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NPR's It's Been a Minute gets new perspective and direction from new host Brittany Luse

Brittany Luse, For Colored Nerds
Sarah Jacobs
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Brittany Luse, co-host of For Colored Nerds photographed August 2021, in Brooklyn, New York.

Over the past five years, NPR's acclaimed, culturally focused show It's Been a Minute has built a strong and loyal base of listeners under the voice and work of former show host, Sam Sanders.

Earlier this year, when Sanders resigned from his role, an extensive search began for a new host who could understand and articulate the intricate nuances of the show's discussion points and serve as a mutual access point between current events and established popular culture. The search journey led to experienced podcaster and new show host Brittany Luse.

Luse has spent the last eight years as a podcast host, producer, editor and cultural writer, hosting the podcasts For Colored Nerds and The Nod alongside a college friend, Eric Eddings, among other projects. Spending most of her career as a freelancer, Luse started experiencing a desire to work in the public radio world, as many of her colleagues and peers have. She was drawn to It's Been a Minute from her time listening to NPR and her familiarity with Sanders' work.

Luse says, "I started listening to It's Been a Minute like many other people right when it came out because I loved Sam's politics coverage on NPR."

Once she began listening, Luse was intrigued by the show's content and the discussions it formulated. Luse says, "It was always at the intersection of [where] work culture met news and current events and politics."

So, Luse when the opportunity opened up, she explored the possibility to enter the public radio world. Luse says, "I knew that I was ready to make a change in my career because I've been doing a lot of freelancing and I knew that I wanted to try something different. I did not realize that It's Been a Minute still hadn't found a [new] host," she says. "When that role first became available, I was so knee-deep in so much other work, [that] it hadn't even occurred to me to even think about applying."

She continues, "Once I realized exactly what I wanted... I was approached about this role at hosting It's Been a Minute and just felt like a perfect match." After an extensive interview process, including many conversations and recording a test episode, the role was hers.

Now, transitioning from a listener to the show host she welcomes the inevitable challenges of integrating herself as a new component into something that already exists. In fact, those challenges are part of what attracted her to the role. Luse says, "Coming into something already established and trying to figure out how to connect to the audience and integrate with the team are actually the things that excited me the most about this role."

Luse also intends to toe the line between innovating new components while respecting the integrity of what the show already is.

"I'm primarily excited to be trying something new. I think that there's a core of the show that Sam and the team that he worked with [have] built and that is the thing that really attracts listeners to the show," Luse says. "That core is something that I definitely want to remain undisturbed, but I'm mostly really excited to be able to just try something new."

Luse's experiences have prepared her well for trying new things with the program. A commonality between It's been a Minute and her podcast, For Colored Nerds, is the emphasis on looking at events and circumstances specifically through a pop culture lens.

Luse says, "I've spent the entirety of my eight-year hosting career helping audience to connect the dots between culture and current events, and I look forward to continuing and expanding that work at my new home."

It's Been a Minute with Brittany Luse premiers on WUWM on Oct. 8.

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Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.
Robert Larry joined WUWM in 2022 as a digital producer.
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