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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 Andrew Parsons at (434) 982-2955 or andrewparsons@virginia.edu.

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: Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, IL , Credit: Library of Congress
The 2016 presidential race switches into high gear this month with the back-to-back Republican and Democratic party conventions. Before they becam...

  • Added: Jul 22, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, IL , Credit: Library of Congress
The 2016 presidential race switches into high gear this month with the back-to-back Republican and Democratic party conventions.  Before they becam...

Bought by WYAP


  • Added: Jul 22, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, IL , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Conventional Wisdom" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 19, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: “Who are you?” by L.M. Glackens in Puck, v. 66, no. 1691 (1909 July 28). , Credit: Library of Congress
Donald Trump has clinched the Republican party presidential nomination, and some political pundits wonder if his nomination represents a watershed ...

  • Added: Jul 15, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: “Who are you?” by L.M. Glackens in Puck, v. 66, no. 1691 (1909 July 28). , Credit: Library of Congress
Donald Trump has clinched the Republican party presidential nomination, and some political pundits wonder if his nomination represents a watershed ...

Bought by KSRQ, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jul 15, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: “Who are you?” by L.M. Glackens in Puck, v. 66, no. 1691 (1909 July 28). , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "The Pursuit" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 12, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Meat butchering, Credit: Library of Congress (1915)
Eating lots of meat is a time-honored tradition in America. Whether it’s cheeseburgers and hotdogs on the 4th of July,  a TV dinner of Salisbury st...

  • Added: Jul 08, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Meat butchering, Credit: Library of Congress (1915)
Eating meat is a time-honored tradition in America. Whether it's a 4th of July BBQ, a TV dinner of Salisbury steak or a plate of Hawaiian Spam musu...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jul 08, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Meat butchering, Credit: Library of Congress (1915)
30-second promo for "Rare History Well Done: Meat in America [rebroadcast]" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jul 05, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Federal Theatre Div. of W.P.A. presents "The pursuit of happiness" by Armina Marshall Langer & Lawrence Langer., Credit: Library of Congress
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - it’s a phrase we’ve all heard. But do we really know what Thomas Jefferson meant by that? For that mat...

  • Added: Jul 01, 2016
  • Length: 37:30
Caption: The Federal Theatre Div. of W.P.A. presents "The pursuit of happiness" by Armina Marshall Langer & Lawrence Langer. , Credit: Library of Congress
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - it’s a phrase we’ve all heard. But do we really know what Thomas Jefferson meant by that? For that mat...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRGY, WRIR, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Jul 01, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: The Federal Theatre Div. of W.P.A. presents "The pursuit of happiness" by Armina Marshall Langer & Lawrence Langer. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "The Pursuit" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Jun 28, 2016
  • Length: :30
Caption: The Supreme Court of the United States, December 1864. A. Gardner, photographer. , Credit: Library of Congress
As of June 2016, the Republican controlled Senate is still refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court nom...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRGY, WYAP, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Jun 24, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: The Supreme Court of the United States, December 1864. A. Gardner, photographer. , Credit: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Partisan Robes" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 21, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908. , Credit: Library of Congress.
June remains the most popular month for weddings and this month, millions of Americans will become newlyweds. In this hour of BackStory, we look at...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRGY, WRIR, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908., Credit:  Library of Congress
June remains the most popular month for weddings and this month, millions of Americans will become newlyweds. In this hour of BackStory, we look at...

  • Added: Jun 17, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908. , Credit: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Committed" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 14, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835. , Credit: Library of Congress
Alexander Hamilton is living large these days! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about the Founding Father won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and scor...

  • Added: Jun 10, 2016
  • Length: 53:59
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835. , Credit: Library of Congress
Alexander Hamilton is living large these days! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about the Founding Father won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and scor...

Bought by Spokane Public Radio, WDET Detroit Public Radio, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jun 10, 2016
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Hamilton" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 07, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1