Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network today announced the relaunch of Vox Conversations as The Gray Area, hosted by Sean Illing. Speaking with some of the deepest thinkers out there, Illing and his guests will provide a philosophical take on culture, politics and everything in between. The first episode is out today and features an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson as he explains why scientific illiteracy should be considered a political crisis, and how we can achieve a more informed democracy. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.
“Our team has been working for over a year to build the foundation for The Gray Area,” says Illing. “I’m proud to offer our audience a space for ambitious, open-ended conversations about our deepest challenges.”
The Gray Area is committed to real dialogue on a wide array of topics in a way that embraces ambiguity, resists certainty, and asks listeners to react less and think more. Upcoming episodes will include conversations on issues like whether we’re living through a third era of Reconstruction, how certain aspects of political movements have taken on an almost religious significance in people’s lives, and the philosophical, moral, and legal issues that rise up around physician-assisted suicide. The show will also explore the philosophy of gender, the ethics of mourning, and what the 2022 Midterm outcomes might mean for America.
Illing joined Vox in 2016 as a senior writer, covering politics, culture, and media for the outlet. Illing took on full-time hosting duties for Vox Conversations this summer after serving as co-host since 2021, and he previously hosted Future Perfect: The Way Through for Vox, a limited eight-episode series that explored the ways in which humans have navigated suffering throughout history. In his time co-hosting Vox Conversations, Illing helped audiences understand the current moment with conversations with people like John McWhorter about antiracism, Lyndsey Stonebridge about the relevance of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy and Michael Ian Black on how to raise better men. Illing’s first book, The Paradox of Democracy, was published in June of this year. Prior to joining Vox, Illing taught philosophy at LSU and Loyola University, and served as a paramedic in the United States Air Force.
“Sean’s experience teaching philosophy and covering politics combine in a unique way on The Gray Area, offering listeners an approach to making sense of the world that values complexity and uncertainty over easy answers and hot takes,” says A.M. Hall, deputy editorial director, podcasts, at Vox. “I’m thrilled that Sean will facilitate these conversations and that Vox has a podcast committed to this engagement with and exploration of ideas.”
The Gray Area is hosted by Sean Illing, produced by Erikk Geannikis, edited by Amy Drozdowska, and engineered by Patrick Boyd. Additional support for the show comes from deputy editorial director of podcasts A.M. Hall and executive director of audio Katherine Wells. The music for The Gray Area is composed by Alex Overington.
About Vox Media Podcast Network:
Home to award-winning shows like Today, Explained, Criminal, Pivot, and Stay Tuned with Preet, the Vox Media Podcast Network features industry-leading voices and storytellers from Vox Media’s editorial networks and beyond. From daily news and tech to culture and sports, and talk and interview shows to news and rich narrative storytelling, the Vox Media Podcast Network is one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most topically diverse collections of premium podcasts. Learn more about the Vox Media Podcast Network here.