“Dear Sugar Radio,” the podcast on Boston’s public radio station WBUR that grew out of the advice column with a cult following in The Rumpus, will soon be part of The New York Times.
Hosted by “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed and “Beyond Football” author Steve Almond, the podcast, which will be renamed “Dear Sugars,” is part of The Times’ efforts to expand its offerings.
“I learned very early on that the Times is taking seriously and committing to the need to be as important to people in the lifestyle space as they are in the journalism and news space,” said executive producer for audio Lisa Tobin, who came to The Times from WBUR last year. The Times, which has partnered with WBUR on its “Modern Love” podcast, will also work with the radio station’s audio division on “Dear Sugars.”
But, Tobin explained, the fundamental DNA of the podcast won’t change to suit its new environs — although Oprah Winfrey, who is Strayed’s friend, will give advice about dealing with a demanding family member.
“I don’t think in the approach we are going to change anything meaningfully because I think it has always been intended and designed to be very universal. When Cheryl started writing the column, it was with the idea of a person speaking directly to the universal human experience,” Tobin said. “Bringing it to The Times really means introducing it to a new and larger audience.”
Strayed and Almond will also write a weekly advice column where they answer readers’ letters, based on the original column, in the Thursday Styles section. The Times will also introduce a new column inspired by “Dear Sugars” that will run in Thursday Styles.
“The idea of turning it into a show came from that column, and now it’s coming full circle — it’s going to become a column again,” Tobin said.