Corus Entertainment’s Curiouscast network is bringing listeners back two whole decades with an all-new, exciting podcast, sure to awash listeners in a wave of nostalgia.
Early Wednesday morning, the History of the ’90s podcast debuted its first episode.
So what’s the show all about? Once every two week, co-creator and host Kathy Kenzora, takes a deep dive into some of the truly defining moments of the 1990s, sparing absolutely no details along the way.
From the horrific 1999 Columbine mass shooting and its aftermath, to the generally untold backstory of struggles behind the making of The Lion King, or the seemingly endless buzz surrounding Beverly Hills, 90210 and it’s upcoming reboot, Kenzora’s weekly show highlights just how important these pivotal events were and how they’ve impacted how we live in the modern world.
In the first episode, Kenzora looks back at how tabloids had a feeding frenzy over the highly-controversial Amy Fisher/”Long Island Lolita” story.
As a follow-up, special guest David Kamp of Vanity Fair sits down with Kenzora in the second episode to explain how the coverage of front-page stories in the ’90s seemed so out of proportion, as a result of the popularity of various different tabloid TV shows.
History of the ’90s broadens and expands on Kenzora’s popular and more specific History of 1995 podcast — which was recognized as one of Apple’s Best Canadian Podcasts in 2018.
“The 90’s is one of the most fascinating decades in modern history. To stop and think about how much the world has changed as a result of that short window of time is truly remarkable,” said Chris Duncombe, the director of streaming and podcasting at Corus Entertainment.
The cast of ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ poses for a press photo in 1991.
“Not only will this podcast explore some of the biggest moments of the ’90s, Kathy will also take a deep dive into stories many listeners have likely never heard before,” he added. “We’re so excited to share this new podcast with Curiouscast listeners.”
Beginning her own career with Corus Entertainment as a passionate and dedicated journalist at AM640, Kenzora sat down with Global News to detail everything about the podcast.
Global News: Why do you think the ’90s makes for such a fascinating decade as opposed to others?
Kathy Kenzora: The reason I started my first podcast was because I was a reporter in the ‘90s. I was in my 20s. I covered a bunch of huge stories from that time period, including the Paul Bernardo murder trial, the OJ verdict in L.A., and we also had a big subway crash in the city in 1995. There were a lot of big Canadian stories too: the Quebec referendum, the Ipperwash crisis, and I just remembered it as being such a tumultuous time for myself, as a reporter, that I started to piece together that a lot of those incredibly life-altering stories took place in 1995.
As for the ‘90s as a whole, to me, it feels like it was just such an important time period for everyone present. There were so many changes taking place, that we haven’t really been given the chance to look back on them properly until now, because we have those years of hindsight to realize how much of a ripple effect its created for us. The ‘90s changed a lot about how things are in today’s society.
Amy Fisher is escorted into the federal courthouse in Buffalo, N.Y., in this Sept. 26, 1996 photo. March 2, 2002.
Global News: I understand you’ll be focusing on tabloid media in the very first episode. Can you elaborate further on that trend and what you’re analyzing specifically?
We’re taking a look at one story in particular for this episode, the Amy Fisher story — or, as it was known, the “Long Island Lolita” story. It really was a perfect example of how tabloid media really took hold in the ‘90s. There were always stories that seemed like they weren’t very significant, and then they were blown way out of proportion into these massive nationwide front-page stories. It was a feeding frenzy.
It wasn’t only Amy Fisher, but the stories of Tonya Harding, Lorena Bobbitt, or even the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal — which steered away completely from a political or even legit news story. What was fueling it, at the time, was the popularity of TV shows like Inside Edition and A Current Affair, there were so many of those infotainment shows. It turned into this constant cycle of people wanting to consume anything they could get their hands on.
Global News: How do you think ‘The History of the ’90s’ differs from any other ’90s-based podcast?
What we’re trying to do is not just give you a recounting of notable events form the ‘90s, we’re really more focused on looking at the impact that those events had and still have on us today. A perfect example of this is the Columbine shooting in 1999, which we will cover in our third episode. Unfortunately, it seemed to have launched what some people are referring to as the “school shooting era,” and for a number of a reasons, it almost set a playbook for other school shooters that have copied the events of that shooting, sadly, within the last 20 years.
Now, we are now able to see the toll that one tragic day in 1999 took on society over next two decades. We’ve had dozens more mass shootings and lost hundreds more lives since then. So while we will discuss the events of that day, we’ll focus on talking to people who have had a chance to process it and see how it has directly impacted us in present day.
Global News: It seems everyone is talking about things like Pokémon, Disney, or more specifically, The Lion King live-action remake. Will you discuss any of these in the podcast?
We actually have an upcoming episode based around The Lion King. It’s going to come out just before John Favreau’s remake. We’re going to talk about the original film, of course, when it was made and how it wasn’t a favourite of Disney’s. The story behind how The Lion King was made might not be a story that people know. Sure, they know about the film, its phenomenal impact on society and how it ultimately changed the entertainment industry, but we want to give listeners some new information that they might not have heard before.
Disney really didn’t expect the film to do the amazing things it did. They were more focused on Pocahontas — which was being made at the same time — so they weren’t putting all of their top resources into it.
Global News: What other topics do you plan to cover?
We want to cover a little bit of everything, from news, to pop culture, to sports and so on. Things like Nelson Mandela, Mike Tyson or even toys and gadgets, like Tamagotchis. Did you have one of those growing up?
Global News: Oh, absolutely!
Well, we hope to cover a lot of those fun things too. There really is a lot of great stuff coming and there’s absolutely no shortage of material. We’re even hoping to do something on 90210 since there’s a reboot coming soon too. To me, It almost seems like the ‘90s are the new ‘80s. We went through that phase about 10 years ago, when everybody was nostalgic about the ‘80s, wearing clothes from that era, playing the old video games and all kinds of other stuff.
But now, you can walk into a store like Urban Outfitters and it’s filled with ‘90s memorabilia and graphic tees for kids and teens who weren’t even alive in the ‘90s. It’s funny to see them appreciate some of things that we grew up on and loved even though they weren’t around. [Laughs]
Children show their ‘Tamagotchi’ electronic pet toy on Oct. 25, 2017 in Paris, France. Tamagotchi is a virtual electronic animal which means “cute little egg” and simulates the life of an animal. Twenty years after its creation, the Japanese company Bandai reissues the famous limited edition toy that is available today in France.
Global News: Do you think this recent thirst for ‘90s nostalgia will ever end?
Yeah, I do. I really do. Of course you can still consume things revolving around the ‘60s and ‘70s and find them interesting, but I really believe the ‘90s is the big thing as of right now. With all these ‘90s artists coming back with brand-new music and reunion tours, movies being remade and clothing trends living on, it’s like the 1990s are thriving all over again.
It seems these trends go in cycles, where we have people reaching a certain age. Right now, it’s probably people mainly in their late-twenties and early-thirties that are so drawn to the ‘90s, because that’s when they grew up. But it’ll be the same with the next generation and the 2000s, for sure. It all depends on the age of the listener. Different ages call for different perspectives. That’s the beauty of it.
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]
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Curiouscast and Global News are both properties of Corus Entertainment.
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