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Radio Diaries
Radio Diaries
Radio Diaries & Radiotopia

First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers... more

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Episodes

Meet Miss Subways

Most beauty pageants promote the fantasy of the ideal woman. But for 35 years, one contest in New York City... more

16 May 2024 · 10 minutes
The Gospel Ranger

This year marks 90 years since Claude Ely wrote "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down." The song was... more

02 May 2024 · 16 minutes
Mandela's Election: 30 Years Later

This month marks 30 years since Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first democratically elected president. However, the story of Mandela's... more

18 Apr 2024 · 17 minutes
Working, Then and Now

50 years ago, radio broadcaster Studs Terkel published a book called WORKING: People Talk About What They Do All Day,... more

04 Apr 2024 · 57 minutes
My Iron Lung (Revisited)

Paul Alexander, one of two people in the U.S. still relying on an iron lung to survive, died on March... more

21 Mar 2024 · 16 minutes
My So-Called Lungs (Revisited)

We’re revisiting one of our favorite stories from years ago — with a new twist. Laura Rothenberg spent most of... more

07 Mar 2024 · 30 minutes
The Rise and Fall of Black Swan Records

In 1921, a man named Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record company in the United States. He called... more

15 Feb 2024 · 23 minutes
Guest Spotlight: Parakeet Panic

This week, we’re featuring an episode of a podcast we’re big fans of: The Last Archive! The Last Archive tells... more

01 Feb 2024 · 42 minutes
The Drum Also Waltzes

At the age of 16, he played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He went on to make landmark recordings with... more

10 Jan 2024 · 21 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Live at WNYC

We bring you a lot of stories each year, but we don’t often get to share the work behind them.... more

19 Dec 2023 · 1 hour, 1 minute
The Man on the President's Limo

Today marks 60 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are many photos from that day in... more

22 Nov 2023 · 12 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: LaMont Dottin

Back in 1995, LaMont Dottin was 21 years old and a freshman at Queens College when, one evening, he didn’t... more

21 Nov 2023 · 15 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Hisako Hasegawa

The Belvedere Hotel is in the heart of New York City’s theater district. Many of its guests come to see... more

09 Nov 2023 · 12 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Cesar Irizarry

Angel Irizarry spent years working as a detective, and in 2021 he set out on a personal investigation to track... more

02 Nov 2023 · 15 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Dawn Powell

Dawn Powell wrote novels about people like herself: outsiders who’d come to New York City in the early twentieth century... more

26 Oct 2023 · 16 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Documenting an Invisible Island

For more than a century, it was almost impossible to find out much about people buried on Hart Island. But... more

19 Oct 2023 · 20 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Angel Garcia

When Annette Vega was in elementary school, she found out the man she called “dad” wasn’t her biological father. But... more

12 Oct 2023 · 20 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Noah Creshevsky

When Noah Creshevsky learned he was dying of bladder cancer two years ago, he decided to decline medical treatment. Soon,... more

05 Oct 2023 · 13 minutes
The Unmarked Graveyard: Neil Harris Jr.

A few years ago, a young man who called himself Stephen became a fixture in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. Locals started... more

28 Sep 2023 · 26 minutes
TRAILER: The Unmarked Graveyard

On September 28th, we’re launching a new series: The Unmarked Graveyard: Stories from Hart Island. Hart Island is America’s largest public... more

21 Sep 2023 · 4 minutes
The Longest Game

In the spring of 1981, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings met for a minor league baseball... more

25 Aug 2023 · 44 minutes
The Girls of the Leesburg Stockade

On July 19, 1963, at least 15 Black girls were arrested while marching to protest segregation in Americus, Georgia. After... more

19 Jul 2023 · 16 minutes
Busman's Holiday

One day in 1947, NYC bus driver William Cimillo showed up to his daily bus route, but instead of turning... more

15 Jun 2023 · 20 minutes
Guest Spotlight: Buffalo Extreme

This week we’re featuring a story from NPR’s Embedded podcast. It’s the first episode in a new series called Buffalo... more

12 May 2023 · 43 minutes
The Gospel Ranger

This is the story of a song, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down.” It was written by a... more

25 Apr 2023 · 17 minutes
The Longest Game

In the spring of 1981, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings met for a minor league baseball... more

17 Apr 2023 · 19 minutes
Meet Miss Subways

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

30 Mar 2023 · 10 minutes
The Ski Troops of WWII

This week we’re bringing you a story about the 10th Mountain Division, a World War II military experiment to train... more

16 Mar 2023 · 24 minutes
Sofia's Choice: A Ukrainian Diary, One Year Later

Sofia Bretl has lived in New York City for the last decade. But she was born and raised in the... more

06 Mar 2023 · 12 minutes
Living with Dying

On Valentine’s Day 2020, Peter Fodera’s heart broke. It stopped working. He collapsed in the middle of teaching a dance... more

13 Feb 2023 · 14 minutes
The Rise and Fall of Black Swan Records

In 1921, a man named Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record company in the United States. He called... more

03 Feb 2023 · 23 minutes
The Real Refugees of Casablanca

It’s been 80 years since the release of the Hollywood classic, Casablanca. When the film opened in 1943—just a year... more

23 Jan 2023 · 12 minutes
The History Of Now

One of the questions we often ask ourselves is: How can we produce stories about history that can air alongside... more

