By Holly Kirkpatrick (Producer, Host of LIFTED podcast by Rise)

Podcasts are free

Each week, our Rise team will review a podcast we’re addicted to, and you can decide whether you want to expand your favorites list or not. Happy New Year.

Headlong: Surviving Y2K

By Topic/Pineapple Street Media/Stitcher

Having thrown a few 90s-themed halloween parties over the years, Rise is well accustomed to rewinding to the decade of Fresh Prince and The Spice Girls, but wow do we have some nostalgia for the technology of the decade. From the joy of discovering the two player mode on Snake, to the agony of having your ‘surfing’ session disrupted when your Mom picked up the phone and cut off the line, (“Mom! I’m on the INTERNET!”), the rapture and frustrations of 90s and early 00s technology are etched into our memories like the shriek of a dial-up connection.

But do you remember the biggest thing of the millennium that never was, the ‘Millennium Bug’?

You might look back on the idea now with a knowing shake of the head and maybe even a pinch of pity for late 90s humans and technology: “Aw, so cute – we really thought that bug was going to cause chaos and make nuclear missiles launch on their own, LOL at year 2000 us.” It’s one big joke. But this podcast reminds us that the Millennium Bug was serious. Deadly serious.

In this 6-part series, producer Dan Taberski takes us back to the turn of the millennium and interviews those people that were involved in and impacted by Y2K, taking listeners through multiple versions and perspectives of new year, 2000. We hear from computer coders, goth bankers (!), survivalists, true-believers, former bank robbery hostages, millennium-baby mothers, and whistleblowers. We even hear the producer’s own millennium story – a turning point in his life that impacted others, too. Over the course of each episode, Dan takes each story and weaves them together, with each funneling towards the climax (or ani-climax) of NYE, 1999.

When I first read the summary of Surviving Y2K, I wondered if it would be a little too technical for my liking, so I thought I’d give one episode a try and stop listening if the coding stuff got too much. But the technical content is simple and compelling, and the sheer range of perspectives of one event is completely absorbing. It certainly kept me pressing ‘play’ on the next episode more often than I anticipated. In fact, I finished the whole series in two days. The show deals with themes of obedience, belief, faith, loss, hope, change and …the apocalypse. It’s safe to say there is something in there for everyone. So ring in the new year by dusting off your Discman and listening to the biggest story that never happened.

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