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Playlist: The Radio Diaries Podcast

Compiled By: Radio Diaries

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First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life.

Radio Diaries is a proud member of PRX's Radiotopia network: www.radiotopia.fm

Melissa's Diary, Part 1: Teen Mom

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 29:20

Melissa didn't mean to get pregnant. After 12 years of living in the foster care system, she's trying to build the family she never had. "The funny thing about a having a baby, especially a boy, is that he always pisses on me. Always. Any time I change him, he's always peeing on me. I don't know why. He's marking his territory. Like he says, 'This is mine.'"

Melissa first recorded with Radio Diaries in the late 1990's. Now 16 years later we're giving her a microphone again to hear what's happened since and how much has changed. Audio here includes her original diary and our recent podcast, where we meet the Melissa of today.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Td_melissa_004_l_small Melissa didn't mean to get pregnant. But now, after 12 years of living in the foster care system, she's trying to build the family she never had. "The funny thing about a having a baby, especially a boy, is that he always pisses on me. Always. Any time I change him, he's always peeing on me. I don't know why. He's marking his territory. Like he says, 'This is mine.'"

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series is broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered.

 

Juan's Diary, Part 1: Looking at the Rio Grande

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 24:32

Juan crossed the Rio Grande illegally into Texas four years before he first recorded with Radio Diaries. At the time of his original diary, Juan and his family lived in a poor community just this side of the US-Mexican border.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

*Podcast with Juan's Teenage Diary also included.

Juan_small Juan and his family crossed the Rio Grande illegally into Texas four years ago. Now they live in a poor community just this side of the US-Mexican border.

This story is part of the  Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series airs on NPR’s  All Things Considered    

Amanda's Diary: Girlfriend

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 21:30

Amanda's family is Catholic. Amanda is bisexual. And she's having a hard time getting her parents to understand that this is not just a phase. "When I was in the first grade, I remember one day we were playing a game that was kind of like Sleeping Beauty where like the prettiest girl on the block fell asleep on a picnic bench. And you know, somebody had to go and wake her up, to like, kiss her and revive her and it would always be one of the boys. And I always felt like I wanted to go and revive her."

Amanda first recorded her story with Radio Diaries 16 years ago. We've given her a recorder again to document her life today and to hear what's happened since. Hear Amanda's original diary below and our recent podcast with the Amanda of today.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Td_amanda_001_l_small Amanda's family is Catholic. Amanda is bisexual. And she's having a hard time getting her parents to understand that this is not just a phase. "When I was in the first grade, I remember one day we were playing a game that was kind of like Sleeping Beauty where like the prettiest girl on the block fell asleep on a picnic bench. And you know, somebody had to go and wake her up, to like, kiss her and revive her and it would always be one of the boys. And I always felt like I wanted to go and revive her."

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series is broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered.

Segregation Now, Segregation Forever: The Infamous Words of George Wallace

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Audio History Project series | 10:23

On the 50th anniversary of Wallace’s inaugural speech as the Governor of Alabama, Radio Diaries tells the story behind those infamous words, and the man who delivered them.

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It was just a single line in an inauguration speech given 50 years ago. But Alabama Governor George Wallace’s ‘Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever’ is remembered as one of the most vehement rallying cries against racial equality in American history.
 
The year was 1963. Civil rights activists were fighting for equal access to schools and the voting booth, and the federal government was preparing to intervene in many southern states. In Montgomery, Alabama, newly elected governor George Wallace stepped up to a podium to deliver his inaugural address.
 
On the speech’s fiftieth anniversary, Radio Diaries looks back at the story behind those famous words, and the man who delivered them.
 
In his later years, George Wallace embarked on an apology tour, paying amends to civil rights activists and appearing in black churches to ask forgiveness. In his last election as governor of Alabama, in 1982, he won with more than ninety percent of the black vote.
 
This story is part of our Audio History Project and was produced by Samara Freemark, with help from Joe Richman, Sarah Kramer, Ben Shapiro, Nellie Gilles, and edited by Deborah George.

