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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: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937., Credit: Source: Library of Congress
Nieman-Marcus’ 2016 Christmas Book, which was first published nearly a century ago as a 16-page leaflet, is 300 pages long. According to Advertisi...

  • Added: Dec 02, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937., Credit: Source: Library of Congress
Nieman-Marcus’ 2016 Christmas Book, which was first published nearly a century ago as a 16-page leaflet, is 300 pages long. According to Advertisi...

Bought by WYAP


  • Added: Dec 02, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: 'Toward Los Angeles, Calif.,' by Dorothea Lange, 1937., Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "New & Improved: Advertising In America [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 29, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Dinner at Broad Channel, in Queens, New York City, c. 1910, Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
Three square meals a day - we’re used to hearing this when it comes to dining. But for many of us, eating is as much about socializing as it is abo...

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


  • Added: Nov 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Thanksgiving turkey., Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
If a Pilgrim were to attend a contemporary Thanksgiving celebration, he or she would probably be stunned by our “traditional” foods. In this episod...

  • Added: Nov 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Thanksgiving Turkey., Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
If a Pilgrim were to attend a contemporary Thanksgiving celebration, he or she would probably be stunned by our “traditional” foods. In this episod...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WYAP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, and WJAB


  • Added: Nov 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Thanksgiving Turkey., Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
If a Pilgrim were to attend a contemporary Thanksgiving celebration, he or she would probably be stunned by our “traditional” foods. In this episod...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Thanksgiving turkey., Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "American As Pumpkin Pie: A History Of Thanksgiving [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/dat...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio and Northeast Indiana Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 22, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Utopia Ltd., a poster by Dietmar R. Winkler. , Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
In his recent book “Utopia for Realists,” Rutger Bregman advocates a 15-hour workweek, universal basic income, and open borders. Sounds like parad...

Bought by XRAY.fm, WRIR, WRGY, WEZU, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 18, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Utopia Ltd., a poster by Dietmar R. Winkler. , Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
In Rutger Bregman’s book “Utopia for Realists,” Bregman advocates for a 15-hour workweek, universal basic income, and open borders. Sounds like pa...

  • Added: Nov 18, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Utopia Ltd., a poster by Dietmar R. Winkler. , Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "A Whole New World: A History of Utopias” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 15, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Only an emigrant. 1879, Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
With Donald Trump vowing to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S. with a wall and Hillary Clinton promising the same immigrants a path to citi...

  • Added: Nov 11, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
Caption: Only an emigrant. 1879, Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
With Donald Trump vowing to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S. with a wall and Hillary Clinton promising the same immigrants a path to citi...

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


  • Added: Nov 11, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Only an emigrant. 1879, Credit: Source: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "American Exodus: A History of Emigration [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 08, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Voting in Washington, D.C., 1938, Credit: Source: Library of Congress
If the record TV viewership of the Clinton-Trump presidential debates is any guide, voter turnout for the November election could reach levels not ...

  • Added: Nov 04, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Voting in Washington, D.C., 1938, Credit: Source: Library of Congress
If the record TV viewership of the Clinton-Trump presidential debates is any guide, voter turnout for the November election could reach levels not ...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, Tri States Public Radio, WMUU-LP, WXDU and more


  • Added: Nov 04, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Source: Library of Congress, Credit: Voting in Washington, D.C., 1938
30-second promo for "Pulling the Curtain: Voting in America [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by WXDU and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 01, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein’s monster., Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
What’s a Halloween show without a helping of horror, one of America’s favorite forms of entertainment? Rooted in legend and culture, horror stories...

  • Added: Oct 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein’s monster. , Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
What’s a Halloween show without a look at horror, one of America’s favorite fascinations? Rooted in legend and culture, American horror plays on ou...

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


  • Added: Oct 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein’s monster. , Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for "American Horror Story” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by KREV-LP


  • Added: Oct 25, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1