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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8:37am

Sat March 22, 2014
Around the Nation

Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:38 pm

On a typical weekday, riders make a total of about 300,000 trips on the Chicago Metra commuter line.
M. Spencer Green AP

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day.

"It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line, too.

"I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains.

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6:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Movie Interviews

'Flaco And Max' Keep A South Texas Musical Tradition Thriving

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Conjunto music can be as American as cherry pie - with Mexican and German flavoring:

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLACO AND MAX: (Singing in foreign language)

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6:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Sports

Mercer, Dayton Break The Brackets

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 10:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And the upsets keep coming in the NCAA tournament. Do they call it March Madness because Coach K at Duke, probably a little mad at the way his Blue Devils played. ESPN.com's Howard Bryant joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Oh, good morning, Scott.

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6:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Animals

Put Haggis In The Feeder, And Other Scottish Bird Feeding Tips

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 10:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Springtime is just about to bloom. So how do you attract a few good-looking birds? To the gardener balcony, that is. We're joined now by Malcie Smith, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He joins us from the studios of the BBC in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Thanks very much for being with us.

MALCIE SMITH: Hi, Scott. You're welcome.

SIMON: What kind of food do you put out this time of year?

SMITH: Just a wide range of nuts and seeds would be quite good. Sunflower seeds particularly are very good.

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11:54am

Sat March 15, 2014
Religion

Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 4:53 pm

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town's cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

"We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky," he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

The Freedom Festival

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10:32am

Sat March 15, 2014
Sports

Why You Won't Win Warren Buffett's Billion-Dollar Bracket

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 12:19 pm

Florida's Will Yeguete shoots over Missouri's Keanau Post in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament on Friday in Atlanta. Investor Warren Buffett is betting $1 billion that no one can pick all 63 winners of the NCAA college basketball tournament that begins next week.
John Bazemore AP

The men's NCAA college basketball tournament starts next week.

In a twist on the familiar March Madness bracket, a mortgage company and a world-famous investor are offering a billion dollars to anyone who picks the winner of all 63 games in the NCAA college basketball tournament.

It's a contest, and it may also be the perfect publicity stunt.

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8:52am

Sat March 15, 2014
Health Care

Under 30? The President Would Like You To Know Health Care Is Hip

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:32 am

The president joined host Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die mock talk show, Between Two Ferns this week. Obama was there to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Funny or Die

6:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Drought Closes Oregon Resort Before The Season Even Opens

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 1:03 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. This was supposed to be a special year for the Mount Ashland ski area in Southern Oregon as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. But after a long drought this summer, Mount Ashland had to call it a season early. Yesterday, it declared slope season was over due to a lack of snow. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

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6:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Music Interviews

A Fresh Vocalist From The Same School As Adele, Winehouse

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:32 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Discovering Zara McFarlane's voice is like discovering something exquisite and lush and gorgeous.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ZARA MCFARLANE: (Singing) There you are, though I cannot see your face. I feel you, your presence just entered this place...

LYDEN: Zara McFarlane's latest album is called "If You Knew Her." And she's at our London bureau to talk to us about her music and so that we can get to know here. Zara McFarlane, thank you so much for joining us.

MCFARLANE: Hello. How are you doing?

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6:45am

Sat March 15, 2014
Sports

An Ex-Dolphin Gets A New Home: The Week In Sports

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:32 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's time now for sport.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: This week, former Miami Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin found a new home with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Martin tweeted this week that he's beyond blessed about being traded and can't wait to get to work. Jonathan Martin is, of course, the player who was the primary target of taunts and racist insults by his teammates on the Dolphins.

ESPN's Howard Bryant is with us now taking a break from the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Hello there Howard.

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10:08am

Sat March 8, 2014
Politics

CPAC Is A Siren Call To GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 1:00 pm

At CPAC this year, even Sen. Rand Paul's cardboard cutout was drawing attention. The Kentucky lawmaker was leading in the straw poll among attendees Friday.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

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9:16am

Sat March 8, 2014
Economy

What Germans Know Could Help Bridge U.S. Workers' Skill Gap

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

President Barack Obama promotes job training at General Electric's Waukesha, Wis., gas engine plant in January.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

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6:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Europe

Tensions Rise In Ukraine Standoff

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To Ukraine now where tensions continue to rise between that country's new government and Russia. Yesterday, pro-Russian soldiers held a standoff at a Ukrainian military base and although it seemed to end without incident, it shows just how quickly the situation has become militarized. We're joined now by Steven Erlanger, reporter for the New York Times, who's in Kiev. Steven, thanks so much for being with us.

STEVEN ERLANGER: Happy to be here.

SIMON: What do we know about this standoff yesterday in Crimea?

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6:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Sports

In A First, The Paralympics Get Political

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Paralympics Games have begun in Sochi. Over the next week, nearly 700 athletes with disabilities will compete at events that range from ice sledge hockey to wheelchair curling to downhill racing. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Morning Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello. Thank you.

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6:53am

Sat March 8, 2014
Digital Life

Making A Computerized Voice A Little More Human

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

Transcript

STEPEHN HAWKING: Here did we come from? Are we alone in the universe?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You may recognize this as the voice of Stephen Hawking, the physicist. It's actually the generic voice of men and women who use computers to speak for them. Synthetic speech though can be cold and impersonal, but a scientist in Boston wants to change that. Guy Raz of the TED RADIO HOUR has more.

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