Thembi's AIDS Diary

From Radio Diaries | 27:09

A year in the life of a South African teenager.

Thembipicture_small South Africa has the largest number of people with HIV/AIDS in the world. More than five million South Africans are HIV positive. Thembi is one of them. For the past year, she has been carrying a tape recorder and keeping an audio diary of her struggle to live with AIDS. For photographs, background information, and the AIDS Action Toolkit, visit: http://www.radiodiaries.org/?p=319 

Josh's Diary, Part 2: First Kiss

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 18:11

In Josh's second diary, he packs his tape recorder for his first summer away from home. "What I have here is an envelope on which this girl Nicole wrote down instructions on how to kiss. It says: 'pucker lips, slowly open mouth, slowly slide tongue in, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.' She made that list for me because I made out with her and she said I was doing it wrong. So I guess that's the main thing I learned this summer."

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Td_josh_002_l_small In Josh's second diary, he packs his tape recorder for his first summer away from home. "What I have here is an envelope on which this girl Nicole wrote down instructions on how to kiss. It says: 'pucker lips, slowly open mouth, slowly slide tongue in, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.' She made that list for me because I made out with her and she said I was doing it wrong. So I guess that's the main thing I learned this summer."

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. 

Frankie’s Diary, Part 2: Football

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 16:24

Frankie’s second Teenage Diary follows his season playing running back for the Valley Head Tigers. Recorded in 1997, Frankie documents his life as a teenager.

Sixteen years later, Frankie records another diary, documenting his life now and what's happened since. Hear a sneak peak of Frankie's new diary in the Radio Diaries Podcast below.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

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Frankie’s second audio diary follows his season playing running back for the Valley Head Tigers. 
“In the seventh grade, I was real little, probably weighed 75 pounds. Everybody used to pick on me all the time. They picked on me and beat the crap out of me everyday…Then one day, my ninth grade year, I decided to play football. Now, at school, I can’t go out in the hall without somebody touching me and saying, ‘Hey Frankie, good luck tonight.’ I mean it’s just crazy. I can’t believe everybody likes me as much as they do. It’s like the old me is dead and then I was born again or something.”

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series airs on NPR’s All Things Considered 

Juan's Diary, Part 2: Back to Mexico

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 25:51

In Juan’s second audio diary, he travels back to Mexico to visit his dying grandfather. This is his first time back since he immigrated to the United States.

“I search in my pockets and I find, you know, some money and I say, ‘Well, you know, now I can help out, you know.’ And he just laugh. And I say, ‘Why are you laughing?’ He says, ‘Well, I never expect you to give me some money, ’cause it’s like it was yesterday when you were a kid, and everything.’ And then, I still remember the smile on his face. He kept saying that he was proud of me. He was proud, you know?”

Juan first recorded his audio diary with us 16 years ago. In a recent podcast, we hear from Juan today as he reflects back on his life now and the past 16 years.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Td_juan_003_l_small

In Juan’s second audio diary, he travels back to Mexico to visit his dying grandfather. This is his first time back since he immigrated to the United States.

“I search in my pockets and I find, you know, some money and I say, ‘Well, you know, now I can help out, you know.’ And he just laugh. And I say, ‘Why are you laughing?’ He says, ‘Well, I never expect you to give me some money, ’cause it’s like it was yesterday when you were a kid, and everything.’ And then, I still remember the smile on his face. He kept saying that he was proud of me. He was proud, you know?”

This story is part of the  Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series airs on NPR’s  All Things Considered  

 

Miss Subways

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Audio History Project series | 08:26

Beauty pageants promote the fantasy of the ideal woman. But for 35 years, the Miss Subways contest in New York City celebrated the everyday working girl.

Subway_003_t_small

Beauty pageants promote the fantasy of the ideal woman. But for 35 years, one contest in New York City celebrated the everyday working girl.

