized. Alex La Rotta, music historian and author of the dissertation“Talk to Me: The History of San Antonio’s West Side Sound," joins The Source to discuss the genre's social, cultural and historical roots.


Fronteras: Comedian, Writer Cristela Alonzo On Imposter Syndrome, Music, And The Rio Grande Valley

Cristela Alonzo is a comedian, writer, producer, and actor. She’s a native of the Rio Grande Valley and doesn’t want you to forget it. Alonzo took the tour to her hometown of McAllen in November. That’s where Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leaños, Jr. — another native of the Valley — interviewed her for Fronteras. In this conversation, she talks about growing up poor, her love of the Valley and its people, and why Latino representation in Hollywood is just as important behind the camera as it is in front.


Texas Matters: The Great Coronavirus Shutdown Of 2020

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Texas and a dire prediction of overwhelmed hospitals – on Thursday, March 19, Gov. Greg Abbott explained how quickly the situation was developing. Texas Matters explored the emergency temporary closing of restaurants and bars in Texas, which was necessary to combat the social spread of COVID-19. But it was a heavy blow to a significant part of the state’s economy and for the workers who depend on the tips and paychecks they receive for their labors. Schools also closed to in-person instruction and hospitals struggled to treat the high number of patients.


Book Public: 'Maggie Brown & Others': Peter Orner On the Power Of The Short Story

Peter Orner has been called a “writer’s writer.” His latest short story collection, "Maggie Brown & Others," helps us understand the truth of this statement and Orner’s profound love for the short story. Highlights from his interview on Book Public include releasing a book during the pandemic, and the connection between reading and writing.

Read TPR's top local news stories here.

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