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.

 


Series

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188 Pieces

This series is for stations that want to subscribe to Backstory for WEEKLY deliveries using PRX's SubAuto system.

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203 Pieces

A collection of the best stories and features from BackStory, meant for excerpt by programs or stations.

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189 Pieces

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.

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4 Pieces

A collection of one-hour BackStory specials for use in station holiday programming.

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182 Pieces

Promos for stations airing upcoming episodes of BackStory with the American History Guys.

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0 Pieces

A special three-part series of hour-long episodes exploring the causes and consequences of the American Civil War.


Pieces

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On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be ...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
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On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he announced that all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be ...

Bought by WUFT, KREV-LP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRIR, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jan 16, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
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30-second promo for "Henceforth Free: The Emancipation Proclamation " with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 14, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
At the beginning of the 20th century, oil was hardly on America's energy map. Coal was king, supplying as much as 90% of the nation's energy needs....

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRIR, WRGY, KPCC, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Jan 09, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
At the beginning of the 20th century, oil was hardly on America's energy map. Coal was king, supplying as much as 90% of the nation's energy needs....

  • Added: Jan 09, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Oil gusher in Port Arthur, Texas, c1901, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Black Gold: An American History of Oil," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jan 06, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Matt Novak of the blog "Paleofuture" talks about "The Jetsons," the show that helped define American ideas of future technology without thinking mu...

Bought by WOUB, New Hampshire Public Radio, WABE, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 07:47
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Maria Lane, author of Geographies of Mars, relates what Percival Lowell observed on the red planet. This segment comes from BackStory's episode "Th...

Bought by Radio Newark and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 09:02
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Bradley Boyd and reporter Ashley Creek head to the top of an old hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, which made provisions for a future that never came. ...

Bought by Troy Public Radio, WABE, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 05:11
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Elektro the Moto-Man and his Little Dog Sparko, created by Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair., Credit: New York City Public Library
Historian Max Page talks about why New York City is so often the target of destruction on the page and the silver screen. This segment comes from t...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jan 05, 2015
  • Length: 09:10
  • Purchases: 1