Throughline – Podcast Review

In this Episode I talked about my experience with NPR’s Throughline. The podcast had about 4 episodes at the time of recording and focuses on how the history of America’s past reveals it’s ever tremulous present.


Welcome to PodApplaud, the Monday through Friday podcast that aims to enable your Podcast habit. I’m your host Seb, and today we are going to talk about NPR’s Throughline.

Throughline is a history podcast with stories pertinent to our modern world. The show is new there are currently just 4 full episodes and a short teaser trailer. Episodes are uploaded weekly so you won’t have to wait too long for new ones. The content in unrated, but there has been an emphasis upon examining unrest in the world, which often arises out of graphic and troubling situations.

Before I get into the heaviness of this podcast, one fun thing is that the logo is an optical illusion, when you’re scrolling past it on a smartphone or computer the concentric yet lopsided circles seem to jitter and vibrate. If I’m to look further into that ploy I might think NPR really wants to capture our attention with this podcast. Well let’s take a look at their goals and see if they accomplish them, shall we?

“The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.” is the description of the show, which is tagged as both a history and education podcast as well as a society/culture show.

The Throughline hosts, Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah, are shining a light on some of America’s history that on a societal level seems to find itself blotted out. From examining The USA overthrow of Iran’s Democracy in August 1953, and the ‘forgotten war ‘ in Korea that changed USA/Koreas relations forever, to the history of black athletes using their platform to bring attention to and protest inequality, throughline doesn’t pull any punches. They cover the stories that take courage to report on and take equal courage to listen to and reflect upon in a sincere way. The history is honest, simple, and factual. The education comes, in my opinion, in two forms. Firstly, these topics are mostly untalked about and out of mind for many, so just telling the history can make people more historically aware. Secondly, establishing the past factually allows people to make more informed and conscious decisions in the future. It is also undeniable that the history presented is at the roots of many social, cultural, and political issues America is facing today.

When listening to Throughline, I don’t find myself thinking about the hosts voices, about the audio quality, show length, structure, or many of the other things I often note when I listen to podcasts. I just end up focused in on the history while my mind sometimes wanders around a bit regarding just how that history influences our modern world. Because that is the part NPR leaves to you, what you do with the history, they are not saying x happened so we should do Y about it now. I do believe that being more informed of the past can only lead to a more respectful and responsible future. Perhaps NPR feels the same way and that is their ultimate goal, but for now I established the goals of this podcast as providing history, education, and  touching upon modern society and culture. Goals that I would say are well met in Throughline.

Ok so here on PodApplaud I rate shows on a 1-5 scale, 1 is silence, 2 is a slow clap, 3 is applause, 4 is a round of applause, and 5 of course is a standing ovation! I Throughline a 4/5, applause! I learned more about some topics I was not as well informed of before. The information held my attention, but as a fan of escapism this wasn’t my favorite podcast. I would recommend this podcast to anyone who wants the unbiased history behind today’s headlines.
So that’s been the show for today I hope you found it valuable If you wish to reach out to me you can find me on twitter @podapplaud or send an email to Thank you for listening, and please tune in again.