Planetary Radio

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Planetary Radio
Genre Astronomy, Space Exploration
Running time 30 minutes
Country United States
Home station KUCI
Announcer Mat Kaplan
Creator(s) Mat Kaplan
Producer(s) Mat Kaplan
Air dates since 2002 (at KUCI)

Planetary Radio is a weekly 30-minute radio show devoted to space exploration and astronomy, hosted and produced by Mat Kaplan and The Planetary Society. Every week, it consists mostly of interviews and telephone-based conversations with a scientist, engineer, project manager, artist, a writer and an astronaut. It made its debut on the Internet on November 25, 2002, with an interview with Planetary Society executive director Louis D. Friedman, in Windows Media. At the same time, KUCI started airing Planetary Radio on its schedule, and in February 2004, WMUH added it to its schedule. It became available in MP3 format for download in early July 2004. Starting from May 2005, it is also available as a podcast.


Initially, the shows begins with the summary of what's coming up. Immediately the "Random Space Facts" segment by Emily Lakdawalla follows, but since 2003, it was replaced by "Questions and Answers". Space Headlines are introduced before this segment in the mid-to-late 2004. With the introduction of a segment by Bill Nye, the Science Guy, the segment becomes the update from Emily herself, primarily from her blog on the Planetary Society website.

After these initial segments, a guest (or more) is presented, whether live or by telephone, and answers from the interviewer, in this case, Kaplan himself. Sometimes, the conversation among guests are recorded. There was another live recording, called Planetary Radio Live, in which a speaker or guest speaks. Occasionally, Planetary Radio will cover proceedings of conferences related to the exploration of space.

At the end of the program, a light-hearted segment called "What's Up" with Bruce Betts usually highlights where and when you can see significant astronomical events that week, a random space fact, an announcement of any anniversaries, and a space trivia contest where randomly chosen participants can usually win a T-shirt, poster or calendar.

Current stations and services[edit]

As of June 2009 there are over 150 radio stations and services across the US and the world currently broadcasting Planetary Radio, along with Sirius XM Satellite Radio.[1]

Historical guests[edit]

Many of the speakers are significant individuals in their fields in science, engineering and technology. Prior guests have included science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, leaders in industry like Elon Musk, and many astronauts like Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride.


Over 300 episodes of Planetary Radio have been produced to date as of October 2008. Archives of previous shows are available and new programs are normally released on Mondays.


  1. ^ Planetary Radio Carriage Guide, The Planetary Society Web Site, retrieved 2007-01-15

External links[edit]