found 66 audio documents tagged with American Issues

Land of the Free

Excerpt: "For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is behind bars. For black men between the ages of 20 and 34, that figure is one in nine. Our incarceration rate dwarfs that of every other nation, but our overall crime rate is average for Western countries."


Program: Talking History


Crime, Race, American Issues


Great new Radio Lab about race. Does race even exist?


Producer: Radio Lab
Playtime: 1 hour


Race, American Issues, Genetic

The Power of Sound

If there was any doubt about the power that old fashioned radio still holds in the digital age, consider this NYTimes article about its use by the Taliban.


Where Does Storm Water Go?

Soundprint Story about how Baltimore is trying to keep toxic storm runoff from polluting Chesapeake Bay.

Part "The Wire," part Environmental Hydrology.

[Realplayer required].


Producer: Katie Gott
Program: Soundprint
Playtime: 28 minutes 30 seconds

Inaugural Sound

Great piece with clips of every inaugural address since Calvin Coolidge.  This is from a show (Day to Day) that NPR has canceled.


Producer: Barrett Golding
Program: Day to Day
Playtime: 8 minutes 57 seconds
Date: January, 2009

Rosa Parks Was a Bad Ass

Contrary to her popular image as a meek old lady, Rosa Parks was much more intentional than accidental - someone who "never believed in nonviolence" and was a gun toting radical.


Program: On the Media
Playtime: 6 minutes 42 seconds
Date: January, 2009


Race, History, American Issues

The time is nigh!

The New Yorker's Ben McGrath talks about how the financial collapse relates to the end of the world as we know it...and he feels fine.


Program: New Yorker
Playtime: 10 minutes 20 seconds
Date: January, 2009

Audio News (in case you missed it): Ginsberg to Kissinger in '71 "Let's get naked!"

At the end of last year, transcripts from more Nixon administration audio recordings were released by the National Security Archive.  One of the more entertaining tidbits is a phone conversation between Henry Kissinger and Allen Ginsberg in which Ginsberg proposes that they meet to talk about how to end the Vietnam War.  Kissinger seems surprisingly open to the idea.  But then, kind of out of nowhere Ginsberg makes a strange suggestion.

G: It would be even more funny to do it on television.
K: What?
G: It would be even more useful if we could do it naked on television.
K: (Laughter )

...don't think that meeting ever took place.

The National Security Archive has posted audio of some of Kissinger conversations HERE but, sadly, not this one.


The Tragedy of Juarez

This is a haunting profile of the troubled city of Juarez, Mexico - just across the U.S. border.  Done by the great Scott Carrier, Salt Lake City resident and long time This American Life contributor.  There is no better voice in Public Radio than Carrier's. That is unless you count the cowboy in this story.


Producer: Scott Carrier
Program: Hearing Voices
Playtime: 52 minutes
Date: January, 2009

Audio News: Senator Says She Wants the Fairness Doctrine Back

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) this morning told radio host Bill Press that she thinks that so-called "Fairness Doctrine" -- or something akin to it -- should be brought back to the airwaves. 

The Fairness Doctrine refers to an FCC policy, eliminated under Ronald Reagan, that requires broadcasters who use publicly owned airwaves to present both sides of controversial issues.  It was used during the civil rights era to keep radio in the Deep South from using their stations to oppose civil rights.

The basic concept is that the airwaves are a finite resource, owned by the public and, therefore, should not be used to promoted a biased point of view.  But some conservatives fear that the revival of the doctrine is an attack on conservative talk radio which came of age after the doctrine was abolished.


Program: The Bill Press Show

Army Suicides Outpace Combat Deaths.

NPR reports that Army suicides in January were the highest since they started counting (1980).


Program: All Things Considered

NY Times: 82% of Job Losses Are Men, Women to Overtake Men in the Workforce

Check out the audio interview of the NY times's CATHERINE RAMPELL that accompanies the article.


The History of U.S. Government Surveillance: Didn't start (or end?) with Bush

Here is a website called Tracked in America that tells (with audio from various experts and historians) the history of U.S. Government surveillance going back to the 1798 Alien and Sedition Act - long before the Nixon or Bush administrations were spying on American journalists and citizens.

