Derek John

Derek L. John is a Peabody Award-winning Editor, Reporter & Producer.

Derek L. John is a Peabody Award-winning Editor, Reporter & Producer. A 15-year veteran of public radio stations WNYC and WBEZ, he often freelances for NPR, Marketplace and Studio 360. He’s produced several documentaries for Audible Originals including 100:1 The Crack Legacy and Gamebreaker w/ Keith Olbermann, which featured his 3-part investigation of the Steubenville rape case. He recently served as Executive Producer of Slate’s Upon Further Review podcast and is a regular contributor to WNYC Studios including Radiolab’s More Perfect, The New Yorker Radio Hour and Death, Sex & Money. He’s currently working on a documentary for ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts. A prolific sound designer, he received a national Murrow Award for "Best Use of Sound.” He holds a Masters in Journalism from NYU, where he later taught a graduate radio course.

Derek John appears in the following:

Leonard Bernstein’s Black America

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Leonard Bernstein marched in Selma with Harry Belafonte, and his campaign for racial justice involved empowering black conductors and soloists. Host Terrance McKnight tells this story.

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Leonard Bernstein’s Black America

Friday, August 24, 2018

Leonard Bernstein marched in Selma with Harry Belafonte, and his campaign for racial justice involved empowering black conductors and soloists. Host Terrance McKnight tells this story.
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Cristina Henriquez’s Favorite Place

Friday, December 15, 2017

A visit to the Hinsdale Public Library with the writer Cristina Henriquez.    

Sharon Jones's Soul Revival

Monday, November 28, 2016

The effervescent performer Sharon Jones, who died last week, reinvented an American anthem — and brought 1960s soul and funk music back to the mainstage.
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DJ Shadow’s Record-Breaking Album

Monday, November 14, 2016

DJ Shadow set a world record for creating an album made up entirely of samples, many of them from LPs he rescued from the 50-cent bin.
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July 12, 1979: 'The Night Disco Died' — Or Didn't

Saturday, July 16, 2016

One muggy Thursday, 50,000 rowdy rock fans packed Chicago's Comiskey Park to see disc jockey Steve Dahl blow up a crate of disco records. That evening's stunt helped birth a new musical movement.

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American Icons: 'The Outsiders'

Thursday, May 05, 2016

S.E. Hinton was a teenager herself when she wrote a novel that broke all the rules of young adult fiction.

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Have 5 Hours To Spare? See Bolaño's Epic '2666' Onstage

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Roberto Bolaño's posthumous novel 2666 weighs in at more than 900 pages — a challenging read, to say the least. Now Chicago's Goodman Theatre has adapted it as a 5 1/2 hour stage production.

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American Icons: "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When Malcolm X was assassinated at 39, his book nearly died with him. Today it stands as a milestone in America’s struggle with race.

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That Time NPR Turned 'Star Wars' Into A Radio Drama — And It Actually Worked

Friday, December 18, 2015

In the 1980s, NPR looked to the film saga to help boost audience numbers. it bought the rights from George Lucas (for $1) and got the original Luke Skywalker. The result was an overwhelming success.

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Aha Moment: Peanuts in Panama

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Victoria de Puy and her daughter Geraldine came to understand their relationship through the friendship of Snoopy and Woodstock.

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40 Years Later, The Cast Of 'Cooley High' Looks Back

Friday, June 26, 2015

A classic of black cinema celebrated its 40th birthday on June 25. Cooley High showed a slice of urban life rarely seen in "blaxploitation" movies of the time. Set in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project, it became a touchstone for filmmakers like John Singleton and Spike Lee.

The opening credits ...

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Classic Of Black Cinema, 'Cooley High,' Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amid the blaxploitation craze, Cooley High showed a slice of urban life rarely seen on the big screen. It is a bittersweet coming-of-age story set in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green housing project.

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Discovering an Imaginary Soul Star

Thursday, March 19, 2015

He’s made more albums than anyone else, but you’ve never heard a note he’s played.

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Herb Alpert Isn’t Complaining

Friday, August 29, 2014

The leader of the Tijuana Brass kicked off a 50-year career in music by zoning out and missing his cue in an orchestra performance.

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Talib Kweli's Rap With a Conscience

Friday, April 25, 2014

Talib Kweli made a name for himself in the late ‘90s as one half of the hip hop duo Black Star, with Mos Def. Since then, Kweli has carried on the tradition of socially conscious hi...

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Romare Bearden: An Artist in Winter

Friday, January 04, 2013

Probably the most famous African-American visual artist of the 20th century, Romare Bearden was best known for a singular approach to collage art that incorporated scraps of wallpaper...

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Craig Marks: I Want My MTV

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thirty years ago, hardly anyone knew what a music video was. On the night MTV was launched, its founders — a ragtag bunch of music fans and rookie television execs — took a bus from M...

Comments [42]

Marvin Hamlisch's Hollywood

Friday, August 10, 2012

For almost half a century, the composer Marvin Hamlisch made his way into our heads with ballad after show-stopping ballad, including “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line and the ...

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Aha Moment: Whoopi Goldberg

Friday, June 01, 2012

WNYC listener Julie Bayley grew up watching daytime talk shows to catch comics like Rodney Dangerfield. But there weren’t any comedians like her: female and black. Then Bayley saw W...

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