NPR’s ‘Hidden Brain’ goes independent

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The host and founder of NPR’s Hidden Brain is leaving the network to produce the show and related projects through an independent production company. 

Shankar Vedantam
Vedantam (Photo: Douglas Sonders/NPR)

Shankar Vedantam announced his departure in an email to NPR staff Aug. 3. He said his nine years with NPR was the “highlight” of his career. After leaving the network, he is planning to expand beyond podcasting and radio to look into apps, television and a publication imprint. 

“In this new vision for Hidden Brain, being an independent entity and being able to chart my own course will be valuable,” Vedantam wrote. “NPR will always have my gratitude and respect, and I am hoping there will be many opportunities for collaboration in the future.” 

Under the new arrangement, which starts Oct. 1, NPR will continue to distribute the Hidden Brain radio show. The show airs on nearly 350 stations. The network will continue to receive royalties from Hidden Brain. 

Before starting the show, Vedantam worked as a reporter and columnist for The Washington Post. In 2010 he published The Hidden Brain, a book about the psychological basis for our unconscious biases and decisions. 

Vedantam became a social science correspondent for NPR and appeared in a recurring segment on Morning Edition. Hidden Brain began as a podcast in 2015 and became a radio show in 2017. 

“We have had a wonderful and productive relationship with Shankar over the past 9 years and are very proud of the radio show and podcast we developed together,” said an NPR spokesperson in an email. “… We hope to continue working together in future projects.”

6 thoughts on “NPR’s ‘Hidden Brain’ goes independent

  1. Thank you for providing this information. I love both NPR and Hidden Brain and was rather concerned that one of my favorite shows was not part of this magnificent radio network anymore. Even though Shankar Vedantam had announced it, I had not realized of what the change would entail.

    • Wendy, you are probably thinking of the episode “A Creature of Habit.” You can find it by searching for the Hidden Brain podcast and scrolling to that episode title on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

  2. I am a fan of “Hidden Brain” and hope that as an independent production, it continues with the same success that “On Being” has had since going independent.

  3. I stumbled upon Hidden Brain recently and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. So much so I have recommended it to friends and colleagues. It’s been nice listening to Hidden Brain from Australia. Your thoughtful insights and questions as well as guest speakers were nourishment to my hungry brain and soul. I sincerely hope I can continue to do so.

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