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The World and Everything in It: June 2, 2023

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WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: June 2, 2023

On Culture Friday, the moral shifts ahead of Pride Month 2023 have moved beyond marketing; a review of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; and Ask the Editor. Plus, the Friday morning news


Spiderman in Hong Kong iStock.com/Photo by danielvfung

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Hey there, before we get started, I just want to remind you of the coming deadline for our call to new donors to join the ranks of our faithful WORLD Movers. If you’ve been listening all week, you’ve heard us talk about the importance of your financial gifts to keep WORLD strong and supplied.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And you’ve probably also heard that we’re specifically urging you if you’ve never given before to take advantage of a dollar-for-dollar match this week only. Please head over to wng.org/newdonor, and every dollar you give becomes two. But this week only.

BROWN: So double your impact today at wng.org/newdonor. We’re grateful.


PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like me. My name is Whitney Pipkin, and I am a 2008 World Journalism Institute graduate working as a journalist and soon-to-be book author here in Washington, DC area. I hope you enjoy today’s program.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning! Well, June, they say, is pride month. Today on Culture Friday, we’ll talk with author Katie McCoy about the parental pushback that’s making this year different.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today, the Spiderverse sequel opens this weekend. WORLD’s Collin Garbarino has a review.

MOVIE AUDIO: Hey, who’s the new guy? Hey Pav. I’m sorry, who are you? I’m glad you asked new guy. I’m not a new guy!

And Ask the Editor.

BROWN: It’s Friday, June 2nd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.


SOUND: On this vote, the yeas are 63. The nays are 36. The 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the bill is passed.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Debt limit » With that vote in the Senate last night, a bill to raise the federal debt ceiling is heading to the Oval office for the president’s signature.

Senators pushed late in the evening, passing the bill after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged fellow Republicans to back it.

MITCH MCCONNELL: It locks in promising reforms to infrastructure permitting. It claws back unspent COVID emergency funds. It slashes bloated spending at the IRS.

But many Republicans argued that the bill dangerously cuts defense spending while allowing too much spending everywhere else. Sen. Eric Schmitt:

ERIC SCHMITT: I think we’ve got to start dealing with structural reform. We simply are spending too much money with out the needed reform, and that’s why I’m not supporting the bill in its current form.

The House passed the bill Wednesday night. President Biden said he’ll waste no time signing it into law.

Senate votes to nix Biden student debt plan » Hours earlier, the Senate voted to overturn the president’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for more than 40 million people.

Critics say the plan would effectively have many blue collar workers paying for the student loans of other Americans.

Republican Sen. John Thune:

JOHN THUNE: It’s something of a slap in the face to Americans who chose more affordable college options or worked their way through school to avoid taking on student loans.

Opponents also argue the president doesn’t have the authority to forgive the debt on his own with the stroke of a pen.

The vote was 52-to-46. Two Democrats and one left-leaning independent voted for the bill.

They were Sens. Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, and Kyrsten Sinema, an independent.

It now heads to President Biden’s desk, where he is certain to veto it.

Pence/Christie » Three more Republicans are set to jump into the presidential race in the days ahead. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has more.

MARY MUNCY: The Associated Press reports that former Vice President Mike Pence is in, and he’ll formally launch his campaign at a kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday.

Meantime, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will reportedly launch his campaign one day earlier — in New Hampshire.

And North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is expected to enter the race next week, as well.

That’ll bring the rapidly growing number of GOP candidates to 11.

For WORLD, I‘m Mary Muncy.

DeSantis and Trump stump » The top two candidates in early Republican polls are also hitting early voting states.

Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis both campaigned in Iowa this week, with the rivalry between them heating up.

Trump spoke to a conservative group on Thursday in suburban Des Moines.

DONALD TRUMP: I’ve been watching “DeSanctus” go out and say ‘I’ve got eight years. It’s going to be eight years.’ Let me tell you something, right there you should vote against him. It’ll take me six months to have it totally the way it was.

Trump has taken to purposely misstating Ron DeSantis’ name, calling him “Rob DeSanctus.”

For his part, DeSantis talked about the rise during Trump’s presidency of COVID policies that he called “Fauciism.”

RON DESANTIS: In Florida, we chose freedom over “Fauciism,” and we are better for doing that.

He also took a jab without saying Trump’s name, telling a crowd in Des Moines that “leadership is not about entertaining.”

U.S. Sudan sanctions » The White House says that it is imposing sanctions on weapons companies supporting both sides of the violence in Sudan.

