Special Programs

Musicians and dancers around metallic tree
The Solstice Sound Tree, a Paul Winter favorite.
Credit Clifford A. Sobel

A Paul Winter Solstice Concert
Friday, Dec. 19 ~ 10 p.m.- midnight

Celebrate the return of the sun and the warming of the heart with Paul Winter's All New 34th Winter Solstice Celebration. On the darkest night of the year, we head back to New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine to hear The Paul Winter Consort and the glorious Cathedral Pipe Organ. The performance brings traditional holiday favorites and new sounds from around the world with some special guests -- Brazilian composer Ivan Lins and composer/vocalist Renato Braz. Hosted by John Schaefer.

Hanukkah Lights 2014
Sunday, Dec. 21 ~ 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

A perennial NPR favorite with brand new Hanukkah stories written by acclaimed authors Debra Ginsberg, Anne Burt, Simone Zelitch, Andrew Borowitz, and Theodore Bikel. Hear a wide variety of stories perfect for the holiday -- humorous, historical, spiritual -- proclaiming, in the words of one storyteller, "Love is the only miracle." Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Yiddish Radio Project Holiday Special
Monday, Dec. 22 ~ 11 a.m. - noon
Yiddish was the language of the more than two million Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. As the last great wave of these arrivals landed at Ellis Island in the 1920s, radio was beginning its ascent in American culture. The recent Jewish immigrants embraced the medium, and by the early 1930s, Yiddish radio aired nationwide. A co-production of Sound Portraits Productions and Living Traditions, this documentary presents some of the surviving recordings from this ‘golden age’ of Yiddish radio, and reminds us of this unique chapter in the American experience.


An Afro Blue Christmas
Wednesday, Dec. 24 ~ 9 p.m.
Join us for a very special holiday concert with Howard University's premiere vocal ensemble Afro Blue, and special guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut. The a capella group performs a variety of holiday songs including African-American spirituals, jazz and pop tunes, and classical repertoire. The joyous celebration includes one-of-a-kind arrangements on traditional holiday songs plus new compositions -- music perfect for the holidays and the spirit of Christmas. Hosted by Michele Norris.

Jazz Piano Christmas XXV
Wednesday, Dec. 24 ~ 10 p.m.
NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Pianists Cyrus Chestnut, Kris Davis, Lynne Arriale and The "Master" Harold Mabern take the stage to perform their favorite holiday songs. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

Encore! A Paul Winter Solstice Concert
Wednesday, Dec. 24 ~ 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.


Tinsel Tales 3
Thursday, Dec. 25 ~ 9 a.m.
Listeners tune to NPR for holiday stories of all kinds: funny, touching, insightful, surprising. Hear the latest version of evergreen delights while driving to the mall, entertaining friends, or relaxing in front of a crackling fire. Hosted by Lynn Neary. Story details coming soon!

Tinsel Tales 2
Thursday, Dec. 25 ~ 10 a.m.
NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

Tinsel Tales: NPR Christmas Favorites
Thursday, Dec. 25 ~ 11 a.m.
This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

All Songs Considered for the Holidays
Thursday, Dec. 25 ~ 2 p.m.
It's the sixth edition of a weird holiday tradition from NPR Music. Host Bob Boilen and friends trade holiday cheer and snarky barbs while bringing you the best holiday songs from new and emerging breakout bands. Hear renditions of great holiday music you'll never hear at the mall or your mother's house.

Capitol Steps
Credit Capitol Steps

Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday! New Year’s Edition
Sunday, Dec. 28 ~ 12 p.m.

We can't let 2014 go without thoroughly lampooning all the news events of the year in horrible detail! Join these talented former Capitol Hill staffers in saying goodbye and good riddance to 2014. This year will feature all-new awards, such as:

  • "Is that guy jumping the White House fence, or is he just really into Michelle's 'Get Moving' campaign?"
  • "You say ISIS, I say ISIL. Let's call the whole thing off."
  • And of course, "I scream, you scream, we all scream EBOLA!"

Have some fun at 2014's expense with the Capitol Steps!

Political Junkie 2014 Remembrances Special
Monday, Dec. 29 ~ 11 a.m.
As 2014 draws to a close, Political Junkie Ken Rudin remembers the lawmakers and newsmakers from the world of politics who passed away this year. Ken interviews their colleagues, friends and the journalists who covered them, to reflect on their passions and chronicle their accomplishments. Join us for the Political Junkie 2014 Remembrances Special, as we recount their key moments in political history, and honor these individuals’ commitments to public service.


Encore! Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday! New Year’s Edition
Wednesday, Dec. 31 ~ 7 p.m.

Toast of the Nation 2014/2015
Wednesday, Dec. 31 ~ 8 p.m. - 4 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 1

The New Year's tradition continues with jazz you can party to all night long. Toast of the Nation 2014/2015 travels to the Newport Jazz Festival, Winter Jazzfest, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Enjoy festive jazz sets with countdowns in three time zones; featured acts are Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Wynton Marsalis, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Gretchen Parlato, the Hypnotic Brass Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and much more. It's sure to be a nonstop celebration of musical fireworks that will keep you dancing and swinging all night long. Hosted by WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton.


Encore! Capitol Steps: Politics Takes A Holiday! New Year’s Edition
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 ~ 9 a.m.

Third Coast Best of The Best 2014
Thursday, Jan. 1 ~ 10 a.m.

Best of the Best presents the winners of our 14th annual Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. Innovative and insightful, the stories will engage, provoke, entertain, and transport listeners, proving that all you need to discover new worlds is . . . a little box and an antenna.