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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: 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
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid., Credit: Source: Unknown
America has a long and colorful history of confidence men and counterfeiters. On this episode of BackStory, we go back to the time when fake money...

  • Added: Oct 21, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid., Credit: Source: Unknown
America has a long and colorful history of confidence men and counterfeiters. On this episode of BackStory, we go back to the time when fake money...

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


  • Added: Oct 21, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid., Credit: Source: Unknown
30-second promo for "Bridge For Sale: Deception In America [rebroadcast]” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Oct 18, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Best Coat and Apron Mfg. Company : Attaching trouser buttons with automatic button-fastening machine, Credit: Source: Library of Congress
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have talked about loss of manufacturing jobs, and the importance of having things “Made In America.” In this ...

  • Added: Oct 14, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Best Coat and Apron Mfg. Company : Attaching trouser buttons with automatic button-fastening machine , Credit: Source: Library of Congress
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have talked about loss of manufacturing jobs, and the importance of having things “Made In America.” In this ...

Bought by WUFT, KREV-LP, WXDU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Oct 14, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Best Coat and Apron Mfg. Company : Attaching trouser buttons with automatic button-fastening machine , Credit: Source: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "A History of Manufacturing in 5 Objects” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Oct 11, 2016
  • Length: :30
Caption: President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to debate domestic policy during the first of the three Ford-Carter Debates. , Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
With the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominating the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, we’re taking a look at the ...

Bought by WUFT, XRAY.fm, WRGY, RadioFreePalmer, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 11, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to debate domestic policy during the first of the three Ford-Carter Debates. , Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
With the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominating the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, we’re taking a look at the ...

  • Added: Oct 11, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to debate domestic policy during the first of the three Ford-Carter Debates. , Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons
30-second promo for "Fighting Words: A History of Debate in America” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Oct 04, 2016
  • Length: :30
Caption: Uncle Sam wants your privacy., Credit:  Source: Jeff Schuler via Flickr (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jeffschuler/2585181312/in/set-72157604249628154)
Calls to pardon Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who blew the whistle on the NSA’s secret internet and phone surveillance programs, have i...

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


  • Added: Sep 30, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption:  Photo credit: Uncle Sam wants your privacy. , Credit: Source: Jeff Schuler via Flickr (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jeffschuler/2585181312/in/set-72157604249628154)
Calls to pardon Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who blew the whistle on the NSA’s secret internet and phone surveillance programs, have i...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Photo credit: Uncle Sam wants your privacy. , Credit: Source: Jeff Schuler via Flickr (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jeffschuler/2585181312/in/set-72157604249628154)
30-second promo for "Keeping Tabs: Data & Surveillance in America [rebroadcast]“ with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Sep 27, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943. , Credit: Source: National Archives
Americans have sought to censor all kinds of expression: political speech, music, radio, TV, film, even books. In this episode, Peter, Ed, and Bria...

Bought by WUFT, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, KUHF, WRGY and more


  • Added: Sep 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943. , Credit: Source: National Archives
Americans have sought to censor all kinds of expression: political speech, music, radio, TV, film, even books. In this episode, Peter, Ed, and Bria...

  • Added: Sep 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00