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WNYC Studios launches 10 Things That Scare Me, a tiny podcast about our biggest fears

PRESS RELEASE — December 4, 2018 · 6.5 minutes to read

New York NY, USA—WNYC Studios debuted 10 Things That Scare Me, a tiny podcast about our biggest fears.

In an innovative five-minute “Audio Listicle” format, episodes feature single subjects bravely revealing in their own words the top 10 things that keep them up at night, inform their choices, and shape their lives. From imposter syndrome to loneliness, the state of the world to the state of our love lives, feeling irrelevant to being outnumbered, (not to mention bugs, public speaking, and the dark!), personal fears are shared with astonishing candor as a humbling and utterly inescapable part of the human condition. 10 Things That Scare Me is intimate, surprising, vulnerable, and occasionally hilarious, with captivating music and sound design.

These mini-episodes include a wide range of voices which together comprise a snapshot of our culture at this unprecedented moment in time. This week’s episodes feature acclaimed music producer Rob Lewis, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, novelist Ottessa Moshfegh, and dogsled racer Blair Braverman.

New episodes will be released every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The podcast launches with an accompanying listener form where the audience can join the conversation by sharing their own list of fears. Responses will be considered for inclusion in future episodes.

10 Things That Scare Me is an experiment in empathy,” said Paula Szuchman, Vice President of On Demand Content, WNYC Studios. “The show drops you right into the hidden world of a complete stranger whose fears invariably remind you of your own. These episodes are like little meditations, an opportunity to pause for a minute and feel connected to the people around you -- even people who feel a world away. Which isn’t actually scary at all.”

Upcoming subjects include a Brooklyn deli owner, a retired obituary writer in Atlanta, a geologist in Texas, a line cook in New Orleans, a housecleaner, and some familiar names such as:

10 Things That Scare Me is available online, via Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Pocket Casts, and anywhere where podcasts may be downloaded.


WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio, home to some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, including Radiolab, On The Media, Nancy, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, and 2 Dope Queens. WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with podcasts and national radio programs that inform, inspire, and delight millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit


“Ok so this is a list of the things that I fear the most after great contemplation.

Number one: The dark.

Number two: Divorce attorneys. My divorce attorney was fantastic by the way. I mean he’s literally become a very close friend.

Number three: Having somebody I really love fall out of love with me.

Number four: loss of a loved one's life, God forbid.

Number five: A lack of communication with my own children. When you go through a divorce and you get a little of he said she said, there could be some alienation… in fairness to the kids, if the situations very stressful, they could wanna pull away or check out on their own for their own self-preservation… That would really be a rough one for me. My kids from my first marriage are 26, 23 and 19 respectfully. Boy, girl, boy… they’re getting up there and you know I think they ask you for specific adult like information and advice, but not a hundred percent connecting yet.

Number six: Financial insecurity. So that comes from my upbringing. You know my mom and dad, uh we grew up in a middle class area. Primarily in a blue collar enclave on Long Island and uh you know… you would have never predicted my financial, economic/ intellectual outcome coming from that neighborhood. No way. And you woulda said okay, this guy's going to the sheetrock business or the plumbing business. you would have never thought I would be [a] hedge firm manager. So financial insecurity is one step around the corner if you grow up with no money.

Number seven: violence. We have definitely gotten less violent, you know Steven Pinker wrote a great book about the better angels in our nature, and so I read the entire book and I do believe him. You know, we’ve become calmer… whole premise is like you know you’re like a primordial piece of machinery. You’re uh, you’re sitting here in this one hundred thousand year old piece of machinery. So you have all these primordial and atavistic instincts. And yet we’re reaching a point in society where we’re actually secularly transitioning into something more sublime. And so I like all that but I do think that there’s a hotness or a heat in the system right now, where the bellicosity, the rhetoric has gotten so intense that people are dropping pipe bombs off at each other’s houses. And so to me, I’m not saying that I get up in the morning and I feel fear that something violent’s gonna happen to me, but I do know that there is unfortunately, and there always will be some level of violence.

Number eight: returning to Washington. That could be actually nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. I was laughing at the president the other night where he was saying that he thought the real estate people in New York were animals until he got to Washington D.C. and he realized that these people are a bunch of babies, and so I mean. They’re just the worst people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s changed and colored what I really think of government and what I really think of public service. I mean these, these people do not serve the public interest. There’s a very good reason why the American people hate these people and there’s a very, very good reason why the American people voted out levels of the establishment and brought in President Trump.

Number nine: false accusation. I have been accused of sleeping with people that I’ve never slept with but the good news is that those people know I never slept with ‘em so we’re both good. But a accusation that’s sexual predation accusation, God forbid. And by the way, I’m very comfortable that’s not gonna happen to me because I haven't done anything like that. I mean usually, it, people look like the white Shrek. I mean this guy Harvey Weinstein to me looks like a white Shrek… I’m not saying I’m gonna have an issue, knock on wood, well what about the accusation? You know, how are you gonna defend yourself from that?

Number 10: Losing the ability to be useful to my family or the society. I got raised to be fairly independent. I had a paper route when I was a very young kid. I was hustling for dough while I was in college. I was hustling for dough while I was in law school. I’ve been working in one way, shape, or form since I was 12, 13 years old and so I’m never retiring. Ok I like the game. You know what I mean. I don’t know if you want to call Dr. Kerkorian or whatever his name is that you know is killing people… but I sort of don’t want to be here if I’m not really uh functioning and capable of helping others…

Well… I want to die like Nelson Rockefeller. You don’t know how he died? … He died in bed… And they had to haul him out of there. and so that’s how I want to die. Is that bad?”

Press release from WNYC Studios - this is reprinted verbatim; we rewrite headlines and descriptions. Press releases can be sent to


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