But Lawrence Wright (one of those  spied-on journalists) was asked on On The Media last week about the Obama administration saying they want more transparency.  He said he had recently made a Freedom of Information Act requests that was denied.  Wright said he "just do[es]n't think that the government is moving in the direction that the president has indicated."  That is - they are not being more open and transparent.


Go Tell it on the Mountain: A History

Soundprint brings a tribute to and history of the spiritual "Go Tell it on the Mountain."


Producer: Jean Dalrymple
Program: Soundprint
Playtime: 28 minutes 31 seconds

Now For Something Really Unimportant

A reporter from the Washington Post used his only question to the President of the United States -- at his first ever press conference -- to ask about a sports player named A-Rod.

Maybe if people didn't take steroids use so seriously, the players would realize the public doesn't take the sport so seriously, and then they might not think it was worth it to take steroids just be good at a sport that people don't take very seriously.


Praying for the Auto Industry

From Rueters:  An audio slideshow on a church service entitled "A Hybrid Hope" at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan December 7, 2008.


Producer: Carlos Barria

Housing Spark Burns Economy

Leonard Lopate talks to John Tallbott, the guy who predicted the housing crash.  He now says things will get worse.  He also says players in the financial system -- not the government or consumers -- are at fault.  There has been lots on the economy but this guy has a unique perspective.  Dire.

"This is a dead cat.  This is not bouncing [back]."


Program: Leonard Lopate
Date: February, 2009


Money, Economy, American Issues

Fan of the Washington Generals?

Slideshow tribute to a team that exists soley to be a "deliberately ineffective opposition as a foil for the Globetrotters' comedy routines."  They have beaten the Globetrotters but once - in 1971.



Sports, American Issues

What Poverty?

Ever wonder why politicians these days always talk about helping the Middle Class but not about helping the poor?  FDR sought to lift Americans out of poverty.  LBJ had a War on Poverty.  So what happened?  NPR Daniel Schorr considers the question in this commentary.


Program: All Things Considered
Playtime: 2 minutes 31 seconds

New This American Life Espisode 381: Turncoat

Main story is about a radical activist who starts spying on his fellow activists for the FBI.


New Transom Show: Jennie's Secret

Story of a woman who pretended to be a man and fought in the civil war.

And this piece about modern gender reassignment  - The Evolution of Y - makes a nice companion.



Gender, American Issues

American Radio Works Revisits the New Deal

Some history of the public works projects of FDR's New Deal.



Economy, American Issues

Nerds in the Hood

PRI doc about people on the mean streets who, in spite of that, manage to achieve.  I just love the title.


Omaha Indian Songs from the American Folklife Center

The American Folklife Center has online collections of American historical recordings like this one - the Omaha Indian funeral song recorded on a wax cylinder in the late 1800's.

"The Omaha had only one funeral song, addressed directly to the spirit of the dead and intended to cheer the spirit on its journey."


History of Alcohol in America

This is from a great (relatively new) monthly show from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities called Back Story (with the American History Guys).  This is a really interesting history of alcohol in the U.S.  The three historians posit that the origins of big government can be found not in the new deal but in prohibition.  The war on drugs and the legislation of morality first came around during prohibition.  But back then, it was considered progressive.


It's nice to hear a southern accent on public radio that is a host and not a subject.  Also interesting in that they take calls.  The callers, in fact are so coherent it makes me wonder how they are screened.


Playtime: 53 minutes

Planet Money Controversy

This is audio of part of an interview Planet Money's Adam Davidson did with TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren.  It features Warren and Davidson going at it pretty heatedly about what Warren's role should be.  The interview subsequently illicited this apology (at about 1:50) in which someone hinted that Davidson's interview was sexist ( he wouldn't have spoken with Tim Geithner like that) and then this scolding by NPR's Ombudsman.  All of which made the interview all that much more interesting and people.  I am sure it is the most even listened to Podcast from Planet money.


Mormons Educating Indians

This is from a recent episode of Third Coast Festival's Re:Sound.  The third segmant is about how Mormons - who believe Native American Indians are a lost tribe of Israel - took 20,000 Indian children from their reservations and brainwashed them - and how some of them might have been happy to go along with it.


[Story starts a little before 15:00]


Date: May, 2009

Who Invented Parenthood?

Harvard author speaks about how demographic changes have caused parenting skills to decline and expert advice to proliferate - a "culture of parental advice" that leaves parents feeling inadequate.



