Curious minds select the most fascinating podcasts from around the world. Discover hand-piqd audio recommendations on your favorite topics.
Malia Politzer is the executive editor of piqd.com, and an award-winning long-form journalist based out of Spain. She specializes in reporting on migration, international development, human rights issues and investigative reporting.
Originally from California, she's lived in China, Spain, Mexico and India, and reported from various countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Her primary beats relate to immigration, economics and international development. She has published articles in Huffington Post Highline, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue India, Mint, Far Eastern Economic Review, Foreign Policy, Reason Magazine, and the Phoenix New Times. She is also a regular contributor to Devex.
Her Huffington Post Highline series, "The 21st Century Gold Rush" won awards from the National Association of Magazine Editors, Overseas Press Club, and American Society of Newspaper Editors. She's also won multiple awards for feature writing in India and the United States.
Her reporting has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Institute For Current World Affairs, and the Global Migration Grant.
Degrees include a BA from Hampshire College and MS from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where was a Stabile Fellow at the Center for Investigative Journalism.
Household Name is a brilliant podcast produced by Business Insider that tells the surprising and often hidden stories behind the biggest household brands—how, for example, Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck (an inexpensive, but highly acclaimed white wine) got its name, how the Starbucks Pumpkin Pie Latte became the mass sensation that it is today, and why FIMA regularly checks whether an International House of Pancakes is open, in order to assess the seriousness of a natural disaster like a flood, hurricane or tornado.
In this holiday-themed episode, producer Sally Herships goes to Japan, where Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has become synonymous with Christmas cheer and Colonel Sanders an alter ego to Santa Claus, to explore how the fast food chain managed to colonize the holiday.
Her search leads her to a Japanese man named Takashi Okowara, a former sales manager for a printing and packaging company, who was recruited to introduce KFC to Japan during the World Fair in 1970. Rather than taking the higher level management job he was initially offered, he chose to run the first KFC introduced to Japan and work his way up.
Initially, he said, the store was a huge flop: Despite his attempts to advertise the product—which he thought was very good—no one was buying KFC. Until one day, a Catholic nun at a nearby school wanted to throw a Christmas party for her kindergarten students. She bought KFC for the party, and requested that Okowara dress up like Santa Clause and dance in front of the kids. He agreed, and did an impromptu dance and sang a song about Christmas and KFC. Soon, other teachers were asking him to come to their classes at Christmas—and he had the idea of promoting KFC as a Christmas product (and substitute for the traditional Christmas turkey).
He became a small local news story. One of the journalists interviewing him asked if KFC was an American tradition, and he said "yes"—knowing it was a lie. Thus, a new tradition was born.