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Jad Abumrad

Making "Dolly Parton's America"

Abumrad Jad
Photo: Lizzy Johnston 

Friday, March 5, 2021
8:00 pm


Virtual Event

This event will take place online - please see listing for information on how to attend.


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

Jad Abum­rad is the host and cre­ator of Radi­o­lab, a pub­lic radio pro­gram broad­cast on nearly 600 sta­tions across the nation and down­loaded more than 12 mil­lion times a month as a pod­cast. Abum­rad employs his dual back­grounds as com­poser and jour­nal­ist to cre­ate what’s been called a new aes­thetic” in broad­cast jour­nal­ism. He orches­trates dia­logue, music, inter­views, and sounds into com­pelling doc­u­men­taries that draw lis­ten­ers into inves­ti­ga­tions of oth­er­wise intim­i­dat­ing top­ics, such as the nature of num­bers, the evo­lu­tion of altru­ism, or the legal foun­da­tion for the war on ter­ror. He’s won three George Fos­ter Peabody Awards, and in 2011 Abum­rad was hon­ored as a MacArthur Fel­low (also known as the Genius Grant).

The MacArthur Foun­da­tion web­site says: Abum­rad is inspir­ing bound­less curios­ity within a new gen­er­a­tion of lis­ten­ers and exper­i­ment­ing with sound to find ever more effec­tive and enter­tain­ing ways to explain ideas and tell a story.”

Abum­rad also cre­ated and hosted three sea­sons of More Per­fect, a series about untold sto­ries of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times called “…pos­si­bly the most mes­mer­iz­ing pod­cast.” And in 2019, along with OSM Audio’s Shima Oli­aee, Jad Abum­rad cre­ated Dolly Parton’s Amer­ica, a Peabody Award-win­ning 9‑part series that explores a divided Amer­ica through the life and music of one its great­est icons. Along­side his radio work, Abum­rad con­tin­ues to work as a com­poser and remixer and is cur­rently host­ing a radio show on Apple Music.

For this speaker series event, Abum­rad will be in con­ver­sa­tion with Chris Azzopardi, edi­tor of Q Syn­di­cate, the national LGBTQ wire ser­vice serv­ing LGBTQ pub­li­ca­tions across the United States. Azzopardi is also a con­trib­u­tor to The New York Times and has writ­ten for Van­ity Fair, GQ, Bill­board, and Oprah Mag­a­zine. His 2014 inter­view with Dolly Par­ton was pub­lished in an anthol­ogy of inter­views span­ning her life and career, enti­tled Dolly on Dolly: Inter­views and Encoun­ters with Dolly Par­ton. Over the course of Azzopardi’s career, he has inter­viewed musi­cians, actors, allies, and icons includ­ing Bey­oncé, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, and Mariah Carey. Locally, his sto­ries are pub­lished in Michi­gan’s LGBTQ news­pa­per Between The Lines.