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Paternal is a show for anyone who's ever been a father or wondered about dad. Created and hosted by Nick Firchau, a longtime journalist and podcast producer, Paternal offers candid and in-depth conversations with great men who are quietly forging new paths. Listen as our diverse and thoughtful guests – a world-renowned soccer star in San Diego, an Oglala Sioux elder in South Dakota, a New York Knicks barber in Queens, a pioneering rock DJ in Seattle and many more - discuss the models of manh ...
 
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Journalist and screenwriter Chris Jones spent 14 years as a contributing editor and writer-at-large for the men’s magazine Esquire, writing everything from celebrity profiles on George Clooney and Penelope Cruz to in-depth features on astronauts, soldiers and wild animal zookeepers. He twice won the National Magazine Award in Feature Writing for hi…
 
The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over in the United States. More than half the U.S. population has received at one least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and new daily cases of the disease are at their lowest point since the early days of the pandemic in April 2020. But that doesn’t mean that the stress and anxiety building over the …
 
Even before his third birthday, Chris Ballew was transfixed by music. He would sit on the floor in his parents’ Seattle-area home and listen to The Beatles’ seminal 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and not long after he was writing and performing his own songs. By the mid-90s he was fronting the Presidents of the United States of A…
 
When Jayson Greene was in the fourth grade, his teacher gave him an assignment that most kids get at some point in grade school: What do you want to be when you grow up? Jayson mentioned two goals for himself, one of which may come as a surprise for a kid in grade school. He wanted to be a writer, and a father. On this episode of Paternal, Jayson d…
 
Ted Bunch has spent the bulk of his adult life as an educator, activist and lecturer, focused specifically on the intersection of masculinity and violence against women. He’s also spent 18 years as the Chief Development Officer of the violence prevention organization A Call To Men, and in that time he’s become one of the nation’s leading voices on …
 
Paternal dives back into the archives to share the stories of three previous guests all focused on one topic: What it’s like to raise African American kids in the United States. This special episode begins with Ryan Harris, who spent nine years as an offensive lineman in the National Football League and won a Super Bowl in 2015 with the Denver Bron…
 
When Jaed Coffin was 23 years old he had recently graduated from college, and like a lot of people in that stage of their lives, he found himself looking ... for something. What he found was an austere and single-minded life in Southeast Alaska, training to become the next big thing in the sport of roughhouse boxing, a boozy, bloody, and rugged cla…
 
When news first broke that the Coronavirus pandemic had come to Seattle, John Richards had no idea how he could keep doing his job. More than two months later, his work has never been important. Richards is a father of two boys and the host of the “The Morning Show” on 90.3 KEXP FM in Seattle. KEXP is an independent radio station supported largely …
 
When beloved children’s television icon Fred Rogers was a child he would sometimes see troubling stories or images in the news, and he would look to his mother for help. Her advice was simple, but left its mark: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Season 4 of Paternal opens with a conversation with Scott Cooper, a N…
 
Paternal celebrates Father’s Day by looking back at some of the show’s best interviews while focusing about one thing in particular: What we think of when we think about our dads. Although that’s a topic that has come up quite a bit on the show over the first 31 episodes, certain guests over the years have offered candid insight into their relation…
 
Keith Gaston is a father, social worker and, just like his dad, a man born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. But the city has changed in the decades since Gaston grew up there, with a climbing unemployment rate, a declining city population and issues with gun violence and drugs that are taking a toll on some of the city’s young men. That’s where…
 
Back in 1970, author and illustrator Arnold Lobel released the first in a series of award-winning children’s books chronicling the adventures of two good friends: Frog and Toad. Though the pair’s sexuality was never explicitly disclosed in the books, was it possible that Lobel created the characters to teach children about ideas of acceptance, tole…
 
Craig Scott was a sophomore at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, when two students descended on the school and unleashed what was, at the time, the deadliest high school shooting in American history. And though Scott survived by hiding under a desk in the library, the shooters killed 12 students and a teacher that day, including Scott's frie…
 
