My work

Radio features

My latest work for WAMU 88.5 is always posted on this page here

Highlights:

Once an Obscure Local Fruit, the Pawpaw Has a New Nickname: The Hipster Banana
My journey into the gooey center of pawpaw fandom.

A Master of Blues Harmonica, D.C. Musician Phil Wiggins Gets National Honors
A profile of the great bluesharp player, a 2017 National Heritage fellow.

The Good and Bad of Being a President’s Kid
White House children can have it tough. Why?

Walk In Your Favorite Actors’ Shoes — Literally — at the Arena Stage Costume Sale
Possibly the only place in D.C. you’ll find a metallic body suit adorned with plastic bananas.

A Longtime D.C. Activist Recounts the City’s Tougher Years, Through Poetry
A profile of public servant and accomplished poet Susan Meehan, who made her publishing debut at age 79.

Amazon Was Supposed to Have Crushed Bookstores. So Why Are Indie Bookshops Booming in D.C.?
How the little guys are bouncing back.

Why Does It Seem Like Hollywood Is Snubbing D.C.?
Washington is one of the most iconic locations in the world. How come the film industry doesn’t want to shoot here?

In Segregated Postwar Montgomery County, Modern Architecture Forged a Path Ahead
On the emergence of “Mad Men” architecture in the D.C. suburbs, and what they signified about 1950s Washington.

A Tale Of Two Virginias: When Arlington Defied the State and Integrated Its Public Schools
How Arlington broke the mold in the massive-resistance state.

In A Virginia Swing District, Liberals Look To The Tea Party For Lessons In Activism
Donald Trump is turning regular people into activists, and the proof is in Lovettsville, Virginia.

By Performing Abe Lincoln Speeches, Kids Get A Lesson In The Power Of A President’s Words
In which seventh graders tell me how Donald Trump compares to Honest Abe.

Does Trump’s Win Equal More Gun Purchases? It’s Complicated.
I explore what impact, if any, the election of Donald Trump has had on gun sales in the Washington region.

All Clogged Up: D.C. Wants to Regulate “Flushable” Wet Wipes
The District cracks down on the “adult” wet wipes loathed by water authorities across the country.

On Virginia’s Ballot, Question About “Right to Work” Creates Confusion
What the heck is the “right to work”? A big euphemism, for starters.

Both Art and Protest, “I Want a President” Reimagines the Commander-in-Chief
“I want a dyke for president.”

Exhibit Draws a Line From the Black Panthers to “Black Lives Matter”
On “It Takes a Nation: Art for Social Justice.”

“Sheldon” Wants Your Vote — For a D.C. Arts Office That Doesn’t Exist
The idealistic and wholly made-up campaign of Sheldon, aspiring cultural minister of Washington.

D.C. Is Full Of Tiny, Obscure Parks. Can the Park Service Keep Up With Them?
Fed up with neglected local parks, city residents clamor for the federal government to unhand the little slivers of green space it manages all over town.

A Whiff of the Corpse Flower, Washington’s Stinkiest Tourist Attraction
It’s smelly.

Are Music Audiences in D.C. More Subdued Than Others?
An investigation.

At Smithsonian, A Washington Painter Gets His Due
Sam Gilliam defied convention in abstract art. Now his work is a key part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A Palestinian Musician Imagines A Quieter Life — On Mars
I talked to D.C. biomedical engineer Huda Asfour about her stirring music, which she plays on one of the world’s oldest instruments.

Why Are Thousands Of People Obsessed With This Nail Technician From Maryland?
Meet Lovely Mimi, nail artist and Instagram superstar.

In His Memoir, A Cocaine Kingpin’s Son Sheds Light On D.C.’s Crack Era
My profile of Tony Lewis Jr., an activist whose autobiography explores his upbringing in a family embedded in D.C.’s drug trade.

In A City Known For Go-Go, Hip-Hop Is Making A Name For Itself
On the ascent of rap in a go-go town.

When Hippies Came To 16th Street
The story of my family’s life-changing time in a radical house in Washington, D.C.

Follow all of my work for WAMU 88.5.

Talk shows

Kojo Nnamdi Show

“The Revival of Vinyl Records”
A panel with Eric Astor, an enterprising sort who’s opening a vinyl-pressing plant in Virginia, and Bill Bollman, a coin-op hobbyist I profiled.

“Preserving the History of African American Music”
A conversation with Smithsonian specialists about what it’s like to collect artifacts for the institution’s newest museum.

Ian Svenonius
Me, Kojo and the punk provocateur.

“D.C.’s Musical Ecosystem”
A routine examination of the D.C. music scene with the Washington Post‘s Chris Richards.

“D.C.’s Punk Movement: Looking Back and Ahead”
What punk once did in D.C., and what it still could do.

Animal House
A strange cat story
How I reunited an NPR show host with his lost cat.

Recent reporting

The latest vintage craze in music isn’t vinyl: It’s these old-fashioned recording booths
On Bethesda lawyer Bill Bollman and his unique hobby: restoring coin-operated recording booths.

‘No suits. No corporate control.’ Remembering the freeform heyday of WHFS 102.3
I talked to the guy making a documentary about the legendary freeform radio station.

Death has been called the first punk band. Now they’re in the Smithsonian.
An interview with the Detroit greats.

This indie record label is charging women less than men, because they earn less than men
Why M’Lady’s Records put a lady discount into effect.

How the Smithsonian is building its new, sweeping collection of black American music
Sometimes a boombox must be carried.

Why a punk band from Michigan named itself after Diane Rehm
Just fun.

Eager for listeners, some hip-hop artists turn to pay-to-play websites
In the hip-hop blogosphere, a modern form of payola.

Recent criticism

Leon Bridges at 9:30 Club
Stylish, hollow.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at the Kennedy Center
Pipes and pasties.

Amanda Palmer at Lincoln Theatre
I get it, I get it. Well, not totally.

Kelsey Waldon at Hill Country
What a talent.

Meghan Trainor at Fillmore Silver Spring
That accent of hers.

Updated Sept. 16, 2017.