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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 Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.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: Cover of Vogue, 1942., Credit: Smithsonian Museum of American History
30-second promo for "American Apparel" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Aug 25, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Cover of Vogue, 1942., Credit: Smithsonian Museum of American History
30-second promo for "American Apparel" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. Full episode will be uploaded on Friday 8...

  • Added: Aug 25, 2015
  • Length: :00
Caption: "Chicago in Flames: Scene at Randolph Street Bridge," depicting the Great Fire of 1871. Currier & Ives. , Credit: Library of Congress
This summer, hundreds of thousands of acres are burning across the West. It’s a reminder that a force of nature, mastered but not tamed over the mi...

  • Added: Aug 21, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: "Chicago in Flames: Scene at Randolph Street Bridge," depicting the Great Fire of 1871. Currier & Ives. , Credit: Library of Congress
This summer, hundreds of thousands of acres are burning across the West. It’s a reminder that a force of nature, mastered but not tamed over the mi...

Bought by KSFR and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Aug 21, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
Horrified by accounts of lynchings in his home state of Missouri, Mark Twain penned a dark, satirical essay on the subject — but then, he chose not...

  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 07:35
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
Comedians Azie Dungey and Jordan Black examine how history figures into their satirical web series Ask a Slave. This piece comes from the BackSto...

  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 06:43
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
BackStory producer Emily Gadek has the story of a satirical arms race during the election of 1884 that changed the face of political cartooning. ...

  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 07:52
Caption: "Chicago in Flames: Scene at Randolph Street Bridge," depicting the Great Fire of 1871. Currier & Ives. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Where There's Smoke" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Depiction of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm, in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1889)., Credit: Library of Congress
In recognition of New Horizons’ historic journey to Pluto, BackStory is returning to our episode on space. From Cotton Mather’s list of every comet...

  • Added: Aug 14, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Depiction of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm, in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1889)., Credit: Library of Congress
In recognition of New Horizons’ historic journey to Pluto, BackStory is returning to our episode on space. From Cotton Mather’s list of every comet...

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


  • Added: Aug 14, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Depiction of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm, in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1889)., Credit: Lib
30-second promo for "Starry-Eyed" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by WRIR and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Aug 11, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit:  Library of Congress
August 6th marked Jon Stewart’s last episode behind the anchor desk on The Daily Show. His 16 year run on the show helped usher in a whole new gene...

  • Added: Aug 07, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
August 6th marked Jon Stewart’s last episode behind the anchor desk on The Daily Show. His 16 year run on the show helped usher in a whole new gene...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, KUHF, WRGY, WRPI and more


  • Added: Aug 07, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "National Lampoon" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by KUHF and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Aug 04, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada. , Credit: Library of Congress
Like millions of Americans this summer, BackStory is quitting the city and heading into the wild. In this episode, Brian, Ed, and Peter return to A...

  • Added: Jul 31, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada. , Credit: Library of Congress
Like millions of Americans this summer, BackStory is quitting the city and heading into the wild. In this episode, Brian, Ed, and Peter return to A...

Bought by WEZU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WRGY, KBRP Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jul 31, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Untrammeled" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by WUIS


  • Added: Jul 28, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Adams, presented to King George III as the first American ambassador to the English court, Credit: Library of Congress
After grueling talks, the United States and its U.N. allies have reached a historic deal with Iran on the future of its nuclear program, and Cuba a...

Bought by Georgia Public Broadcasting, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRGY, WRIR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Jul 25, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: John Adams, presented to King George III as the first American ambassador to the English court, Credit: Library of Congress
After grueling talks, the United States and its U.N. allies have reached a historic deal with Iran on the future of its nuclear program, and Cuba a...

  • Added: Jul 24, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: "The Happy Cottagers," by Clifford R. James, Credit: Library of Congress
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger tells host Brian Balogh about a longitudinal study at Harvard that was meant to track professional success, but start...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 21, 2015
  • Length: 09:35
  • Purchases: 2