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Spectacular Failures

Author: American Public Media

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Corporate crookedness. Family feuding. Hilariously half-baked decisions. Host Lauren Ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time, and what could have been done to avoid them. Some of these stories are shocking. Some are funny. Some are just downright sad. But each one will give you a totally new perspective on big business… and big failure. From American Public Media.
20 Episodes
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Corporate crookedness. Family feuding. Hilariously half-baked decisions. Host Lauren Ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time, and what could have been done to avoid them. Coming June 17.
How Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s wildly popular Christian theme park was upended by fraud, scandal and lavish spending. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram, where you can see photos from Lauren's tour of the former Heritage USA property. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Unlimited movie theater tickets for $9.99 a month? It sounds too good to be true and, well... it might be. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram, where you can see photos from Lauren's tour of the former Heritage USA property. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
"The beer that made Milwaukee famous" cuts corners. And loses its most loyal customers. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
A family-owned business fights a billion-dollar, multinational company. And wins. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Visit our website for this week’s BizWiz link at spectacularfailures.org Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Kodak misses its moment

Kodak misses its moment

2019-07-1534:4427

The world's largest photography company pioneers the snapshot, invents the digital camera and... declares bankruptcy. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Failed therapy sessions, fistfights in the board room and even murder accusations. U-Haul’s trip to bankruptcy will make you think twice about mixing business and family. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
The aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire helped usher in higher wages, safer conditions and a prohibition on child labor. But the problems that led to the fire haven’t gone away. Not even close. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Charles Keating robbed working people of their life savings and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. All under the watch of powerful politicians. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Toys R Us goes bust

Toys R Us goes bust

2019-08-1236:499

No amount of nostalgia could save Toys R Us from the private equity firms that owned it. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
By the time the final dice were thrown, Trump's Atlantic City casino operations had gone bankrupt six times. Despite that, Trump won the long game. You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter and Facebook using @failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
Spectacular Failures is back for season two, starting August 3rd! 2020 has been a year of fail. Global pandemic, check. Economic meltdown, check. Political unrest, check. Busted businesses and collapsed corporations are having a moment, and who better to tackle those tales than Lauren Ober and Spectacular Failures?Sign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter. Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.
The meal kit delivery service was almost belly-up before the pandemic hit. But then people stuck cooking at home gave the brand a lifeline. Investors found it tastier than ever, but will customers still hanker for the big blue box once this is all over?Our sponsors this week: Betterhelp: betterhelp.com/spectacular code spectacularNetSuite: netsuite.com/spectacularPolicygenius: policygenius.comSign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter. Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.Spectacular Failures is powered by you. Support the show with a donation at spectacularfailures.org/donate.
The mom-and-pop fast-fashion retailer exploded into malls across the globe. But eventually, Forever 21 unraveled like the hem on a cheap crop top.Our sponsors this week:Fiverr: fiverr.com promo code SPECTACULARNetSuite: NetSuite.com/SPECTACULARThe Great Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com/spectacularSign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
Livent was a showstopper of an operation. But eventually, forgery and fraud stole the scene, the money exited stage left, and the lead actor landed behind bars.Our sponsors this week:Indeed: indeed.com/spectacularNetSuite: netsuite.com/spectacularThe Great Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com/spectacularSign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
When Hooker Chemical sold its infamous toxic waste landfill to the Niagara Falls School Board, the $1 deal left Niagara residents seriously ill. But few believed the company could truly be at fault...until it was too late. Our sponsors this week:NetSuite: netsuite.com/spectacularBetterhelp: betterhelp.com/spectacularSign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
The recording industry, Metallica, and ultimately federal court put the brakes on Napster’s music file sharing. But before exiting the stage, Napster changed the way we listen to music—and how much we’re willing to pay for it. [Editor’s note - Sept. 1, 2020: This episode has been updated to reflect that “CyberTalk” was a group effort overseen by Jeff Gold. An earlier version characterized it as his solo effort.] Our sponsors this week:Bombas: bombas.com/spectacularPolicy Genius: policygenius.comNetSuite: netsuite.com/spectacularSign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
Got milk? These days, chances are maybe not. Americans have been saying no thanks for years now, and changing consumer tastes have been bad news for what used to be the nation’s largest milk processor, Dean Foods. Sign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout. OUR SPONSORS THIS WEEK The Great Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com/spectacular  NetSuite: NetSuite.com/spectacular  BetterHelp: betterhelp.com/spectacular 
Pan Am made air travel cool—from chic crew uniforms to exotic locations to square-jawed flyboy pilots. But a couple of bad business deals, massive deregulation, and a devastating terrorist attack sunset the airline for good.Our sponsors this week: Betterhelp: betterhelp.com/spectacularThe Great Courses Plus: thegreatcoursesplus.com/spectacular Sign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
Before the housing bubble burst, Countrywide Financial was one of the nation’s largest home mortgage lenders. But after years of predatory lending practices, the predator went extinct. Our sponsors this week: Indeed - Indeed.com/spectacular Policy Genius - Policygenius.com Our Crowd - ourcrowd.com/spectacular Sign up to receive our brand new newsletter, featuring weekly recommendations from Lauren and the rest of the team at spectacularfailures.org/newsletter.Read the transcript of the trailer at spectacularfailures.org.You can follow Spectacular Failures on Twitter at @failureshow and like us at Facebook.com/failureshow. We're @failure_show on Instagram. Follow Lauren Ober on Twitter and Instagram at @oberandout.
Comments (37)

