NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays, 7am - 9am
Scott Simon

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

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7:19am

Sat February 18, 2012
Simon Says

John Glenn, A Hero Well Before Orbiting Earth

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 2:29 pm

Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn demonstrates operations inside a Mercury capsule on Jan. 11, 1961.
AP

Fifty years ago, John Glenn was alone on top of a rocket waiting to blast into space and around the Earth. In these times, when people can become suddenly famous for doing so little, it may be good to recall the daring and imagination of that moment on Feb. 20, 1962.

Two Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, had already dauntlessly orbited the Earth. The Soviets kept their missions secret until they were under way, but John Glenn would fly with the eyes of the world watching every second.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Mortgage Woes Pock Irish Landscape

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Investor Counting On Ireland's Better Days

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As Phil reported, things are still pretty tough for the people of Ireland, but there's one man who thinks things there will start to look up before too long. He's prepared to put money on it, billions in fact.

Michael Hasenstab is what's known as a contrarian investor. He's just about the only person prepared to bet that Ireland's fortunes will greatly improve over the next couple of years. Michael Hasenstab joins us from Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California.

Thanks for being with us.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Roadblocks That Might Stall China's 'Unstoppable' Rise

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Throughout this last week while the Chinese vice president was visiting the United States, there was a lot of talk about America and American business finding new opportunities in China, selling more to Chinese consumers instead of just buying so much from the world's second largest economy. Many Americans also see China as an unstoppable economic force that's surpassing the United States. But how does all this look from China? We're going to now to NPR's Shanghai correspondent, Frank Langfitt. Frank, thanks for being with us.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

You Say 'Nay,' I Say 'Neigh': Goats Have Accents

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News,

Goats bleat. But a new study says: Not all in the same accent. Goats have accents, according to a new study from Queen Mary University in London. Now, a bleat from one group of goats sounds like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

SIMON: But no other goat would apparently confuse that bleat with the accent of this goat.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Any more than you'd confuse Kenneth Braunagh with Billy Bob Thornton.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

It's 'Shatner's World' And He Wants You To See It

William Shatner in Shatner's World: We Just Live In It on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. In the 90-minute show, Shatner illustrates some of his stories with photos and video clips.
Joan Marcus

Over the past half-century, the wild range of roles played by William Shatner has included a starship captain, a blowhard attorney and the man who can get you a deal on a hotel room.

Now, for the first time since John F. Kennedy was in the White House and James T. Kirk was just a glint in Gene Roddenberry's eye, Shatner has returned to Broadway and the stage.

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Wary Of Another Greek Bailout, EU Procrastinates

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Greek spoken)

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Payroll Tax Cut Brings Other Benefits

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Finally, The Physics Of The Ponytail Explained

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?

Keith, this is for real?

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Sports: Spring Training Begins; Basketball All-Star Ahead

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 9:16 am

It's the beginning of the beginning of baseball season, and two major thumpers have jumped leagues. Plus, basketball makes it to a midpoint, and suddenly you have to ask: Who's really the best team in Los Angeles? Host Scott Simon talks with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the sports of the week.

7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Michigan Brakes For Santorum

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

That Michigan primary is just in 10 days and the contest there is turning to be closer than expected. Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. His father, George Romney, ran a car company there. He was the governor. But Santorum has come on strong and even ahead in current polls. We're joined now by another son of Michigan, NPR's Don Gonyea, live in our studio, who spent the week in his home state. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: My pleasure. Good to be here.

SIMON: What's the latest?

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7:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Troubled U.S. Bobsled Team Races For A Championship

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The best bobsled racers in the world are in Lake Placid, New York this weekend, competing in the World Championships. There's big drama this year for the American team. After capturing a historic gold medal two years ago at the winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the U.S. has struggled, and lost ground to the Europeans. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, American sledders hope to prove on their home track that they can still compete.

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5:27pm

Fri February 17, 2012
Music Interviews

Roberta Flack's Long And Winding Road

Roberta Flack's new album, Let It Be Roberta, is a collection of reworked Beatles favorites.
Brian T. Silak Courtesy of the artist

Roberta Flack has been singing in a way that plucks at the heartstrings since 1969, when she recorded the breakthrough song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." She followed that hit with many, many more, including, "Killing Me Softly with His Song," "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You."

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7:54am

Sat February 11, 2012
Simon Says

Ralph Nader's $2,680 Airplane Aisle Seat

When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.

Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.

The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.

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7:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
NPR Story

Rising Violence Claims A General In Syria's Capital

Syria's state-run news agency says a high-ranking military officer has been assassinated. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports the attack comes as violence in Syria is quickly escalating.

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