This Sunday, Freakonomics Radio, one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 100 million downloads in 2020, will release its entire ten-year archive – that’s nearly 500 episodes – for free across all podcast platforms. In a moment when podcast content is becoming increasingly siloed behind competing platforms, Freakonomics Radio is staking its claim on free access for all. Up until now, only recent episodes have been available on all platforms, with the archives accessible only to users of the Stitcher podcast app.
“In the old days, I wrote books, like Freakonomics,” Stephen Dubner says. “And as every author will tell you, keeping all your books in print is incredibly important. I have the same feeling about my podcast: I want every episode available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
The opening of the archives comes as Freakonomics Radio continues an unprecedented growth streak. Last year, Dubner created the Freakonomics Radio Network, a podcast network which has already launched two shows: No Stupid Questions with Dubner and MacArthur Genius-winning author Angela Duckworth; and People I (Mostly) Admire, his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt’s first foray into podcast hosting. Both already garner hundreds of thousands of downloads a month.
To continue expanding, Freakonomics Radio Network has hired Mark McClusky (former head of Wired and Sports Illustrated’s digital platforms, best-selling author) as Editorial Director, working closely with Dubner and longtime Executive Producer Alison Craiglow, an Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist, to grow the show and network. There are multiple new Freakonomics Radio Network podcasts currently in development slated to debut in 2021.
In the past year, Freakonomics Radio has made news with everything from a two-part series on the racial wealth gap and the pros and cons of reparations to an interview with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey that went viral just last week. An ongoing series of special Covid-19 episodes has covered everything from the long-term impact of the pandemic on employment, healthcare, and cities, to the economics of vaccine development and distribution. Plus, of course, the show offered a whole bunch of episodes that transcend the news cycle — fascinating stories that upend conventional wisdom and that no one but Freakonomics Radio would come up with. The most recent episode asks the question: Do car seats actually make kids safer?