The announcement comes as the Sudanese military earlier this week backed out of peace talks with its paramilitary opponent the Rapid Support Forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken says a ceasefire in the country has been—his words “incredibly imperfect and fragile.”

TONY BLINKEN: And now we're seeing actions again by both sides in clear violation of the commitments they made in terms of the cease-fire.

The fighting in Sudan has killed more than 800 people and wounded thousands more.

Iowa apartments update » Several people are still missing after an apartment building partially collapsed in Iowa earlier this week.

Davenport Police Chief Jeff Bladel:

JEFF BLADEL: We had a number of people displaced, but we have families here that are still wanting answers and searching for their loved ones.

A report issued days before the building collapsed said parts of the brick exterior appeared ready to fall, but authorities did not order residents to leave.

Officials say they were relying on a structural engineer who said the building needed repairs but was not at imminent risk of crumbling.

I'm Kent Covington. 

Straight ahead: Culture Friday with Katie McCoy. Plus, returning to the Spiderverse.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s the 2nd day of June 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s Culture Friday.

Joining us now is Katie McCoy. She has a PhD in theology and is author of a book just released, titled “To Be A Woman.” Good morning, Katie!

KATIE McCOY, GUEST: Good morning to you both.

EICHER: So congratulations on the book, first of all.  And I just want to note that I have a level of appreciation for the lead time necessary to have a book produced. So, given the lengthy timeline, did you really imagine that the issues you raise in the book would be so front and center, with the growth of trans identity issues? But before you even get there, did you at least plan the release for “Pride Month”?

McCOY: I did not. And that was entirely out of my hands. The publisher made that decision. And it wasn’t until my brother pointed it out. He said, “did you mean to do this for Pride Month?” I said, “no, I had no idea,” and did not even connect that. So to your first question: You know, yes, and no.

I had seen all of these things happening in the news and had been teaching on this in different venues for several years. And I have seen it evolving. At the same time, I remember turning in the manuscript in mid-September. It seemed like every week at that time there would be something that happened in the news. I thought if I were still writing, I would have to put that in my book; that would be a paragraph, or at least a section, because we saw mounting evidence and now it has all come to the surface in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen before.

Now something that was on the fringes is mainstream, it’s everywhere. In fact, it’s boring to be cisgender. Now you have to root your identity in something related to gender and sexual orientation. And so now, seemingly all of a sudden, it has exploded to the point that it is in the homes of average decent Americans who are not privy to most of these controversies. It’s come to their homes, usually through social media, but also through the entertainment industry and even education.

EICHER: Along these same lines of Pride Month: In previous years, and certainly this was the case last year, it seemed as though these four weeks were to be endured but this year we’re seeing a little pushback. Are you seeing the same?

McCOY: I would agree.

First of all, we have to remember Pride Month has been around for a long time. It started under President Clinton and was expanded under President Obama. Due to the policies of President Biden’s administration, I think we’re seeing this come up in the form of a new level of activism, especially corporate activism. It used to be argued that this was about tolerance, acceptance, respect: Things that every human being should be able to expect from their fellow citizen. Now it isn’t about tolerance any more. This is about recognition.

I think there’s a couple of things going on. First of all it seems like we’re seeing so much more that specifically targets children this year. We’re seeing campaigns targeting parents all over, whether or not they are religious; some of them are atheist, and they’re just saying, “enough, this is enough.” And that is exactly as it should be.

Because what gets lost in this, Nick, is how gender as a concept is based in our biology. It’s driven and informed by our biology. But we understand our sense of who we are as a man or a woman according to our relationships, beginning in our families, and then in society.

The other thing we’re seeing too in that corporate and political agenda is the reality of the spiritual source of so much of this darkness coming from gender confusion and the way that it is targeting vulnerable people. We see especially how the agenda is anti-God and specifically anti-Christ.

You heard about this nun group, these “Sisters of Indulgence?” Yes, some blasphemous thing. Honestly, I saw this mocking of the crucifixion, and the only thing I could think of is that if I were there, I’d want to be walking away before the lightning started to come down. I mean, it was breathtakingly blasphemous. And we have major sports franchise making room for them, giving them an award.

And now who are the opponents? Who are the bad guys now in society? Well, now it’s the Christians. Can you imagine any other world religion receiving this type of mockery and being dusted under the rug? No, if this were happening with people were making fun of Allah, we would have public outcry against Islamophobia. You don’t see them doing this without Allah, Buddha, Confucius, any other major world religion.

