Pop Life

WAER's Joe Lee is joined be a rotating array of expert guests to discuss significant, work, events and milestones in popular culture.

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On this episode of Pop Life the celebration of Black History Month continues. The conversation begins with Ja'Net DuBois, but also includes Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and more.

Joining host Joe Lee to pay tribute to Dubois and to discuss some of the great sitcoms that featured African American ensembles on this Black History Month episode of Pop Life is the original guest expert Bob Thompson, founding Director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture and Trustee professor of Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University.

Tyler Perry, actor, director, writer, producer and now studio head is listed by Forbes as the highest paid man in entertainment.  His movies, including the latest A Fall From Grace, draw huge audiences, but are regularly skewered by critics, viewers and fellow film makers alike.  His formula for success, appealing to black women and black church culture hasn’t changed much over the years.  Is that formula starting to show some wear and tear? 

On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee is joined Charisse L’Pree, Assistant Professor of Communications at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School to discuss the filmmakers latest Netflix project, his production style, and the “sad black woman” trope that is prevalent in his storytelling.


It's still very early in 2020, but it's never too early to jump into some award show conversation. On Sunday February 9th, the film industry will honor the best work from the past year with the 92nd Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars.

On this episode of Pop Life Joe Lee is joined Dr Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University to preview the best pictures nominees for the upcoming Oscars.


According to music historians, Hip-Hop (or rap music) was born in 1973 in the Bronx, NY.  It’s first commercial success dropped in 1979 with the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rappers Delight”.  At 46 years old and many of its early hitmakers in their 50’s and 60’s, Hip-Hop is all grown up and impacting cultures all around the globe.

On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee explores the early beginnings of rap music, the Hip-Hop movement and its profound impact on popular American culture with scholar Dr Don Sawyer of Quinnipiac University.  Dr Sawyer is Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Sociology.  He teaches a course on the Sociology of Hip-Hop.

Be sure to subscribe to Pop Life wherever you get your podcasts and follow the show’s Facebook page @PopLifeWAER.

On November 12th pop culture fans received an early holiday gift in the form of the new streaming service Disney+. Headlining the original content planned for the new service was the Star Wars original series The Mandalorian. 

This week on Pop Life, Joe Lee is joined by Seth Everett hosts the podcasts Hall of Justice and Sports with Friends. They discuss how to manage the plethora of streaming services available and their reactions to the first few episodes of The Mandalorian.


What better way is there to build a bridge between what happens in school and what happens in life than using popular culture?  Especially when it comes to subject matter that we find troubling or difficult?  On this episode of the Pop Life podcast, host Joe Lee explores how the use of popular culture as a teaching device has grown from frowned-upon activity to mainstream staple.


USA Network

The USA Network hit show Mr. Robot starring Oscar winner Rami Malek and Christian Slater is set to begin its 4th and final season.  The pop culture podcast, Pop Life with Joe Lee, discusses the cyber punk drama’s return from a 2-year layoff with National Public Radio TV Critic, Eric Deggans.  The two analyze the show’s development over the first three seasons and what fans can expect from season 4.


Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros

From Cesar Romero to Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger and finally to Joaquin Pheonix, the role of the Joker has taken on a number of appearences. On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee takes a look at the various iterations of the famed gotham villain and the pyschological profile of the character himself.

First up, Joe is joined by  Dr Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University to chat about the various joker cinematic appearances and discuss some of their favorites.

Then, Travis Langley editor of The Joker Psychology, joins the show to breakdown the mental and emotional state of the joker. 


The vampire horror genre is making a comeback and the science fiction anthology show Black Mirror has a few new episodes available on Netflix.  Those are the topics on this week’s Pop Life podcast.

Host Joe Lee is joined by Dr Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University and author of Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture, to discuss Joe’s long-held fear of blood-sucking vampires and the recent slate of vampire themed shows appearing on cable television.  The two also discuss the terrifying neural implant technology that appears in several episodes of the Netflix show Black Mirror.  Take a listen as Dr. Phillips helps Joe work through his issues.


Imagine former Vice President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama on an action-packed ride across Chicago where they encounter a range of enigmatic characters from burlesque dancers to Russian masseurs to Oprah Winfrey.  It is the focus and plot of a new book by New York Times Best Selling author, Andrew Shaffer.  Hope Rides Again is the second book in a series of fictional stories about Joe Biden and Barack Obama as a dynamic crime-fighting duo.  In Hope Rides Again, the two team up to solve the mystery of Obama’s missing Blackberry, and the death of the thief that stole it.  Together, they uncover a deep conspiracy that threatens to derail their lives if they are not careful.

On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee discusses the book and the inspiration for writing the Obama, Biden mystery series with New York Times Best Selling author, Andrew Shaffer.  It’s just in time for summer reading consideration.


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