As efforts to expand the NPR Code Switch series of races and identities are underway, the podcast is calling on a new host. Writer and audio producer BA Parker will join Gene Demby as host starting next month. Parker was most recently co-host and lead producer of New York magazine’s The Cut podcast.
“Parker brings to our team a flair for language and a passion for telling deeply narrated, sound-rich stories with humor and compassion,” said Steve Drummond, executive producer of Code Switch and NPR Education. “She has a lot of energy and we have so many stories – it’s a good choice. We can’t wait to get started.”
Brooklyn-based Parker is a freelance audio writer and producer who has been lead producer on Vox Media’s The Cut since August 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a producer for WNYC Studios New York where she worked on the Nancypodcast. Prior to that, she worked on the Heavyweight podcast at Gimlet Media and NPR’s Invisibilia. Parked also contributed to This American Life.
“I’m so excited to join the talented team at Code Switch,” Parker said. “The show has been a necessary beacon for people of color, and I look forward to adding to its tradition of raw, empathetic, and engaging stories.”
The addition of Parker as a second host is due to a $600,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which Code Switch secured in April. CPB originally invested in NPR’s signature podcast on race and identity a decade ago, and the new money will allow the show to expand its presence on radio, through live and virtual events and on social networks.
With the money from the two-year grant, NPR is raising the Code’s profile with new live and online events and the development of other new offerings. There will also be staff hires, including the addition of an editor, which NPR says will allow the Code Switch team to increase its production of short news stories that can also be broadcast. on NPR’s flagship news programs such as “Morning Edition” and “All Things.” Considered.” It also plans to produce longer feature films written and produced by influential journalists and scholars, member station contributors, and Code Switch Fellows.
With CPB’s initial $1.5 million grant to support digital content creation and broadcast in 2012, Code Switch’s news team started a blog and contributed content to NPR. A podcast was then launched in 2016. NPR has offered Code Switch as a public radio show since 2021, and it is now broadcast by 197 stations with over 650,000 weekly listeners.
“I’m thrilled to have Parker join Code Switch,” said Yolanda Sangweni, Senior Director of Programming. “Her curiosity and wit make her an incredible storyteller. I look forward to her perspective and where she will take the show.”