The Uncertain Hour-logo

The Uncertain Hour

American Public Media

In “The Uncertain Hour” podcast, host Krissy Clark dives into one controversial topic each season to bust longstanding myths about our economy and shed light on opaque realities of the world we live in. Given that nothing is more uncertain than our present economic outlook due to COVID-19, the team is launching a new series of pop-up episodes to help listeners understand this moment. “A History of Now” explores the key economic themes that are impacting our lives in new ways due to COVID-19. From the history of quarantine to how we handle unemployment and the holes in our social safety net, the team unpacks complex topics to explain what’s happening in this economy and how income and class will likely determine your fate. Clark and producer Caitlin Esch of the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk make a dynamic, experienced reporting team. Clark is an award-winning senior correspondent who brings curiosity, playfulness and empathy to the task of making sense of fundamental shifts in the U.S. economy, including the widening gap between rich and poor, and what this means for economic mobility and the American dream. Esch has deep roots in public media; her stories have aired on NPR news, NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered,” KQED, KCRW and KPCC. She has a master’s degree in journalism from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in English literature from George Washington University. Find “The Uncertain Hour” wherever you get your podcasts.

In “The Uncertain Hour” podcast, host Krissy Clark dives into one controversial topic each season to bust longstanding myths about our economy and shed light on opaque realities of the world we live in. Given that nothing is more uncertain than our present economic outlook due to COVID-19, the team is launching a new series of pop-up episodes to help listeners understand this moment. “A History of Now” explores the key economic themes that are impacting our lives in new ways due to COVID-19. From the history of quarantine to how we handle unemployment and the holes in our social safety net, the team unpacks complex topics to explain what’s happening in this economy and how income and class will likely determine your fate. Clark and producer Caitlin Esch of the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk make a dynamic, experienced reporting team. Clark is an award-winning senior correspondent who brings curiosity, playfulness and empathy to the task of making sense of fundamental shifts in the U.S. economy, including the widening gap between rich and poor, and what this means for economic mobility and the American dream. Esch has deep roots in public media; her stories have aired on NPR news, NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered,” KQED, KCRW and KPCC. She has a master’s degree in journalism from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in English literature from George Washington University. Find “The Uncertain Hour” wherever you get your podcasts.

Location:

United States

Description:

In “The Uncertain Hour” podcast, host Krissy Clark dives into one controversial topic each season to bust longstanding myths about our economy and shed light on opaque realities of the world we live in. Given that nothing is more uncertain than our present economic outlook due to COVID-19, the team is launching a new series of pop-up episodes to help listeners understand this moment. “A History of Now” explores the key economic themes that are impacting our lives in new ways due to COVID-19. From the history of quarantine to how we handle unemployment and the holes in our social safety net, the team unpacks complex topics to explain what’s happening in this economy and how income and class will likely determine your fate. Clark and producer Caitlin Esch of the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk make a dynamic, experienced reporting team. Clark is an award-winning senior correspondent who brings curiosity, playfulness and empathy to the task of making sense of fundamental shifts in the U.S. economy, including the widening gap between rich and poor, and what this means for economic mobility and the American dream. Esch has deep roots in public media; her stories have aired on NPR news, NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered,” KQED, KCRW and KPCC. She has a master’s degree in journalism from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in English literature from George Washington University. Find “The Uncertain Hour” wherever you get your podcasts.

Language:

English

Contact:

(213) 621-3500


Episodes

Answering your “History of Now” questions

6/17/2020
We’ve spent the past five weeks trying to make sense of this moment, where the inequalities of our society have been suddenly set in high relief. In that time, you all have written in with a bunch of questions big and small. Today, we’re going to cap off this pop-up season by answering a few of them. Questions like: What would chicken cost if plant workers got better wages and benefits? And how did health insurance get tied to our jobs anyway? We’ll also look back at two very clear moments,...

Duration:00:29:06

Without a home in a pandemic

6/11/2020
On any given night last year, half a million people in the United States were experiencing homelessness, and more than 60% of them were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs. Now, those same facilities are hot spots for COVID-19. It’s hard to social distance when you’re cramped, sharing bedrooms and sharing locker-room style communal showers. Today, we’ll look back at the history of how America has sheltered unhoused people, and how those approaches can make it hard...

Duration:00:43:01

There are cracks in the foundation of our housing system

6/3/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a moment when the gap between rich and poor in this country had hit a record high. One place that inequality is most visible is in the neighborhoods where we live. Generations of discriminatory housing policy, and lending practices that favored white borrowers, have entrenched segregation in American cities. This week, we’ll examine the housing policies that emerged from past economic crises, policies that excluded black people and other people of color,...

Duration:00:31:56

Unemployment benefits are hard to get. That’s on purpose.

5/27/2020
Millions of Americans who are out of work don’t receive unemployment benefits. That’s by design. Today, we’ll look at the history of the United States’ unemployment insurance system, how this country defines “unemployment,”and why the program was never intended to cover everyone who’s not working.

Duration:00:34:38

An unequal history of quarantines

5/20/2020
As long as there’s been such a thing as quarantine, each person’s experience under it has depended largely on their economic status. On this week’s show, we take a tour of quarantines through history, from the bubonic plague outbreaks in 14th and 17th century Italy, to the a typhoid outbreak in New York in the early 1900s and a few other stops along the way. Those quarantines looked very different if you were, say, an immigrant, or a Jewish textile merchant, or a sex worker. Crises like the...

