“Terrence McNally consistently goes for the long ball.”

Robert Wright, The Moral Animal; The Politics of God.

“…Grounds for hope, rays of light, and a damn fine hour of radio.”

Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence; Ecological Intelligence.


Free Forum explores the lives, work and ideas of individuals I suspect hold pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work. We look at new, innovative and provocative approaches to business, environment, health, science, politics, media, and culture – all based on the fact that I believe we can do better and I want to find out how. Guests include Michael Lewis, Atul Gawande, Temple Grandin, Nicholas Kristof, Cornel West, Arianna Huffington, Craig Venter, and Father Greg Boyle. Recorded from 1996-2014, Progressive Voices streams the most memorable interviews weekly. Podcast are, of course, available any time.


You can browse podcasts below, search by name of guest in the Search window at the top of the site, or check the alphabetical list of guests here.


  • HEDRICK SMITH’s PBS doc THE DEMOCRACY REBELLION celebrates grassroots reform victories

    I talk with HEDRICK SMITH, Pulitzer-winning former New York Times reporter and Emmy-winning producer/correspondent, about THE DEMOCRACY REBELLION, his PBS documentary on grassroots movements who are winning political reform victories, state by state. Six states, six successful campaigns take on Citizens United, gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc. Learn more at Check here for PBS airdates.

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  • 60s.2.0 Meets OK Boomer – Necessary Allies

    My 20-minute commentary calls for Millennials and Boomers with shared values to forge a movement large enough, creative enough, diverse enough, and powerful enough to successfully confront the critical problems we face. 60s.2.0 – 21st century tech in the service of the best of ‘60s values – meets OK Boomer – the impatience of the young with the failures of the old. “If the challenges we face are big enough to turn us against each other, then they must be big enough to bring us together.”

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  • PAULA DANIELS – Transforming the American Food System One School District at a Time

    I talk with PAULA DANIELS, Co-Founder, Chief of What’s Next, and Chair of the Board of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, about what it takes to pull together elements of politics, government, business, entrepreneurism, science, and more to move the needle on a huge and complex system. The Center uses the power of procurement to create a food system that prioritizes the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. As its’s goals and standards are adopted by a growing national network of major food purchasers such as school districts, the program exerts growing leverage on the larger food system in America. You can learn more at

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  • MICHAEL APTED, 63 UP – the unique documentary series 56 years in the making

    In 1964, the original 7 UP – in which children talked about their hopes and dreams – was broadcast as a one-off special in the UK. Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter; Gorillas in the Mist), took over as director on 14 UP and has returned to interview these same 14 individuals every seven years since. Roger Ebert, A few months before his death, wrote of the series, “It is a mystery, this business of life. I can’t think of any cinematic undertaking that allows us to realize that more deeply.” 63 UP is in theatres.

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  • How did we get here? HENRY LOUIS GATES, America Behind the Color Line (2004)

    Here’s my conversation with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates on his 2004 television project America Behind the Color Line. Since the late 60’s, two distinct classes emerged within Black America: a Black middle class and what some argue is a self-perpetuating Black underclass. One glaring example: the percentage of black children in poverty was about the same as the day Martin Luther King was assassinated. Gates asks, how can we bridge this class divide?

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  • How did we get here? PAUL KRUGMAN, The Great Unraveling (2003)

    Here’s my 2003 conversation with Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on his book The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century. He was one of few in the mainstream media to accuse George Bush of lying to to sell a tax cut and a war. He saw in the Bush-Cheney administration a radical group that rejects the legitimacy of key elements of the system itself. Sound familiar?

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  • Tap the Unique Power of Story and Narrative

    In this podcast, I go solo. Rather than interviewing others, I share with you the best of the work I do to help organizations develop more engaging narratives and tell better stories. Learn why narrative is uniquely powerful as well as the recipe for a good story – whether in a Hollywood screenplay or a one-to-one conversation. 

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  • LAWRENCE LESSIG – They’re Not Representing Us-and what we need to do about it

    In his latest book, THEY DON’T REPRESENT US: Reclaiming Our Democracy, Harvard Law School professor LAWRENCE LESSIG points out big problems the U.S. is NOT solving, and adds, “The crisis in America is not its president. Its president is the consequence of a crisis much more fundamental…The core problem with our democracy today is that it is essentially unrepresentative. We should secure, finally, a representative democracy…let’s just try it for once… and see if things get better.” We talk about how democracy is broken and how we can fix it.

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  • FOR SAMA- Best doc at Cannes & SXSW – inside the siege of Aleppo, Syria

    The documentary FOR SAMA – airing on PBS Tuesday 11/19 – takes us inside Aleppo during the brutal siege by al Assad and the Russians. Waad al-Kateab began shooting graffiti on university walls and a revolution rose around her – followed by an overwhelming response. Best Doc, Cannes Film Festival, Doc Grand Jury Prize, SXSW. I talk with directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, and with Dr. Hamza al-Kateab, who ran the last hospital in East Aleppo. Listen. You’ll get a unique feel for life – and death – in Syria. Learn more at

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  • JOHN NICHOLS – Getting Impeachment Right & Winning the Rust Belt in 2020

    The impeachment hearings have started and we’re a year away from the 2020 election. Who better to talk to about how to get impeachment right and how to beat Trump in the Rust Belt states next year than JOHN NICHOLS. He’s National Affairs correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. Not only that, he also wrote the book, THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism. Join us we talk about all this and more.

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