Each month starting in 1941, a young woman was elected “Miss Subways,” and her face gazed down on transit riders as they rode through the city. Her photo was accompanied by a short bio describing her hopes, dreams and aspirations. The public got to choose the winners – so Miss Subway represented the perfect New York miss. She was also a barometer of changing times.

Miss Subways was one of the the first integrated beauty pageants in America. An African-American Miss Subways was selected in 1948 – more than thirty years before there was a black Miss America. By the 1950s there were Miss Subways who were black, Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic – the faces of New York’s female commuters.

Meet the Miss Subways in this radio story, produced by Samara Freemark.

Nick's Diary: Home School to High School

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 17:48

15-year-old Nick chronicles a turbulent year in his life.

“If you could give me any advice or give me some potion that would make people my age start liking me, or, I don’t know… I just need to know how to socialize or I’m gonna go nuts."

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Td_nick_001_l_small Nick chronicles a turbulent year in his life. He’s 15 years old and hates school, but somehow he must learn to make friends.

“If you could give me any advice or give me some potion that would make people my age start liking me, or, I don’t know… I just need to know how to socialize or I’m gonna go nuts. As a child I was really happy, and I was really enthusiastic about everything I did; about cello, about my writing, about drawing, about school, friends, about everything. And since the beginning of Junior High, since I’ve gotten older, I’m not as idealistic as I used to be. I think I see life more as it is now and I’m not as dreamy and creative as I used to be. But, maybe it’s just still in my brain, in storage.” 

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. 

Subscribe to the Radio Diaries Podcast: http://www.radiodiaries.org/podcast

Matthew and the Judge: Juvenile Court Diary

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Prison Diaries series | 17:46

Radio Diaries gave both Judge Jeremiah, a Rhode Island juvenile court judge, and Matthew, a 16-year-old repeat offender, tape recorders in 2001. Judge Jeremiah released Matthew early, for good behavior. Two weeks later, Matthew was arrested again for selling drugs. Through their diaries, Matthew and the judge tell the same story from two different sides of the bench.

Jeremiah_small In 2001, Radio Diaries gave both Judge Jeremiah, a Rhode Island juvenile court judge, and Matthew, a 16-year-old repeat offender, tape recorders. Judge Jeremiah released Matthew early, for good behavior. Two weeks later, Matthew was arrested again for selling drugs. Through their diaries, Matthew and the judge tell the same story from two different sides of the bench. 

A year and a half after this story aired, our friend and diarist 18-year-old Matthew Omisore was killed. 

Jeff's Diary: Halfrican

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 35:20

Jeff Rogers first recorded his Teenage Diary back in 1998 when he was a self identified 'halfrican.' He was thinking more and more about race and being forced to answer the question "What are you?"

Now, fifteen years later, Jeff no longer refers to himself as a 'halfrican,' in fact he is the founder of something called Mulatto History Month. Listen to the Radio Diaries podcast below to hear Joe Richman catch up with Jeff and hear a bit about what's happened in the past 15 years.

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR.

Jeff_small More and more these days Jeff finds himself thinking about race and being forced to answer the question "What are you?" "When I was younger - you know my father's black, my mother's white - that's the way it was supposed to be: father meant black person, mother meant white person. Race had no bearing on anything. To me, two Asian people could just have a black kid. It made perfect sense when I was younger."

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. In December of 2012, Radio Diaries will revisit five of the original diarists 16 years after their first recordings. The series is broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered. 

The Starting Five

From Radio Diaries | 18:59

The NBA, now a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry, looked very different a half century ago.

Ralphkaplowitz_small It all started in 1946, when the New York Knickerbockers matched up against the Toronto Huskies for the first game of a brand new professional league. Back then the league was called the BAA, the Basketball Association of America. There were no African-American players at that time; the color barrier was not broken in the NBA until the 1950-51 season. And half a century ago, the game looked very different.