Politics, American Issues

Archive: 1930's United States Coup

Did you know there was coup planned by wealthy fascists in 1930's America?  Did you know that Grandpa Prescott Bush was allegedly involved?  Check out this 2007 BBC doc.

It was a time in which the U.S. was in a serious, prolonged recession.  The president was intervening in the U.S economy in ways that the right wing did not approve of.  The White House was trying to empower the poor and working class.  Right Wing fanatics were hinting at revolution and civil war.


Bill Moyers: Hate Radio

Chilling story from Bill Moyers Journal about "right-wing" talk radio.


Did Warhol Just Like Soup or What?

Studio 360 rebroadcast about the iconic Campbell's Soup paintings.


New Yorker on Savage

New Yorker audio interview with Kelefa Sanneh, who profiled the bombastic, enigmatic talk show host Micheal Savage for the magizine.  This piece is unique for the New Yorker in that it uses multiple clips from Savage's radio show.


The Gates Audio

9-11 call about famously arrested Harvard Professor Henery Lous Gates Jr.  The police dispatch is here too.


New Moon Landing Audio

NASA recently released some previously... un-public(?) audio from the Apollo 11 mission.



About the U.S. Government policy prosecuting terrorist before they strike or...  punishing people before they are guilty er... stopping the gonna-be-guilty while they are still innocent... talking people into doing bad things then arresting them for considering doing them.  Let's call it "entrapment."


But seriously, the subject of this story is hard to feel sorry for.


American Radio Works: Life After Prison (Real Audio)

From the website:

"After an historic, generation-long prison expansion, American prisons are now releasing more than 600,000 inmates each year. The punishment doesn't end at the prison gates. On the outside, ex-prisoners face tattered connections to family and more closed doors. They also pose a challenge for the places they go home to"


Story Corps: Guy who desinged the 50 state flag

He did it as a high school project.  His teacher gave him a B- ...until the president called.  It's a 2 minute story with four minutes of music after it.  Weird.


WaPo Slide Show on Teddy

Washington Post Slide Audio Slide show on the late Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy.


On the Train With Another Fallen Kennedy

NYTimes audio slide show about Paul Fusco's "RFK Funeral Train" project.  Fusco was a photog for Look Magazine on  board the train carrying Robert Kennedy from L.A. to D.C.  Found as part of Benjamin Chesterton's "Mulitmedia of the Month" series on Resolve: "A collaborative online community that brings together photographers and photo industry professionals of every kind to find ways to keep photography relevant, respected, and profitable."


Thurgood Marshall

42 years ago this week (August 30 1967) Thurgood Marshal became the first African American on the Supreme Court, opening the door for three women and two more minorities subsequently.  American Radio works did this documentary in 2004 called "Thurgood Marshall Before the Court."


NYT Audio Something or Other: Rumsfeld Message Machine '06

Another multimedia piece that skews the lines between visual and audio mediums.  New York Times report on the 2006 tracing the Pentegon's reaction to the 2006 "General's Revolt" in which retired generals started calling for Rumsfeld's ouster.

I still see it as audio documentary because of the de-emphasized of the visual and the independent cohesion of the piece's audio (i.e., it makes sense if you just listen and don't watch).


Five Farms Documentary Series

This series from the Center for Documentary Studies was apparently released this past spring but is a perfect listen for the fall harvest season.  Five American family farms profiled including a traditional Hopi farm family.


The Mall: Heart Failure for Cities

Link to Hearing Voices' post of the Radio Lab rebroadcast of a Hearing Voices piece that played on Living on Earth in 2005.

City X by Johnathan Mitchell.
The familiar story of a small Midwestern city, its mall, and the most common cause of city death - heart disease.



Money, Economy, American Issues

All the President's Mom

Connor Walsh alerts us to this BBC doc about the mother of President Barack Obama.  Ann Dunham is described as a globe trotting "peacnik." She studied archaeology and anthropology of agricultural blacksmiths.  She got grants from the Ford Foundation and loans from the World Bank and worked to help rural people get loans to start small businesses.