Duration:00:29:08

You’re an essential worker. Do you get essential protections?

5/13/2020
Chicken is America’s most popular meat. But chicken supply chains — in fact, many of our food supply chains — are in danger of breaking down. Part of the reason is the workers who process and package those goods are getting sick. In some cases, they’re dying. For the first episode of our new season, “A History of Now,” we focused on America’s chicken supply chain because it raises a huge, looming question: How is it that essential workers don’t have essential protections? How do we get...

Duration:00:29:51

A History of Now: The Trailer

5/6/2020
There’s not much more uncertain than our current moment. Our day-to-day lives and our economy have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. On this season, “A History of Now,” we’re digging into the history and policies that help make sense of this current moment, a time where issues of wealth and poverty feel even more stark than usual. New episodes start May 13.

Duration:00:03:35

A new piece of the opioid crisis origin story, revealed

12/19/2019
We just found the answer to a really big question that’s been bugging us for years, about why the opioid crisis has hit some places so hard while other places have been relatively protected. The answer comes in the form of new academic research, that builds upon our reporting. Specifically, a secret internal marketing document from Purdue Pharma that senior producer Caitlin Esch discovered in the bowels of a county court house. She’s on this bonus episode to talk about it.

Duration:00:15:42

George Bush’s infamous crack speech, 30 years later

9/5/2019
On this day, 30 years ago, President George H.W. Bush gave his first address from the Oval Office. Bush held up a baggie of crack he said had been seized just outside the White House. Today, we’re revisiting our episode about that speech, the events that led up to it and the lives it affected. For more on America’s drug war, listen to season 3 of our show.

Duration:00:45:59

Introducing “This Is Uncomfortable”

6/15/2019
We’re hard at work on the next season of “The Uncertain Hour,” but in the meantime, we’re excited to share a new podcast from Marketplace: “This Is Uncomfortable.” It’s a storytelling podcast, all about life and how money messes with it. Every Thursday, host Reema Khrais will dig into the unanticipated ways money affects relationships, shapes identities and often defines what it means to be an adult. The first episode is out now. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Duration:00:03:48

Kicking the habit

4/18/2019
Many people in Wise County agree that they can’t jail their way out of a drug epidemic, but there’s a lot less agreement on what to do instead. And we find out what happened to Joey Ballard.

Duration:00:50:17

Families bear the costs of alternative sentencing programs

4/12/2019
For the past 30 years, courts in the United States have experimented with different programs designed to keep convicted offenders out of jail — things like drug court or court-ordered community service, where people work off jail sentences. We’re at a moment where these kind of work programs are ballooning in popularity as a potential solution to mass incarceration. It's something we explore in the newest season of our podcast The Uncertain Hour. But these programs raise the question: Is...

Duration:00:03:04

Supply

4/11/2019
It’s not easy being an undercover cop in a county of just 40,000 people. But drugs were making it hard for Bucky Culbertson to run his business, so he made it his business to get rid of drugs.

Duration:00:41:25

Welcome to Wise County

4/4/2019
It’s the deadliest drug epidemic our country has ever faced. We go to ground zero, where “nothing changes except for the drug.”

Duration:00:37:00

Sentencing

3/28/2019
The drug bust and the trial were a “farce,” but the full force of the law still came down on Keith Jackson — and thousands of people like him. That didn’t end the crack epidemic, so what did?

Duration:00:49:16

What happened to Keith?

3/22/2019
One day, early in the semester, Keith Jackson didn’t show up to class. He’d been arrested for selling crack, but for his classmates, that wasn’t the surprising part.

Duration:00:33:08

George H.W. Bush and his baggie of crack

3/21/2019
It was the perfect political prop: drugs seized by government agents right across the street from the White House, just in time for a big presidential address. The reality was more complicated.

Duration:00:45:37

The Uncertain Hour Season 3: Inside America’s Drug War

3/7/2019
Thirty years ago, President George H.W. Bush held up a baggie of crack on live TV, and said it had been seized right in front of the White House. The Uncertain Hour’s third season looks at how the policies launched that day continue to reverberate – even as the crack epidemic has faded into history. New episodes start March 21.

Duration:00:02:26

“A mosquito in a nudist colony”

3/7/2018
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress rolled back a gun regulation last year that would have restricted some people with mental disabilities from buying guns. Now, this story isn’t about gun control, but the law they used to erase that rule and 14 others last year. It’s a tale that goes back decades, and it starts in Kenya in the 1960s. Along the way, we’ll meet a man in a white suit and an army of used car dealers. This story is also the last episode of our second season, all...

Duration:01:19:08

Law and Odor: a crime story about orchids, pig smell, refineries and you

1/26/2018
There are lots of different ways to commit a crime. Some of them are obscure — it’s a crime to sell Swiss cheese without holes, for example. Some deal with serious safety and environmental issues — it’s a crime for a refinery to release more than a certain amount of the carcinogen Benzene. There are people who argue there are just too many federal regulations with criminal consequences, that with thousands of potential criminal acts on the books, how can you know if you’re doing something...

Duration:01:08:56