Sarah Lilley grew up in Philadelphia and spent most of fourth grade under the covers listening to CBS Radio Mystery Theater. Initially dreaming of life as a physicist, she earned a B.A. in Music (the other physics) from the University of California at Berkeley, and later an M.A. in Science Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
As a longtime Contributing Producer of arts and science features to Public Radio International‘s “Studio 360 — with Kurt Andersen” since 2002, Lilley was a member of the team that produced the 2004 Peabody-Award-winning program “American Icon: Moby Dick“. She oversaw the 2005 launch and first 3 years of their “Science & Creativity” series (funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation), to which she remained a principal contributor for its decade-long run. She has additionally produced for WNYC / New York Public Radio, The New Yorker Radio Hour, StoryCorps, Slate Studios, KPCC / Southern California Public Radio, American Public Media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and WFUV New York. For the company Acoustiguide, Lilley wrote, produced — and frequently voiced — museum audio tours, including several at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Her tour “Uncommon Commentary” at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, TX, won the 2007 Gold MUSE award, the top media prize from the American Alliance of Museums.
In the Fall of 2015, Lilley produced the 8-part, science-fictional podcast “The Message” for the Panoply network (on behalf of General Electric and BBDO). Based on an original script by playwright Mac Rogers, it featured 10 actors, recorded on set. It reached No.1 on the iTunes podcast chart, won the 2016 Webby Award for “Best Use of Native Advertising” and was awarded one of the Gold Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. She has since produced several sponsored-content pieces for National Public Media (the creative services division of NPR), with clients including Westin Hotels, Wells Fargo and Comcast.
Lilley is currently producing a podcast for Malcom Gladwell’s company Pushkin Industries, slated for release in early 2021.
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