Jennifer Kloeckner

This was absolutely interesting. I work for a dairy that bought several of the Dean plants after bankruptcy.

Sep 9th
Reply

Jeff Simunic

snaaarrrkkkeeee

Sep 5th
Reply

daisy

this is a very silly podcast

Aug 19th
Reply

Schaz

This show is my most favorite biz show; informative, amusing, and concise. Thanks guys! Keep the good work

Aug 11th
Reply

Evan Ferris

add this podcast to the list of failures as well. no more new content.

Mar 31st
Reply

Jon Wallace

The store was already failing. Retail is failing. Millions of people in retail have been laid off (according to this podcast), yet somehow the story goes on to blame Wallstreet for the store closing lol. The typical story of how the "big bad wallstreet guys" are the enemy. Even stooped low enough to play audio of children crying when they found out the store was closing. This is trash...

Dec 31st
Reply

Asutsu

Shitty movie? More like shitty podcast. Instant unsubscribe. Goodbye

Dec 29th
Reply

pravin surianarayanan

awesome podcast

Nov 21st
Reply

Chris Horton

Being originally from New York most of these events were known to me which is why I was against Trump becoming President. I found many, maybe most, of the people in the Midwest where I now live unaware of Trump's history of business failures while lining his pockets. I hope that this well done, factual podcast will be heard by many who don't know these true stories.

Aug 31st
Reply (1)

Jesus Coria

The Atlantic City whale jab actually had me laughing in my seat.

Aug 19th
Reply (1)

Megan Divers

The snarky remarks are what make this podcast fantastic! If it were a straightforward history lesson on unfortunate business failures, it would be depressing. A lot of these are laugh or cry situations, and I appreciate that we can laugh! Fascinating history with a side of dumb "dad" jokes, for the win! This is like a SparkNotes comedy version of American History Tellers, in the very best way. Keep your humor, keep your enthusiasm, and keep talking as fast as you want. I love it and I'm here to stay!

Aug 15th
Reply (1)

Hiroyuki Okamoto

Nothing personal, but the narrator tries to be funny/snarky, without success. Also, too scripted. Please try and sound more natural. Otherwise, good content.

Aug 13th
Reply (2)

Chris Horton

I truly enjoy this podcast and the occasional glib comments a refreshing.

Aug 8th
Reply (1)

Jason Bui

The snarky remarks are the worse part of this podcast. Stop!

Aug 7th
Reply (1)

Jeremiah C.

ZzzzZZZzzzz snoozer😴

Aug 6th
Reply (1)

Egy Poluf

This was an invigorating podcast :)

Aug 5th
Reply

D.L. George

I wish you wouldn't talk so fast it makes it hard to understand you sometimes.

Jul 29th
Reply (2)

Carl Doby

It is nasty beer

Jul 22nd
Reply (3)

Danielle Parr

anyone jump out of their skin at 16:30? the unexpected onset of that music scared the crap out of me 🤣

Jul 18th
Reply (1)

Cynthia S

Really enjoy this podcast!!!

Jul 15th
Reply
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