Infamous Corporate Collapses Examined in New Podcast Spectacular Failures

Host Lauren Ober tells stories of corporate crookedness, family feuding and hilariously half-baked decisions

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 3, 2019 — American Public Media, in partnership with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, will launch Spectacular Failures – a new business podcast about the greatest corporate catastrophes – on June 17.

Listen to the trailer here.

In Spectacular Failures, host Lauren Ober, award-winning creator of WAMU and NPR’s The Big Listen, and producer Whitney Jones, creator of the critically-acclaimed music podcast Pitch, dig into the causes of some of the biggest business blunders and breakdowns.

In this 10-episode season, listeners get a front row seat to the mishandled launch of MoviePass, the criminal collapse of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Heritage USA, and Kodak’s not so picture-perfect descent into obsolescence, as well as many other stories of spectacular failures.

Ober hopes to provide audiences a new perspective on the many causes of corporate failure as well as its wide-ranging impacts.

“It might be sick to say it, but it’s true. We love hearing about failures,” said Ober. “Stories about business breakdowns capture our most basic human failings: greed, hubris, sometimes even criminal behavior. We’re trying to sniff out the universal [truth] that exists in all stories of corporate collapse and make those tales fun and engaging, with a little dash of attitude and a heap of charm.”

Jones says Spectacular Failures will “work to combine the joy of The Big Listen with the pop culture and historical exploration of Pitch. It applies that mixture to stories of business failure in a way that makes them unpredictable and exciting.”

The program is made possible by Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Listeners can find Spectacular Failures on Apple Podcasts and other podcast platforms. Learn more at


About the Carlson School of Management

Established in 1919 and located in Minneapolis, the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management is part of the University of Minnesota, located in the Twin Cities vibrant business community comprised of 17 Fortune 500 company headquarters.  The Carlson School is recognized as a leader in business education and research.  Its focus on experiential learning, international education and its strong ties to the business community are just a few examples of the Carlson School’s commitment to excellence.  Today, the Carlson School has 55,000+ alumni in over 100 countries, over 10 degree programs, and more than 140 tenure-track and full-time instructional faculty members. The school offers bachelors, master’s, MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as executive education programs hosted domestically and abroad.

About American Public Media

American Public Media® is the national programming division of Minnesota Public Radio® and reaches more than 19 million listeners via approximately 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, and the leading classical music programs in the nation. APM offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on APM, visit Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio, Nationwide DMA data, Persons 12+, Fall ‘18. Data are estimates only.