BROWN: Let me jump in there real quick. Katie, you know, not only is this so called Pride Month, its presidential campaign launch season. Republicans Ron DeSantis. And Tim Scott announced last week chris Christie and Mike Pence are expected to announce sometime in the next few weeks. And you know, there's been a lot of focus on issues like immigration and abortion. But I'm wondering, what questions should voters be asking these candidates regarding issues of sexuality and gender?

McCOY: It’s a great question.

If parents wanted to turn the tide of all of this in one election cycle, they would ask every candidate to make a statement on where they fall on WPATH standards of care. You can go online and read about what these standards of care entail. They are an activist organization that includes doctors in its ranks, but they’re not a medical organization. It’s an activist organization lobbying for how transgender care should be carried out within the medical community. One of the stipulations that WPATH includes, for instance, is that only one doctor is necessary to approve the gender transition of someone. But then if that person wants to detransition… well, now we need to put some guardrails up. Now we need a multiplicity of voices to weigh into that decision. So essentially, it’s making it more difficult for the person to detransition.

Other things that people should be asking candidates specifically about is the role of gender education in public school systems. Every school district, every state: That is a school district by school district, state by state question. So as important as it is to keep our eyes on what’s happening at the federal level in Washington, it really is what’s happening in your local school district that you need to get very inquisitive about.

The truth is, parents still really do hold the power. They have the ability to hold the candidates feet to the fire on where they stand, not just on the kind of conceptual issue of things like women’s sports or, or the idea of men in women’s spaces, but specifically to ask them where they fall on the government involvement in endorsing things like WPATH standards of care. I would love to see people make this a litmus test issue, as so many other things are.

EICHER: Katie, we’re on our last day for WORLD Journalism Institute, and I wanted to make room for one final student question, and here it is:

JOHANNA HUEBSCHER: Hi, my name is Johanna Huebscher and I'm a rising senior at Bob Jones University attending WJI this week. My question is, as young Christians who are beginning to enter into marriage, how do we decide which forms of birth control are biblically acceptable and which ones are not?

McCOY: That's a wonderful question and one that many women have asked before.

So first, we know that we may not have a specific Bible verse to tack on to it. Instead, we need to take in the whole counsel of Scripture when we approach a question like that. So we know already that anything that would be in abortifacients. So something inducing an abortion is something that we should not participate in. Now, unfortunately, we've got to do our homework, because drug companies can get a little artful in how they define pregnancy and abortion.

So they may say things like, oh, no, it's not causing an abortion. But what they're really saying behind all of that research is, we're not actually acknowledging that a pregnancy at seven weeks is actually a pregnancy. So you've got to do your homework on how pharmaceutical companies are using those definitions. But I think even more than that, there's a broader question. And this isn't to say that people should just have children without having a plan for how to care for them or provide for them or anything like that, but, but I think we do need to consider a broader question. I heard a medical doctor say it this way that the woman's reproductive system is designed to be expressed, not suppressed.

And there is a lot of research coming out on the negative physical effects that the birth control pill has on women, you figure so many of these women have been on it for many years, they get off thinking they can get pregnant immediately. And it doesn't work out like that. Well, some other things that you won't find, again, unless you do your own digging, because birth control is big money. There's a lot of money to be lost if a lot of this information came out mainstream, is that there are a lot of significant side effects to a woman taking hormonal birth control, including on her mental and emotional health. It's linked to increase of stroke and blood clots. It's even linked to some studies demonstrating that it changes a woman's sexual attractions and sexual drive. And so some of these things that are billed as completely side effect free. It's not that case at all.

And not only do we have that moral question, but we even have that question of wisdom is this even best Is this the best thing for a woman to do for her reproductive system? Is is how God designed a woman's body to function. And anytime you're taking a pill that changes your hormone, you're going to have side effects. I'm no doctor, but I can I'm not I'm not the real kind of doctor.

EICHER: When we say doctor, we mean PhD.

McCOY: Thank you. That's good. That's good. I'm not the kind who can can get you out of a real crisis.

BROWN: Katie McCoy has a PhD in theology and is author of the new book “To Be A Woman.” Thank you, Katie.

McCOY: Thank you so much.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, June 2nd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Marvel’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swings back into theaters with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Here’s arts and culture editor Collin Garbarino.

COLLIN GARBARINO: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the much anticipated follow up to 20-18’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The original movie was groundbreaking in both its animation and narrative. And fans of Into the Spider-Verse won’t be disappointed with this sequel.

Across the Spider-Verse picks up where the original movie left off. In the first movie, a variety of Spider-Men from different dimensions come together to defeat a bad guy who risks collapsing the multiverse with a giant supercollider. The Spider-Team prevents the collapse, but at the beginning of this new movie, we learn that their battle poked some holes in the multiverse, letting both good guys and bad guys travel between dimensions.