Playtime: 22 minutes 26 seconds
Date: September, 2009

Letter from Prague: There Goes the Neighbourhood Again

A monologue from Prague on what happens when you go home to find police all around your house…

- Audio Documentary London Bureau


Playtime: 3 minutes 52 seconds
Date: October, 2009


Politics, American Issues

BBC Environmental Road Trip

The BBC's weekly environmental programme, One Planet, goes on an American road-trip. The Englishmen see big cars, generous people, and the inventor of lithium-ion batteries. All on the road to Copenhagen.

- Audio Documentary London Bureau


Playtime: 27 minutes 2 seconds
Date: November, 2009

The Perfect Job

Oleg Kalugin was a KGB agent in Washington DC. And he really lived the life.

- Audio Documentary London Bureau


Playtime: 11 minutes 30 seconds


UPDATED February 2010.


A deeply engaging and disturbing feature on "survivors" – individuals who have survived solitary confinement in American prisons. 

Photo by Terry Foss, from

Claire Schoen did a shorter version of this piece for Day to Day (a show NPR canceled earlier this year).  It has 9 former prisoners describing their experiences with solitary confinement. Listen here.


Producer: Claire Schoen
Playtime: 28 minutes 58 seconds


Law, Crime, American Issues

Transom: Matthew offers up a stunning monologue. Matthew is engaging, moving, and dynamic. Includes some sexual references.


– Audio Documentary London Bureau


Playtime: 18 minutes 45 seconds

All Things Considered

NPR's All Things Considered just turned 39.  Hard to imagine but it's first day it featured a 24 minute documentary of a war protest.  Click the link to listen.


Kent State Killings 40th Anniversary

May 4 1970 the National Guard opened fired on anti-war protesters at Kent State in Ohio. The Kent State Radio Station WKSU just launched a May 4 1970 audio archive. 

Two years ago newly enhanced audio recordings from the occurance seemed to show an order to fire.  KBOO, WKSU, and NPR had the story then.

If you are interested in a career with the Army National Guard click this link!


No Brother of Mine

Winner of a 2011 Edward R. Murrow Regional Award, an unflinching look at U.S. sex offender policies.


Playtime: 54 minutes 1 second


Sex, Law, Crime, American Issues

The "Wetbacks"

Immigrants flowing across the U.S. border is nothing new. This doc from 1954 is a nostalgic eye-opener to a nearly century-old issue.



Pearl Harbor News on the Radio

Radio Days' collection of the news breaking on various radio stations. In one, the operator seizes the phone line during a live broadcast from Honolulu (which the announcer pronounces HOE-nah-lu-lu).


Supreme Court Audio: Health Care

Supreme Court Afordable Care Act arguements day 1  and day 2 the stunning day 3.

The court has dark comedic moment of levity starting at about 30:00 with reference to Jack Benny's comedy bit "Your money or your life." Here is a link to that historic comedy bit.


Date: March, 2012

War with Jonathan Goldstein's Mother

A team of creative types, a radio producer, and a medical interpreter (who happens to be creative at radio) have come together to create a new show – words escape me. It's well named. Episode one admits being influenced by CBC's WireTap, and then gets un-Canadian and competitive about it. Episode two of this radio show is about annoying noises. Very promising.



American Issues

Raw Audio Of Aurora Shooting Police/Fire Dispatch


VP Biden As Audio Documentarian

From a guy who loves to to talk. I imagine it being pitched to him: "Look Joe, we figured out a way you can just talk away and say whatever you want. You can have your very own podcast!"

Being Biden is a quizzical foray onto soundcloud by the man second in line to be leader of the free world. Go Joe.



American Issues

Supremely Gay (SCOTUS AUDIO of Hollingsworth v. Perry)

I love the Supreme Court audio policy. And what would we do without Nina Totenberg?


What is LBJ admitting here?

I'm not completely sure but he was apparently drinking beer in a car that nearly had an accident...


WBUR David Foster Wallace Interview From 1996 Unearthed

Also, scroll down to the bottom for a fascinating first-hand account of DFW in rehab with the folks upon whom Infinite Jest's characters were based.


via @gothamist: Freelance Spys are Publishing Your Conversations

A clever if cynical critique of public apathy in the face of pervasive U.S government surveillance, We Are Always Listening secretly places recording devices in public places around New York City to record the conversations of unassuming New Yorkers. It then publishes them on their website. Yep.

Watch what you say New York. They are always listening...