Teenage Diaries Revisited: Amanda (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 17:25

At the age of 17, Amanda knew she was gay. But her parents kept insisting she’d grow out of it. Today, a lot has changed in the country, and within her own family. 16 years after recording her Teenage Diary, Amanda goes back to her parents to find out how they came to accept having a daughter who is gay.

Amanda_thumbnail_small At the age of 17, Amanda knew she was gay. But her parents kept insisting she’d grow out of it. Today, a lot has changed in the country, and within her own family. 16 years after recording her Teenage Diary, Amanda goes back to her parents to find out how they came to accept having a daughter who is gay.

Teenage Diaries Revisited: Josh (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 40:08

In high school, Josh Cutler documented his life with Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable tics and involuntary verbal outbursts. 16 years later, Josh has overcome Tourette’s enough to become a NYC public school teacher, but not enough to remain one. In this podcast episode, listen to Josh’s teenage and adult diaries about trying to live a normal life with a brain that often betrays him. Plus, a conversation between Josh and Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman.

Josh_thumbnail_small In high school, Josh Culter documented his life with Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable tics and involuntary verbal outbursts. 16 years later, Josh has overcome Tourette’s enough to become a NYC public school teacher, but not enough to remain one. In this podcast episode, listen to Josh’s teenage and adult diaries about trying to live a normal life with a brain that often betrays him. Plus, a conversation between Josh and Radio Diaries producer Joe Richman.

Teenage Diaries Revisited: Melissa (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 39:30

Listen to Melissa's teenage and grown-up diaries in this podcast episode.

Melissa_thumbnail_small As an 18 year old raised in the foster care system, Melissa recorded a Teenage Diary about the birth of her son Isaaiah. Since then, Melissa and her son have faced many challenges, from eviction notices to her son’s life-threatening medical diagnosis. 16 years later, Melissa recorded a new audio diary for the Teenage Diaries Revisited series. In this story, Melissa chronicles her life as a working single mother, and reveals things about her past that her son has never known. In our podcast episode, you'll hear both Melissa's teenage and grown-up diaries. Plus, Joe interviews Melissa about the process of documenting her life with a microphone over the years.

The View From the 79th Floor (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 14:09

Stories from the day a plane crashed into the Empire State Building.

Empire-state-sq_small

On July 28, 1945 an Army bomber pilot on a routine ferry mission found himself lost in the fog over Manhattan. A dictation machine in a nearby office happened to capture the sound of the plane as it hit the Empire State Building at the 79th floor.

Fourteen people were killed. Debris from the plane severed the cables of an elevator, which fell 79 stories with a young woman inside. She survived. 

The Last Man on the Mountain (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 14:45

In West Virginia, people say that in the old days, communities turned into ghost towns when the coal ran out. Now they turn into ghost towns when the mountaintop mines move in.

Last-man_sq_small

In West Virginia, people say that in the old days, communities turned into ghost towns when the coal ran out. Now, they turn into ghost towns when mountaintop mines move in.

Jimmy Weekley has lived in Pigeonroost Hollow, West Virginia for 70 years. He worked as a coal miner, as did his grandfather, father, uncles, and sons. And like most West Virginians, Weekley saw coal as the economic lifeblood of his community. Then in the 1990s, Arch Coal moved into his area and began work on the Spruce Number One mine. It was one of the largest mountaintop removal mining sites ever proposed, and it was virtually in Weekley’s backyard. Almost overnight, Weekley became an unlikely anti-mining activist.

Over the last decade, Weekley has watched his family and neighbors take buyouts from Arch Coal and leave the area. But Weekley refuses to sell. Now he’s the last person remaining in Pigeonroost Hollow.

Frankie's Teenage Diary, Revisited (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 29:51

As a teenager, Frankie Lewchuck recorded an audio diary about his family in rural Alabama. 16 years later, he recorded a follow up story for the Teenage Diaries Revisited series:

"I went from being on the front page for football representing my itty-bitty school, to being on the front page as a thief and a meth head."

A lot of life happens in 16 years.