How many times have mothers and fathers argued about roughhousing with young kids, or why dad is a different disciplinarian than mom? After roughly four decades working in pediatrics and child psychiatry, Dr. Kyle Pruett knows the answer: Moms and dads simply parent differently, and that’s fine for everyone involved. Including the kid. On this epis…
 
How would you describe the feeling when you first became a parent? California businessman Mark Eckhardt never seriously thought of starting a family before the birth of his first daughter. And when she finally arrived he was overcome with joy, but also with the feeling that his entire life had been forever disrupted. In a conversation that echoes m…
 
Andy Johnson has spent much of his life fixing things. As a 35-year-old farmer growing corn and hay in Colorado, Johnson is a model of resourcefulness, spending the days on his 1,000 acres of farmland as an agronomist, a car mechanic, or a welder. Every year the summer storms come and go, crops thrive and die. But his farmer’s ingenuity has always …
 
What if you spent the first three decades of your life building a relationship with your father, and then one day, you found out he wasn’t the only father you had? There are two guests on this episode of Paternal - one is 33-year-old John Vanek, a husband and father of two young girls living in the suburbs of Minneapolis. And the other is his biolo…
 
How far would you be willing to go to somehow preserve the memory of someone you lost? When James Vlahos found out his father was dying of lung cancer, he set out to create a chatbot fueled by a treasure trove of interviews with his dad, and artificial intelligence software. The end result is the Dadbot, an interactive and compelling program that q…
 
Prior to the birth of his first son, the only things Schwan Park knew about autism were gleaned from watching Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. But after he and his wife realized something was different about the development of their son Max, Park reluctantly pushed himself to learn more about the symptoms of autism, and ultimately to accept a new realit…
 
Jason Hairston was always up for a challenge. As an undrafted free agent seeking a spot in the National Football League, as an entrepreneur looking to build his business, and as an experienced hunter stretched to his limits somewhere above the tree line. And by the time he was 47 years old he had overcome his fair share to become a family man, succ…
 
For centuries, the ends of the Earth have captivated and courted the world’s bravest characters. The highest peaks of the Himalayas, the furthest depths of the oceans, and the poles, frozen pinpoints on opposite ends of the globe that still serve as two of the most ambitious destinations for a certain type of person you may have thought died out ye…
 
Joe Andruzzi has always been surrounded by family. As one of four sons born to a New York City police officer and his wife in Staten Island, New York, Andruzzi learned early on about the value of giving back to his community and how family can help people through the toughest times of their lives. And he never valued family more than in 2007, when …
 
Seattle author Neal Thompson has profiled a range of intriguing characters during his career as an acclaimed author, but for his fifth book he turned his eye to his sons, two boys fixated on the sport and culture of skateboarding. In the debut episode of Season 3 of Paternal, Thompson discusses his kids' all-encompassing passion for the sport and t…
 
Meet Frank. He’s a 62 year-old father of four grown kids, and grandfather to seven beautiful grandchildren. Back in the summer of 2017, Frank decided to leave his home in San Diego and spend a week in Denver with his son Tommy, but it was no ordinary trip. Tommy is a homeless drug addict who lives in and around Civic Center Park in Denver, and he n…
 
What if every teenage boy could tell you what he’s thinking, and what he fears when he leaves the house to walk to go to school? Oakland educator and youth advocate Ashanti Branch has spent more than a decade trying to provide young men with a place to do just that. In 2004 he founded the Ever Forward Club, gathering a small group of young men toge…
 
Alexi Lalas knows all about opportunity. As a professional soccer player and member of the United States national team during the 1990s, Lalas used the global platform of the 1994 FIFA World Cup to introduce the world to his carefully cultivated image of a rebellious red-headed rockstar with a love for the world’s game, and life’s never been the sa…
 
Paternal celebrates Father’s Day with one of its most personal and uplifting episodes to date, examining what it means to risk loss in the pursuit of love, and how one father helped hold his family together during a life-altering set of circumstances. Ten years ago, Jason Smith found himself in a hospital waiting room in Boston, waiting to see is h…
 