The hero of this story is Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore. This version of Spider-Man is a science-loving 15-year-old of African-American and Puerto Rican descent.

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Miles’s grades are pretty good. “A” in AP Physics.

MOM: That’s my little man!

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: And AP studio art.

DAD: He takes after his uncle.

But trying to balance the responsibilities of family and school with his secret identity as Spider-Man is proving to be a bit of a challenge for Miles.

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: And a “B” in Spanish.

MOM: What?!

DAD: Whoo. OK.

MOM: Miles!

Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Vélez voice Miles’s parents Jeff and Rio, and their scenes are some of the best in the movie. The movie taps into something real with its depiction of a father and mother struggling with how to parent a teenager who’s trying to make a life for himself.

Then Miles’s sort-of girlfriend Gwen, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, steps back into his life through an interdimensional portal. Gwen is the Spider-Woman in another dimension, and she introduces him to the wider Spider-Verse.

MILES: Wait, wait, wait. Hold on! There’s an elite society with all the best Spider-People in it?

Thousands of Spider-People from thousands of worlds are teaming up to keep the multiverse from collapsing. They need to plug those holes that were left after the supercollider exploded in the last movie. They’re led by Miguel, the Spider-Man from 2099.

MILES: And who’s Miguel?

GWEN: He’s like a ninja, vampire Spider-Man, but a good guy.

MILES: A vampire good guy. I’d pay good money to see that.

Besides Miguel, Miles meets Jessica Drew, a pregnant Spider-Woman who rides a motorcycle; Hobie, a punk rock anarchist Spider-Man who carries a guitar; and Pavitr Prabhakar, an Indian Spider-Man who defends a city that’s a synthesis of Mumbai and Manhattan.

PAVITR: Being Spider-Man is so easy. I fight a few bad guys. Quick break for Chai with my auntie.

MILES: I love Chai tea.

PAVITR: What did you just say? “Chai” means “Tea”—You’re saying “Tea Tea”!

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller return as the creative power behind this sequel. Besides the first Spider-Verse movie, they’re also responsible for the two Lego movies, which are also stellar.

Lord and Miller cover familiar Spidey territory with ideas like, “actions have consequences” and “our hardships define us.” But they add an interesting thought experiment. What if we could erase those hardships in order to alleviate the suffering of others? Would we? Even though that might redefine us?

MIGUEL: You have a choice between saving one person and saving every world.

MILES: I can do both.

In the old days of comics, the conflict lay between a hero and a villain who had obviously wicked motivation—greed, lust for power, revenge. We get that villain in this movie.

But the real conflict—the more interesting conflict—comes between Miles and Miguel. They both think of themselves as the “good guys.” But plenty of evil has been wrought by people who believed they were on the right side of history.

MILES: Everyone keeps telling me how my story is supposed to go. Nah. I’m going to do my own thing.

If you’re thinking about seeing Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, there are a couple of things you should know. First, the movie ends on a cliffhanger. The third installment is due early next year.

Second, the movie is rated PG, but parents need to exercise some discernment. It has a couple of mild profanities. And while many viewers won’t catch it, the movie has a subtle endorsement of the LGBT agenda. Gwen’s not trans, but she has a sign above her bedroom door that says “protect trans kids.” We also see her clash with her tradition-minded father, and one could view a teenager’s coming out as a Spider-Person as a metaphor for coming out as LGBT. There’s also a scene in which a girl swipes through pictures of women online—it’s not clear whether she’s looking for a new hairstyle or looking for a girlfriend.

These issues aside, Lord and Miller have created a worthy sequel for the 20-18 movie. After seeing so many movies, I almost always see the plot twist coming. I’m happy to say this movie had a twist that genuinely surprised me.

I’m hoping Lord and Miller can stick the landing with next year’s finale to the story.

I’m Collin Garbarinio.


NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Friday, June 2nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next, a WJI edition of Ask the Editor. WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler is here with us, good morning Paul.

PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Good morning Myrna, ‘morning Nick.

EICHER: Well Paul, today we wrap up our WJI Collegiate program after more than two weeks of instruction, mentoring, and discipleship. I’m feeling two-weeks tired, because we all had our day jobs, too. But what an encouragement! How do you feel?

BUTLER: Whew! Same! What a ride! Mixed emotions as always. Glad to celebrate with the students today as they finish up their final projects, receive their certificates of completion, and start to pack up for the rest of their summer plans. But I also hate to see it come to an end. It’s been a lot of late nights and early mornings, but these are easily my favorite two weeks of the year.

