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Hearsay Culture celebrates 200th episode milestone

Hearsay Culture, the Stanford University radio show and podcast founded and hosted by Elon Law professor David S. Levine, celebrated its 200th show in January.  Since its founding in 2006, the show has featured internationally prominent authors, scholars and thought leaders examining the relationship between technology, law and culture.  

Elon Law professor David S. Levine

Hearsay Culture airs on KZSU 90.1 FM in the San Francisco bay area. Podcasts of Hearsay Culture are available here.

Levine says his goal for Hearsay Culture has been to bring issues and ideas that deserve attention to a broader audience. He sees the show as an extension of his approach to teaching and notes that he wants the show to be equally educational “for the neophyte and the expert.” 

“I am a firm believer that society improves when information is readily available,” Levine said. “That is part of the reason I interview the people that I do, because I think that their ideas and what they are writing about are important and interesting and should be brought to a wider audience.”  

Episodes of Hearsay Culture often focus broadly on social impacts of modern technology, exploring subjects like the influence of social media on concepts of privacy and secrecy, the roles of online technology in social movements and the future of Internet governance globally. Hearsay Culture also explores specific topics in depth, examining issues like patent reform, open source software, cyber crime and international trade agreements.

Denise Howell, co-host of the technology talk show This Week in Law, recently interviewed Levine on Hearsay Culture for the 200th episode. She noted the value of Internet-based news and information programs like Hearsay Culture during her interview with Levine.

“Both in the law and in the area of technology over the last couple of decades it seems like we have really seen this amazing opening up of academia, and people who used to talk amongst themselves behind closed doors and in ways that were not accessible or transparent to the rest of the world,” Howell said. “Now a lot more of those conversations are taking place in public. The public has a lot more access to kinds of discussions and high-level policy considerations that ultimately impact government than they ever have before.”

Hearsay Culture has received a number of awards and accolades. In 2008, the American Bar Association placed Hearsay Culture in its Blawg 100. The only year that it included a podcast category, the ABA Journal named Hearsay Culture one of the “top 100 best Web sites by lawyers, for lawyers” and one of the top five programs in the podcast category. Recently, Harvard University’s Radio Berkman mentioned Hearsay Culture as one of its six favorite podcasts.

Guests have offered positive comments about the show. During his interview, University Professor at the University of Southern California Manual Castells described Hearsay Culture as “[an] excellent show that is part of this new communications environment in which people can be offered a way to reflect rather than to react.” 

Ned Snow, associate professor of law at the University of South Carolina School of Law and an expert in Intellectual Property (IP) law, wryly told Levine, “You are the Dave Letterman of IP professors.”

Listeners also offer feedback. One listener wrote in saying, “you have definitely inspired me to create my own content and share it with the world.” Another thanked Levine for the show “and your own personal time and energy” put into it. 

A sample of the show’s more than 200 guests indicates the range of scholars and public policy thought leaders who have discussed their work on Hearsay Culture: 

  • Steven Aftergood, director, Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists
  • Nick Bostrom, philosophy professor and director of both the Future of Humanity Institute and the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, Oxford University
  • Jamais Cascio, selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Thinkers, 2009
  • Manuel Castells, University Professor and the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California
  • Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, McGill University
  • Laura DeNardis, professor, School of Communications, American University, and Margot Kaminski, former and current Executive Directors, respectively, of Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. 
  • Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law
  • Mark Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
  • Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School
  • Kristin Lord, acting president, United States Institute of Peace
  • Annalee Newitz, Editor-in-Chief, io9, an online science and science fiction news publication
  • Deborah Peel, physician, psychoanalyst and member of the board of directors, Patient Privacy Rights Foundation
  • Brad Stone, senior writer, Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Victoria Stodden, assistant professor of statistics, Columbia University
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor an chair, department of media studies, University of Virginia
  • Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School.

Highlights of forthcoming episodes of Hearsay Culture include:

  • Orly Lobel, Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law, University of San Diego School of Law (air date, Feb. 26)
  • Susan Sell, professor of political science and international affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Peter Swire, member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies and Nancy J. and Lawrence P. Huang Professor, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jennifer Urban, assistant clinical professor of law and co-director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, Berkeley Law
  • Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the Center for Civic Media, MIT

Levine says he looks forward to many more shows and thanked the show’s guests and listeners. 

“There are many people who get the show on the air, from KZSU DJs to Joe Neto and Elaine Adolfo at Stanford Law, and my colleagues at Elon who support my efforts,” Levine said. “I am grateful to all of them. And, of course, thanks much to my guests and listeners who have made this such a fun and rewarding experience. Here’s to 200 more shows!”

Levine is an associate professor of law at Elon University School of Law and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

More information about Elon Law professor David Levine is available here.

More information about Hearsay Culture is available here.

Philip Craft,
2/17/2014 1:30 PM