Alex Bogusky spent years atop the advertising world while running one of the hottest ad agencies in the country, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. But he left the business while at the top of his game in 2010, switching his focus to spending more time with his two young children and working with social entrepreneurs. On this episode of Paternal, Bogusky di…
 
Long before he became one of the nation’s leading voices on the emotional lives of adolescent boys, psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Michael G. Thompson actually focused his studies on the psychological issues of young women. “I got into schools as a consultant,” Thompson says, “and all of a sudden, all of my work was little b…
 
Ryan Harris spent nine years as an offensive lineman in the National Football League, earning a reputation as one of the brightest and most thoughtful players in any locker room in the league. He also won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos before retiring from the game in 2017. On this episode of Paternal, Harris discusses a range of topics, incl…
 
Despite being born and raised in an iconic beach town just north of San Diego, Taylor Steele didn’t exactly enjoy his first ride on a surfboard. Or his second. In fact, it took nearly 10 years for Steele to find his footing on a board, but after he embraced the sport - and his keen eye for making surf documentaries - his life changed forever. On th…
 
What’s it like when a New York City social worker hands over a newborn baby on your doorstep at 9 pm on a Friday night? For longtime artist and journalist Graham Parker, that’s only a small part of the experience of being a father. Since he and his wife first laid eyes on their young son more than five years ago, Parker has focused most of his ener…
 
Noted social commentator, actress and New York native Fran Lebowitz once said, “You’re only as good as your last haircut.” But for Chris Matthew, a fellow New York native, lawyer, father and master barber, there’s far more to walking into the barbershop than just a new look. On this episode of Paternal, Matthew discusses what the barbershop means t…
 
Few places in the United States can match South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation when it comes to challenges for a father to raise his kids. Poverty, soaring unemployment, alcoholism and isolation are all omnipresent for many of the Oglala Sioux men on Pine Ridge, but George Apple refuses to give in. On this episode of Paternal, George discus…
 
How would you describe the conversations at your family dinner table? When Eric Tung was a kid, there was never much room at dinner for communication with his parents, a pair of fairly conservative Chinese immigrants. So it comes as little surprise that they were shocked when he came out of the closet as an adult or that he wanted to find a way to …
 
Martin Rogers moved to the United States a decade ago to take a job in sports writing, a transplant from England with a wife and plans to one day start a family. After his marriage soured and his ex-wife returned to England he worked tirelessly to stay in constant contact with his young son, and he rarely thought about starting over. Then he met hi…
 
When was the last time you asked a good friend about where he came from, or the influences that shaped his life? On this episode of Paternal, Nick welcomes longtime friend and noted New Jersey-based DJ Shawn Francis to discuss his father’s alcohol and drug abuse, what The Talk meant to him and what it’s like to raise two African-American kids in Do…
 
What if there was a place where men could go to commiserate about fatherhood, and even learn how to be a better dad? This episode of Paternal goes inside the Center on Fathering in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to examine how the center and its founder work with men looking to manage and improve their relationships with their children. Center directo…
 
Landon Donovan is widely recognized as the greatest male soccer player the United States has ever produced, appearing in three FIFA World Cups and winning six titles in Major League Soccer. But Donovan says he struggled to connect at times with teammates and coaches during his career because he was unlike some of the prototypical professional athle…
 
Raising a transgender daughter has been no easy task for Jake and his wife, Anna. The couple has spent the past five years educating themselves on how to best deal with a set of unexpected challenges since their second child, who was born a boy, expressing her real gender identity even before she was 18 months old. Since then Jake has committed him…
 
John Richards is one of the most recognized radio voices in Seattle, and the host of the John in the Morning show on KEXP 90.3 FM. During his lengthy career on the air, Richards has helped uncover and promote bands like Interpol, Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes, Of Monsters and Men and others. But long before he became a DJ, Richards turned to ico…
 
You thought the guys were going to take another long break?! Not this time! The guys are back with some personal talk about dealing with pregnancy loss, some Instagram fun and what Mike did when his kids started using foul language.Paternal Instinct による
 
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