BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Steve Martin at 703-715-0827 or steve@sfmconsulting.com.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: Ansel Adams, Boulder Dam 1941, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for BackStory episode, 'Tapped Out: Thirsting For Fresh Water,' with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. ...

  • Added: Jul 30, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: Ansel Adams, Boulder Dam 1941, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for BackStory episode, 'Tapped Out: Thirsting For Fresh Water,' with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. ...

  • Added: Jul 30, 2014
  • Length: :00
Caption: Cover image of Vogue, 1942, Credit: Smithsonian Museum of American History
30-second promo for BackStory episode, 'States of Mind: Mental Illness in America' [rebroadcast] with 5-second music bed at end for station-specifi...

  • Added: Jul 25, 2014
  • Length: 54:02
Caption: Cover image of Vogue, 1942, Credit: Sm
Summer might mean taking off the layers, but what Americans wear reflects so much more than the weather. In this episode, we explore what our self-...

Bought by KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, and WRGY


  • Added: Jul 25, 2014
  • Length: 54:02
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Cover image of Vogue, 1942, Credit: Smithsonian Museum of American History
30-second promo for BackStory episode, 'American Apparel: A History of Fashion,' with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: A woman in a "state of hysteria.", Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Recent estimates suggest that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from a “mental disorder” at some point in their lifetime, making the once “abn...

Bought by WEZU, WXDU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, and WRIR


  • Added: Jul 18, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Woman in hysteria, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Recent estimates suggest that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from a “mental disorder” at some point in their lifetime, making the once “abn...

  • Added: Jul 18, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Women in hysteria, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for BackStory episode, 'States of Mind: Mental Illness in America' [rebroadcast] with 5-second music bed at end for station-specifi...

  • Added: Jul 15, 2014
  • Length: :30
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Host Brian Balogh talks with sociologist Harry Edwards, founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, about the iconic moment at the 1968 Olympi...

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 14, 2014
  • Length: 09:20
  • Purchases: 2
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Producer Bruce Wallace explains how ping-pong helped to thaw U.S.- China relations during the 1970s, while remaining a potent field for propaganda ...

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 14, 2014
  • Length: 11:14
  • Purchases: 2
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Producer Kelly Jones and archivist Jane Tuttle bring us the story of trailblazer Lucile Godbold’s participation in international athletics in the 1...

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 14, 2014
  • Length: 06:11
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Players in the US Soccer team, 1916, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The World Cup has put the spotlight, once again, on Americans’ decidedly mixed relationship with soccer. Have Americans finally succumbed to the lu...

  • Added: Jul 11, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Players in the US Soccer team, 1916 , Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The World Cup has put the spotlight, once again, on Americans’ decidedly mixed relationship with soccer. Have Americans finally succumbed to the lu...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, and WRGY


  • Added: Jul 11, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Players in the US Soccer team, 1916, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "U.S. vs. Them: Sports on the World Stage” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Jul 09, 2014
  • Length: :30
Piece image
As Americans prepare their grills or stake out a good spot for local fireworks displays, BackStory celebrates Independence Day with a classic episo...

Bought by WRGY, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 04, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
As Americans prepare their grills or stake out a good spot for local fireworks displays, BackStory celebrates Independence Day with a classic episo...

  • Added: Jul 04, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Piece image
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Independence Daze: A History of July Fourth [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-speci...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 02, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: President Johnson and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. shake hands after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Credit: Library of Congress
BackStory marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with an in-depth look at this momentous legislation. With perspective from activists a...

Bought by WRPI, KFOK-LP, WRGY, WEZU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and more


  • Added: Jun 27, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: President Johnson and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. shake hands after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Credit: Library of Congress
BackStory marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with an in-depth look at this momentous legislation. With perspective from activists a...

  • Added: Jun 27, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: President Johnson and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. shake hands after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Legislation Impossible: The Civil Rights Act of 1964” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific t...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 25, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1