Listen to both of Frankie's teenage and grown-up stories in this episode of the Radio Diaries Podcast. Plus, hear a behind-the-scenes interview with Frankie about producing his diaries.

Frankie_itunes_art_small

As a teenager, Frankie Lewchuck recorded an audio diary about his family in rural Alabama. 16 years later, he recorded a follow up story for the Teenage Diaries Revisited series:

"I went from being on the front page for football representing my itty-bitty school, to being on the front page as a thief and a meth head."

A lot of life happens in 16 years.

Listen to both of Frankie's teenage and grown-up stories in this episode of the Radio Diaries Podcast. Plus, hear a behind-the-scenes interview with Frankie about producing his diaries. 

The Day Nelson Mandela Became Nelson Mandela (Podcast)

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 17:17

The moment Nelson Mandela really became Nelson Mandela was on April 20th, 1964 - fifty years ago. It happened when he stood up in a stuffy South African courtroom and gave a speech.

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The moment Nelson Mandela really became Nelson Mandela was on April 20th, 1964 - fifty years ago today. It happened when he stood up in a stuffy South African courtroom and gave a speech.

50 years is a long time. It's long enough for things to become history.  Long enough that people start to be forgotten, stories get smoothed over, narratives get hardened in stone. That's what happened this past December with the death of Nelson Mandela. His life story was written... in sharpie.

Listen to our show,  "I am prepared to die." And the 10-thousand other words that nobody remembers.


The Radio Diaries podcast is part of Radiotopia from PRX.

The Long Shadow of Forrest Carter

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Audio History Project series | 15:54

Asa Carter was a speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace. He penned one of the most infamous speeches of the era… Wallace’s “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever” address. Forrest Carter was a Cherokee writer who grew up in Tennessee. His autobiography, The Education of Little Tree, is a beloved classic that has sold millions of copies around the world. But these two men shared a secret.

Forestcarter_image_200x200_small Asa Carter was a speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace. He penned one of the most infamous speeches of the era… Wallace’s “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever” address. Forrest Carter was a Cherokee writer who grew up in Tennessee. His autobiography, The Education of Little Tree, is a beloved classic that has sold millions of copies around the world. But these two men shared a secret.

Radio Diaries is proud to be a founding member of Radiotopia from PRX — a collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet. This week’s theme in Radiotopia: The Long Shadow. Check out all the shows at radiotopia.fm. 

Walter Backerman, Seltzer Man

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 12:27

When Walter's grandfather drove his cart there were thousands of seltzer men in the city; today Walter is one of the last.

Waltercorrected_small Back in 1919, Walter Backerman's grandfather delivered seltzer by horse and wagon on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Today, Walter continues to deliver seltzer around the streets of New York. Some customers, like Mildred Blitz, have been on the family route for more than 50 years. When Walter's grandfather drove his cart there were thousands of seltzer men in the city; today Walter is one of the last.

Jeff's Diary: Revisited

From Radio Diaries | Part of the The Radio Diaries Podcast series | 19:02

When Jeff Rogers was 16 years old he started referring to himself as a “halfrican.” Jeff has a black father and a white mother. And like many teenagers, he was trying to figure out who he was. I met Jeff back in 1998, and I gave him a tape recorder to document his life for our Teenage Diaries series.

I started thinking about Jeff when we produced our Teenage Diaries Revisited series last year for NPR. On today’s show, Jeff’s original teenage diary, plus…a conversation I recently had with him, more than 15 years later.

Td_jeff_001_t_small

When Jeff Rogers was 16 years old he started referring to himself as a “halfrican.” Jeff has a black father and a white mother. And like many teenagers, he was trying to figure out who he was. I met Jeff back in 1998, and I gave him a tape recorder to document his life for our Teenage Diaries series.
I started thinking about Jeff when we produced our Teenage Diaries Revisited series last year for NPR. On today’s show, Jeff’s original teenage diary, plus…a conversation I recently had with him, more than 15 years later.