Planet Money

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Planet Money
NPR Planet Money cover art.jpg
Hosted by
Genre Economic, Culture, Business
Language English
Updates Twice Weekly
Length 20-25 minutes
Production Alex Goldmark, Nick Fountain, Sally Helm, Bryant Urstadt
Original release September 6, 2008 – present
Provider National Public Radio / Chicago Public Media

Planet Money is an American podcast and blog produced by NPR, in association with Chicago Public Media, producers of the program This American Life.[1] Using "creative and entertaining" dialogue and narrative, Planet Money claims to be "The Economy Explained".[2]


The podcast launched on September 6, 2008 to cover the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 in the wake of the Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was created after the success of "The Giant Pool of Money", an episode of This American Life.[3] As of 2018, episodes are hosted by Robert Smith, Stacey Vanek Smith, Kenny Malone, Ailsa Chang, Jacob Goldstein and Noel King.


The length of the podcasts ranges between 6-30 minutes. Planet Money uses abridged narratives to tackle popular complex topics like American health care[4] or insider trading[5], to make economic journalism approachable to audiences that are interested in learning more about popular economic issues without an academic background in economics. The episodes are typically stand-alone. The interviewees or guest range from academic experts, business professionals or general members of the North American public. Providing listeners with primary source material, the podcast's host contributes contextual framing and commentary. The intimate stories are used as a leading thread and use commonplace language with entertaining plots to describe abstract or complex economic and political issues. This method of entertainment translates political or economic topics, that were historically dependent on academic language and higher education, to stories that engage the general public. This technique allows for larger and/or younger audiences while continuing to maintain contact with original markets by drawing from popular topics within North American culture[6]

Planet Money also provides regular reports for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and occasional episodes of This American Life. Planet Money was the first to report the small print in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that allowed deviation from the original Paulson plan.[7] Senator Max Baucus praised the show's attempts to explain the financial crisis "in terms the average American starts to understand".[8] Planet Money episodes have been incorporated into undergraduate microeconomics and macroeconomics courses at some universities.[9][10]

Planet Money was involved in a series about the Wells Fargo account fraud scandal, which earned NPR a 2016 Peabody Award.[11]

External projects[edit]

On February 28, 2018, the first episode of Planet Money Shorts was released[12]. Planet Money Shorts consists of six episodes, each of which is less than five minutes. Planet Money is published by NPR and can be streamed or downloaded off of their webpage as an audio file or watched with visuals on their YouTube channel.

In 2017, The Indicator was launched as Planet Money's first spin-off hosted by Planet Money's Stacey Vanek Smith and the Financial Times' Cardiff Garcia[13] With a similar storytelling approach, it delivers faster, shorter podcasts, more frequently. Each episode breaks down a big idea, using Planet Money's style of witty entertainment-journalism. Each episode is approximately 10 minutes or less and is published every weekday.

Planet Money has launched unique projects including buying 100 barrels of crude oil and followed it from ground to gas tank; launched a satellite and built an algorithmic trading Twitter bot [2]. Inspired by the book: The Travels Of A T-shirt In The Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli, the Planet Money team made a T-shirt and followed the shirt in a step-by-step journey from resource production to manufacturing, around the world [14]. The design for the shirt was a squirrel hoisting a martini glass, which was meant to reference the economist John Maynard Keynes' phrase for the human elements in economics, the “animal spirits” [14]. More than 25,000 of the shirts were sold online. The t-shirt sales were used as an effort that ultimately wound up on Kickstarter and turned out, unexpectedly, to be a runaway hit, raising more than 10x their original target of $50K [15]. As Executive Producer, Alex Blumberg worked with Pietra Rivoli as Project Advisor and Kainaz Amaria, Brian Boyer and Joshua Davis as Managing Producers.


  1. ^ Schumacher-Matos, Edward (June 22, 2011). "Planet Money Misfires on Local Economic Developers". NPR Ombudsman Blog. NPR. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2012. Planet Money is a joint venture between NPR and This American Life. 
  2. ^ a b "About Planet Money". April 1, 2010. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  3. ^ "'Giant Pool Of Money' Named To Decade Top 10 List". Planet Money. April 5, 2010. Archived from the original on April 8, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 'The Giant Pool of Money'—the hour-long This American Life episode that explained the housing bust and gave rise to Planet Money—was just named one of the top 10 works of U.S. journalism of the past decade. 
  4. ^ "Costly Care In America". March 27, 2018. Archived from the original on April 10, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  5. ^ "An Insider Trader Tells All". March 23, 2018. Archived from the original on April 10, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  6. ^ Shaywitz, David (August 6, 2013). "Is Planet Money Bad For The Podcast Economy?". Forbes. Archived from the original on April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Fine Print: A 'Back-Door' Bailout?". Planet Money Blog. October 3, 2008. Archived from the original on April 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Treasury Sec. Geithner explores ways to pay for health care". C-SPAN archives. March 4, 2009. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Moryl, R. (2013). "T-shirts, moonshine, and autopsies: Using podcasts to engage undergraduate microeconomics students". International Review of Economics Education. 13: 67. doi:10.1016/j.iree.2013.02.001. 
  10. ^ Luther, W. J. (2014). "Using NPR's Planet Money Podcast in Principles of Macroeconomics". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2391013. 
  11. ^ "2016 Peabody Award For NPR's Investigation Of Wells Fargo Scandal". Archived from the original on July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Watch Planet Money Shorts". March 30, 2018. Archived from the original on April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  13. ^ "NPR Launches The Indicator from Planet Money". December 4, 2017. Archived from the original on April 10, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b "NPR T-shirt: How We Did This". NPR. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  15. ^ Shaywitz, David (August 6, 2013). "Is Planet Money Bad For The Podcast Economy?". Forbes Magazine. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018. 

External links[edit]