BROWN: You two can probably guess what I enjoyed most about this year's WJI class - and what I'll remember about our students: their willingness to say yes! We stretched them. We challenged them. We made them sing! And as you said Nick, along with the instruction, there was also discipleship. And I'm thankful I got to be part of that.

EICHER: Paul, you're a former professor, talk about why you think it’s important for us to take the time to build into these college students. Many of them are already in journalism programs at their schools …

BUTLER: Nick, you know this well. You’ve been with WJI from the beginning. There are some really good journalism programs around the country to be sure—and many of them have sent us their best students—so we’re just building on the excellent training they’ve already received. But there are a lot of students here coming from schools without journalism programs, or from programs who approach journalism from a secular or a materialistic point of view. So we have the privilege of opening their eyes to Biblical objectivity—teaching them how their faith can—and should—inform their journalism. And to be honest, it’s a new idea for most of the students who come each year.

EICHER: We got an email this week from someone who lives here in Sioux Center. This person happened to be walking by one of our students talking on the phone to someone back home. And the email writer reported having heard these quotes:

“I didn’t realize that you could build an entire Christian worldview around journalism, but I’m totally bought in…”

“I’ve learned more in the last 5 days than in my entire four years in college”

“Yeah, this is easily the best professional experience of my life; the people actually know what they’re doing and care about you”

I get the sense, Paul, that they were all bought in.

BUTLER: That did show, and that’s so good to hear. We had more applicants this year than ever before, so we opened the program to 32 students this time around. And now we hope that some of them will go on to do internships with us, and eventually join our team. But all of them leave here ready to bring the light of Christ and the gospel into whatever newsroom awaits them.

BROWN: In the weeks ahead, we’ll get to hear and read from a handful of this year’s class. Some will show up in WORLD Magazine, others online at WORLD Digital, and we might even see a couple on World Watch, or hear them here on The World and Everything in It.

EICHER: They really came up with some good stories, and this is like the four-year cicada politics in Iowa, all of our students got to see Republican candidate Tim Scott. A few others went and covered a Ron DeSantis event. Just up close, the way they do politics here in Iowa. Good experience.

But they found non-political stories too. One young lady spoke with the keeper of the cadavers for a university nursing program, another couple of students interviewed a beekeeper, one young lady got to interview a former missionary who’s soon to celebrate her 100th birthday!

BUTLER: One more thing that I’ve been particularly excited about this year is not just the new students, and the new stories, but also seeing the next generation of new WJI instructors stepping up. Harrison Watters, Lillian Hamman, Benjamin Owen, Michelle Schlavin, Lauren Dunn, Leah Savas. They are all WJI graduates within the last four or five years—what a delight to see them not only grow as journalists, but as instructors as they are here mentoring students and coaching stories. Someday, they’ll be the ones leading these courses—and that gives me great hope for the future of this program.

EICHER: Iowa is farm country, and that seems like a fitting metaphor for cultivating, and growing, and harvest applied to the work of journalism and building up journalists. And I don’t want to step away from this without adding a word of thanks to our WORLD Movers for making it possible to provide this program at no cost to students who pay back by working hard and taking this seriously. Yeah, I’m looking for great things from this group.

BROWN: Me too. That’s this month’s Ask the Editor. Thanks Paul.

BUTLER: Thank you both. What a joy teaching with you these last two weeks.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, it’s time to say thanks to the team members who helped put the program together this week: Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Carolina Lumetta, Kim Henderson, Whitney Williams, Onize Ohikere, Grace Snell, Janie B Cheaney, Leo Briceno, Mary Muncy, Travis Kircher, Cal Thomas, Katie McCoy, and Collin Garbarino.

Thanks also to our breaking news team: Kent Covington, Lynde Langdon, Steve Kloosterman, Mary Muncy, Lauren Canterberry, and Josh Schumacher.

And because it takes a late night to ensure your early morning routine, thanks to Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Our producer is Harrison Watters with production assistance from Lillian Hamman, Carolina Lumetta, Bekah McCallum, and WJI student Savannah Shustack.

Paul Butler is our executive producer.

Also a very special thanks to Dordt University and the good people of Sioux Center, Iowa, who’ve gone out of their way to make us comfortable and opened up their hearts to our students.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible says: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence; I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22, verses 2 through 4.

The Lord is worthy to be praised! So, let’s all worship Him this weekend! Lord willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.

Go now in grace and peace.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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