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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

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For this episode of BackStory, the Guys take a break from the race for the White House and examine local power brokers, from big city political bos...

  • Added: Mar 25, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
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As the presidential candidates continue their contentious path to the White House, it’s easy to overlook what’s happening at the local level. For t...

Bought by Northeast Indiana Public Radio, WRPI, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Mar 25, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
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For this episode of BackStory, the Guys take a break from the race for the White House and examine local power brokers, from big city political bo...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 22, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "The duty of the hour; - to save her not only from Spain, but from a worse fate." Chromolithograph, 1898. , Credit: Library of Congress
No sitting U.S. president has visited Cuba in nearly 90 years, but this month President Obama will do just that. This historic visit could signal a...

  • Added: Mar 18, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The duty of the hour; - to save her not only from Spain, but from a worse fate / Dalrymple., Credit: Library of Congress
No sitting U.S. president has visited Cuba in nearly 90 years, but this month President Obama will do just that. This historic visit could signal a...

Bought by KUOW, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, XRAY.fm, WCQS, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 18, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: "The duty of the hour; - to save her not only from Spain, but from a worse fate." Chromolithograph, 1898. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Small Island, Big Shadow" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 15, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: “Harper’s Ferry insurrection – Interior of the Engine-House, just before the gate is broken down by the storming party – Col. Washington and his associates as captives, held by Brown as hostages.”, Credit: Library of Congress
Earlier this year, tensions with Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, a group of armed protesters who’d occupied a federal wildlife refuge in Orego...

Bought by WRFA-LP, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KCMJ Community Radio, WCQS, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 11, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: “Harper’s Ferry insurrection – Interior of the Engine-House, just before the gate is broken down by the storming party – Col. Washington and his associates as captives, held by Brown as hostages.” , Credit: Library of Congress
Earlier this year, tensions with Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, a group of armed protesters who’d occupied a federal wildlife refuge in Orego...

  • Added: Mar 11, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: “Harper’s Ferry insurrection – Interior of the Engine-House, just before the gate is broken down by the storming party – Col. Washington and his associates as captives, held by Brown as hostages.” , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for " Well Regulated Militias" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KALW, and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 08, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: “Residential section, middle income class, Dubuque, Iowa. April 1940” , Credit: Library of Congress
On this BackStory, we’ll take a look at what it means to be “middle-class” in America. Who belongs to the middle class? Who doesn’t? The Guys ex...

  • Added: Mar 04, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Residential section, middle income class, Dubuque, Iowa. April 1940, Credit: Library of Congress
On this BackStory, we’ll take a look at what it means to be “middle-class” in America. Who belongs to the middle class? Who doesn’t? The Guys ex...

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


  • Added: Mar 04, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: “Residential section, middle income class, Dubuque, Iowa. April 1940” , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Middling Sort" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Mar 01, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Vachon photo of a Minneapolis employment agency, 1939 , Credit: Library of Congress
President Barack Obama claims that the country’s low unemployment rate shows that we’ve rebounded from the Great Recession. But presidential candid...

  • Added: Feb 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: John Vachon photo of a Minneapolis employment agency, 1939 , Credit: Library of Congress
President Barack Obama claims that the country’s low unemployment rate shows that we’ve rebounded from the Great Recession. But presidential candid...

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


  • Added: Feb 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: John Vachon photo of a Minneapolis employment agency, 1939 , Credit: Library of Congress
President Barack Obama claims that the country’s low unemployment rate shows that we’ve rebounded from the Great Recession. But presidential candid...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 23, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Detail from Chicago Department of Health vaccination poster, produced by the Works Progress Administration, late 1930s., Credit: Library of Congress
As the Zika virus spreads across the Americas, it’s worth looking at how the U.S. has responded to past epidemics. In this episode of BackStory, t...

  • Added: Feb 19, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Detail from Chicago Department of Health vaccination poster, produced by the WPA, late 1930s, Credit: Library of Congress
As the Zika virus spreads across the Americas, it’s worth looking at how the U.S. has responded to past epidemics. In this episode of BackStory, t...

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


  • Added: Feb 19, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Detail from Chicago Department of Health vaccination poster, produced by the Works Progress Administration, late 1930s., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Contagion" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Feb 16, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Film crew on location., Credit: Los Angeles Public Library.
On this episode of BackStory, Peter, Ed, and Brian go to the movies and consider how history made its mark on the silver screen this year in Oscar-...

Bought by WXDU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRPI, WEZU, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Feb 12, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Film crew on location., Credit: Los Angeles Public Library.
On this episode of BackStory, Peter, Ed, and Brian go to the movies and consider how history made its mark on the silver screen this year in Oscar-...

  • Added: Feb 12, 2016
  • Length: 54:00