Radio Diaries

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Founded by Joe Richman, Radio Diaries has been giving people tape recorders and working with them to report on their own lives and histories for almost two decades. We’ve collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, bra saleswomen and lighthouse keepers….and along the way we’ve helped pioneer a new form of citizen journalism. Radio Diaries has won every major award in broadcast journalism and produced some of the most memorable documentaries ever heard on public radio. Our stories are broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, This American Life, BBC, and on The Radio Diaries Podcast. We also publish educational materials, including the Teen Reporter Handbook. Radio Diaries is a not-for-profit organization.

Subscribe to the Radio Diaries Podcast at http://www.radiodiaries.org/podcast
Contact us for more information: info [@] radiodiaries.org

Series

Teenage DiariesTeenage Diaries
Since 1996, the Teenage Diaries series has given tape recorders to young people around the country. They conduct interviews, keep audio journals, and record the sounds of daily life — usually collecting more than 30 hours of raw tape over the course of a year, edited into documentaries airing on NPR’s All Things Considered. Whether it’s the story of Amanda, a gay teen trying to understand her sexuality, or the story of Juan, who crossed the Rio Grande with his family illegally, these stories offer insight into the mysterious life of teenagers.


Teenage Diaries RevisitedTeenage Diaries Revisited
16 years ago, Radio Diaries gave a group of young people tape recorders to report on their own lives for our NPR series, Teenage Diaries. Five of the diarists return to chronicle their grown-up lives in Teenage Diaries Revisited. A lot of life happens in 16 years.



Mandela: An Audio History
"Mandela: An Audio History" is a groundbreaking project that weaves together an unprecedented collection of archival sound materials documenting and preserving the story of Nelson Mandela and the struggle against apartheid. Hear a rare recording of the 1964 trial that resulted in Mandela's life sentence; a visit between Mandela and his wife, Winnie, secretly recorded by a prison guard; marching songs of guerilla soldiers; government propaganda films; and pirate radio broadcasts from the African National Conference (ANC).



 
Contenders
There have been 43 presidents in American history. But the names of the hundreds who sought the office – and lost – are often forgotten. "Contenders" tells the stories of some of the most groundbreaking and unusual presidential candidates from elections past.



CristelPrison Diaries
Five inmates, four correctional officers and a judge were given tape recorders. For six months, the diarists kept audio journals and recorded the sounds and scenes of everyday life behind bars: shakedowns, new inmate arrivals, roll call, monthly family visits, meals at the chow hall, and quiet moments late at night inside a cell.




New York Works: Audio Portraits of a Vanishing City

94-year old Selma Koch runs one of New York's last old-style bra fitting shops. Walter Backerman still delivers seltzer along the same route worked by his father and grandfather. Frank Sabatino is one of two commercial fisherman left in Jamaica Bay. Charlie Zimmerman builds the rooftop water tanks that dot Manhattan's skyline. New York Works tells the stories of those who keep the city's past alive.



Willie McGeeAudio HistoriesThese audio documentaries weave together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life. From World War II to the Civil Rights movement, from the mining industry to the music industry, this series shares a rich, in depth look into our history. 


 

Series

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13 Pieces

Weaving together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life.

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8 Pieces

Portraits of some of America’s most original presidential candidates.

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1 Piece

Surprising stories of people thrown together by the pandemic.

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3 Pieces

Portraits of history's last surviving witnesses.

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9 Pieces

The story of South Africa's struggle against apartheid.

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6 Pieces

Audio Portraits of a Vanishing City

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4 Pieces

Five inmates, four correctional officers and a judge were given tape recorders.

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17 Pieces

Since 1996, the Teenage Diaries series has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to report on their own lives.

Caption: Josh Cutler in Teenage Diaries Revisited., Credit: David Gilkey/NPR
5 Pieces

16 years ago, Radio Diaries gave a group of young people tape recorders to report on their own lives for our NPR series, Teenage Diaries. Five of the diarists return to chronicle their grown-up lives in Teenage Diaries Revisited. A lot of life happens in 16 years.

Caption: PRX default Series image
1 Piece

The extraordinary stories of ordinary life.


Pieces

Caption: Studs Terkel
In the early 1970s, radio host and oral historian Studs Terkel went around the country interviewing people about their jobs. Studs recorded more th...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, KALW, Spokane Public Radio, KPTZ, Port Townsend, WA and more


  • Added: Nov 18, 2014
  • Length: 10:13
  • Purchases: 10
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For more than four decades, Radio Row it was the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world. Then in 1966 the stores were cond...

Bought by RadioStPete Florida, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 18, 2014
  • Length: 13:55
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Jeff Rogers
When Jeff Rogers was 16 years old he started referring to himself as a “halfrican.” Jeff has a black father and a white mother. And like many teena...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jun 23, 2014
  • Length: 19:02
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Forrest Carter
Asa Carter was a speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace. He penned one of the most infamous speeches of the era… Wallace’s “Segregation N...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: May 14, 2014
  • Length: 15:54
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Nelson Mandela
The moment Nelson Mandela really became Nelson Mandela was on April 20th, 1964 - fifty years ago. It happened when he stood up in a stuffy South Af...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 21, 2014
  • Length: 17:17
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Frankie Lewchuck, Credit: David Gilkey
As a teenager, Frankie Lewchuck recorded an audio diary about his family in rural Alabama. 16 years later, he recorded a follow up story for the Te...

  • Added: Mar 20, 2014
  • Length: 29:51
Caption: McCoy in the studio circa 1984.
You may not know Rosemarie McCoy’s name, but you probably know her songs. Over 800 of them spanning the full range of American pop music, from Rhyt...

Bought by WXAV 88.3FM Chicago, WSKG, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., WBEZ, and WNMU-FM


  • Added: Feb 18, 2014
  • Length: 53:54
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Bridgette McGee holds a photo of her grandfather., Credit: Teri Havens
In 1951, Willie McGee was executed in Mississippi's traveling electric chair for raping a white woman. Six decades later, his granddaughter is on a...

Bought by KFAI Minneapolis and Georgia Public Broadcasting


  • Added: Feb 13, 2014
  • Length: 28:11
  • Purchases: 2
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Hour-long special of Teenage Diaries Revisited. Back in the 1990s, Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman gave tape recorders to a handful of teens a...

Bought by WHYY, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KOSU, KTSW 89.9, KWGS and more


  • Added: Dec 10, 2013
  • Length: 01:55:15
  • Purchases: 42
Caption: James Weekley, Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein
In West Virginia, people say that in the old days, communities turned into ghost towns when the coal ran out. Now they turn into ghost towns when t...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio and PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 15, 2013
  • Length: 14:45
  • Purchases: 2