10 things to know about ‘The Pulse,’ the award-winning WHYY News health and science radio show

On any given week, “The Pulse” team is digging around for unique and fascinating health and science topics for the podcast. Here, they share a few fun facts.

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The team of

The team of "The Pulse," WHYY's weekly health and science show, meet to discuss story ideas. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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It was Dec. 6, 2013.

That day was the debut of ‘The Pulse,’ a new program focusing on stories at the “heart of health and science” each week. Today, the locally-produced podcast is heard across the nation.

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We wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain and share some fun facts about ‘The Pulse’ on its 10-year anniversary. These facts were contributed by ‘Pulse’ team members Lindsay Lazarski, Nichole Currie and Marcus Biddle.

  1. The Pulse” can be heard on over 100 NPR member stations across the U.S. and one station in Paris, France. In May 2023, it was added to the national newscast NPR One Network.
  2. Interns are beloved by “The Pulse.” Many of the current team members began as interns at WHYY News, including host and executive producer Maiken Scott!
  3. Host Maiken Scott and engineer Charlie Kaier are both original team members who have been working on the show for 10 years.
  4. The staff has interviewed the country’s leading scientists, such as astronauts who have traveled to space. Once Maiken even interviewed a marine biologist while he was in a deep-sea research submersible at the bottom of the ocean.
  5. One of the most popular “Pulse” stories is about why people drink tomato juice on planes.
  6. In 2022, “The Pulse” and Local Trance Media launched a limited-run podcast called “Serum” that follows the life and work of Gary Davis, a Black physician from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was working on a potential cure for AIDS, and the quest to find out what happened to it.
  7. Over the past few summers, “The Pulse” has collaborated with WHYY’s Pathways to Media Careers Youth Employment Project to produce shows focused on teens: how they’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health challenges they face,  and how they navigate those challenges.
  8. “The Pulse” earned two regional Murrow Awards: The first in news documentary for their episode, “The Battle Over Autism Therapy ABA,” featuring Liz Tung’s reporting. The second award was in excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion for the story, “How a clinical tool meant to predict kidney function could be hurting Black patients,” by Sojourner Ahébée.
  9. “The Pulse” was featured on an episode of “Chasing Life,” by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
  10. “The Pulse” collaborated with The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University to host a conversation between Maiken Scott and science journalist Ed Yong about his book, “An Immense World,” on the many wild sensory experiences in the animal kingdom. Yong’s work in The Atlantic provided critical coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the history of the mRNA vaccine, breaking down the mental health effects of the public health crisis, and demystifying long COVID.

Learn more about “The Pulse” and the team here.

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