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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 Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.com.

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: Italian-British driver Dario Resta finished a close second at the 1915 Indianapolis 500. , Credit: Library of Congress
For the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, BackStory is going into overdrive with a show all about speed in America. How fast — and slow — has l...

  • Added: May 22, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Italian-British driver Dario Resta finished a close second at the 1915 Indianapolis 500, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Speed Through Time" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 20, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Post Office Dept. Dead Letter Office, c. 1890., Credit: Frances Benjamin Johnston. Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Tools of the Trade" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. Full episode will be posted Friday 5/15

  • Added: May 15, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Post Office Dept. Dead Letter Office, c. 1890., Credit: Frances Benjamin Johnston. Library of Congress.
Two hundred years ago, the national economy was almost entirely domestic… centered on homes, farmsteads and plantations. There was no such thing as...

Bought by WEZU, WRGY, WRIR, 90.1 WFYI Public Radio, WRPI and more


  • Added: May 15, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: P
30-second promo for "Tools of the Trade" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 13, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Charles Peale’s Mastodon skeleton , Credit: by Édouard de Montulé (1816)
Some 20,000 species across the globe are at high risk of extinction, experts say – many here in the United States – and some of our natural fauna h...

  • Added: May 08, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Charles Peale’s Mastodon skeleton , Credit: Édouard de Montulé (1816)
Some 20,000 species across the globe are at high risk of extinction, experts say – many here in the United States – and some of our natural fauna h...

Bought by WRGY, WYAP, KPIP-LP, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: May 08, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Charles Peale’s Mastodon skeleton , Credit: by Édouard de Montulé (1816)
30-second promo for "The Departed" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 05, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
Legal scholar David Sklansky discusses California v. Greenwood, a landmark Supreme Court case that decided whether Americans throw out their expect...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: May 04, 2015
  • Length: 07:29
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
Historians Brett Mizelle and Catherine McNeur help BackStory producer Kelly Jones tell the story of the thousands of free-range pigs who managed Ne...

Bought by KPIP-LP and PRX Remix


  • Added: May 04, 2015
  • Length: 09:05
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
This week on the show we’re picking through history’s waste basket. What does America’s garbage tell us about its past? How have ideas about what i...

Bought by Troy Public Radio, KREV-LP, WRGY, WRIR, WEZU and more


  • Added: May 01, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
This week on the show we’re picking through history’s waste basket. What does America’s garbage tell us about its past? How have ideas about what i...

  • Added: May 01, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Another Man's Treasure: A History of Trash" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Apr 28, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Historian Brenda Stevenson talks with Ed about the extraordinary struggles black families endured to reunite, after slavery had wrenched them apart.

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 07:34
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Freedom was a tenuous reality for many former slaves in the early days of the federally occupied South, with bands of returning soldiers — now out ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 09:43
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Were any rebel leaders hung for treason? Historian David Blight explains what happened to Confederate officials after the war, and why. This story ...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 09:41
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
A lot happened in April 1865: Richmond fell to Union forces, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln’s funeral train set out on a long a...

Bought by KPCC, KREV-LP, WEZU, WRGY, WRIR and more


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
A lot happened in April 1865: Richmond fell to Union forces, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln’s funeral train set out on a long a...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "1865: United States of Uncertainty" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Apr 21, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Gatling Gun patent drawing (1865)., Credit: National Archives
This past week, a federal judge handed down lengthy prison terms to four former Blackwater security guards in the massacre of 14 unarmed men, women...

Bought by WRIR, WRGY, RadioFreePalmer, KPIP-LP, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Apr 17, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5