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What I'm Listening to: Left, Right & Center

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The Podcast

Left, Right & Center is a weekly political show put on by National Public Radio member station KCRW. The show takes on a very welcome tone by striving to be a "civilized yet provocative antidote to the screaming talking heads that dominate political debate". The incoherent screaming and dogma that normally fill political talk-radio are replaced with cordial, balanced debates that give voice to opposing viewpoints. If you've grown tired of the two major parties plugging their ears and having a shouting contest, Left, Right & Center may be the respite that you're looking for.

No matter which way you lean politically, I find that there are valuable insights to be gained from genuinely listening to other "side". I try to remember that the goals of both parties are largely the same (keep Americans safe, boost the economy etc.), it's the tactics that differ. Left, Right & Center is one of the few political shows I've found that actually helps me reinforce that idea of togetherness.

Other than basic adult civility, the best part about ditching the combative mood is that it makes room for discussions that are full of substance. Left, Right & Center helps you learn about political issues as well as how the other side is thinking about those topics. Even if you don't change your mind (we all know how rare that is in politics), it can really stretch you and spark further introspection to hear intelligent people approach problems from different directions.

So, if you're looking for a way to keep up with important political news and emerging topics, but you just can't stomach another minute of anger, finger-pointing and nonsense, I would recommend giving Left, Right & Centera listen.

The Cover Art

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The typography for Left, Right and Center clear and legible. Everything holds up well at small sizes. The sage-green color is pleasant and allows both the white and black text to stand out nicely. The KCRW logo is nice enough, though I would say that it is a little too strong. There is a competition between the logo and the podcast title text. The title itself is forced to sit uncomfortably low due to the size of the logo.

The paintbrush texture adds some interest to the piece and the white border give the text a home to rest it. The placement of the logo and the way it breaks the border invites the viewers eye in and guides them toward the main title. All-in-all the cover art is nothing to write home about, but it does it's job pretty well and is easy on the eyes.

What's really notable about the cover art is how it fits into such a cohesive lineup of cover designs. All of podcast covers for the KCRW shoes fit the same mold with simple color changes to differentiate them. Maybe it's not as impressive as NPRs awesome lineup of cover art (which I should probably write about at some point), but it's certainly nice to see some thought and consistency put into a set of shows like this.

Lineup of shows on KCRW.com
Lineup of shows on KCRW.com

It would be great if each show had custom-designed art with matches styles and color palettes. However, if you have limited resources or manpower a well-thought-out template like this can be a very effective solution. KCRWs brand definitely benefits from the uniformity of the designs. The main lesson is that if you are looking to start or get involved with a network of some kind, be sure to take the time to carefully plan your approach to cover art.

ReviewsZach Magnuson