16 Dec 2022 · 31 minutes
A Guitar, A Cello and the Day that Changed Music

November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, sat before a microphone and... more

23 Nov 2022 · 17 minutes
Banging on the Door: The Election of 1872

Voting rights was just as hot an issue in 1872 as it is today. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and... more

04 Nov 2022 · 13 minutes
The Square Deal

100 years ago, George F. Johnson ran the biggest shoe factory in the world. The Endicott-Johnson Corporation in upstate New... more

20 Oct 2022 · 17 minutes
The Massacre at Tlatelolco

In October 1968, Mexico City was preparing to host the Olympics - the first Latin American country to do so.... more

06 Oct 2022 · 25 minutes
Guest Spotlight: Ear Hustle

This week we’re featuring an episode from our fellow Radiotopia show, Ear Hustle. Ear Hustle is produced inside San Quentin... more

23 Sep 2022 · 32 minutes
Working, Then And Now

In the early 1970s, radio host and oral historian Studs Terkel went around the country, tape recorder in hand, interviewing... more

09 Sep 2022 · 15 minutes
The Longest Game

In the spring of 1981, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings met for a minor league game... more

23 Aug 2022 · 19 minutes
Rumble Strip: Finn and the Bell

This week we’re bringing you a story from independent producer Erica Heilman, who makes the Rumble Strip podcast. The story is... more

14 Jul 2022 · 36 minutes
The Almost Astronaut

In the 1960s, the U.S. was in a tense space race with the Soviet Union - and was losing. The... more

29 Jun 2022 · 21 minutes
The General Slocum

On June 15, 1904, a steamship called the General Slocum left the pier on East Third Street in New York... more

03 Jun 2022 · 13 minutes
The End of Smallpox

Only one human disease has ever been completely eradicated: Smallpox. Smallpox was around for more than 3,000 years and killed... more

19 May 2022 · 22 minutes
The Story of Jane

Before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal throughout most of the country. But that doesn't... more

05 May 2022 · 14 minutes
The Greatest Songwriter You've Never Heard Of

You probably don’t know her name, but you definitely know her songs. Rose Marie McCoy would’ve turned 100 years old... more

19 Apr 2022 · 17 minutes
Identical Strangers

Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were both born in New York City and adopted as infants. When they were 35... more

07 Apr 2022 · 18 minutes
Sofia's Choice: A Ukrainian Diary

Sofia Bretl has lived in New York City for the last decade. But she was born and raised in the... more

30 Mar 2022 · 12 minutes
The Forgotten Story of Clinton Melton

This week, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime. It was a historic moment.... more

10 Mar 2022 · 16 minutes
Claudette Colvin: Making Trouble Then and Now

Nine months before Rosa Parks, a 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on... more

24 Feb 2022 · 16 minutes
A Voicemail Valentine

Nowadays we’re very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices. But in the 1930s many people... more

10 Feb 2022 · 14 minutes
Diary of a Saudi Girl: Then & Now

When we first met Majd Abdulghani, she was a teenager living in Saudi Arabia, one of the most restrictive countries... more

21 Jan 2022 · 38 minutes
A Museum of Sound

A journey back to the very beginning of recorded sound and the strange, random, beautiful things people captured more than... more

22 Dec 2021 · 33 minutes
A Real Life West Side Story

A new movie version of West Side Story is hitting theaters this week. The musical, which tells a story of... more

08 Dec 2021 · 16 minutes
A Guitar, A Cello, and the Day that Changed Music

November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, sat before a microphone and... more

18 Nov 2021 · 18 minutes
A Wrench in the Works

Every day, we go about our lives doing thousands of routine, mundane tasks. And sometimes, we make mistakes. Human error. It happens... more

04 Nov 2021 · 40 minutes
My Iron Lung

In the first half of the 20th century, the disease known as poliomyelitis panicked Americans. Just like COVID today, polio... more

22 Oct 2021 · 15 minutes
When Borders Move

Ever since Texas became a state, the Rio Grande has been the border between the U.S. and Mexico. But rivers... more

07 Oct 2021 · 14 minutes
The Two Lives of Asa Carter

Asa Carter and Forrest Carter couldn’t have been more different. But they shared a secret. The Education of Little Tree, by... more

23 Sep 2021 · 34 minutes
When Ground Zero was Radio Row

On the 20th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, we’re bringing you a story about the World Trade Center. But it... more

10 Sep 2021 · 17 minutes
Last Witness: The Kerner Commission

Decades before our current debate over critical race theory, the 1968 Kerner Report pointed the finger at structural racism for... more

26 Aug 2021 · 12 minutes
Prisoners of War

During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh... more

12 Aug 2021 · 20 minutes
The Gospel Ranger

This is the story of a song, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down.” It was written by a... more

15 Jul 2021 · 21 minutes
The Rise and Fall of Black Swan Records

One hundred years ago, in 1921, a man named Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record company in the... more

25 Jun 2021 · 25 minutes
From the Archive: Josh's Diary

Twenty-five years ago, Josh Cutler was a 16-year old living with Tourette’s Syndrome, a brain disorder that often causes physical... more

10 Jun 2021 · 17 minutes
The Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 Years Later

On May 31, 1921, white mobs attacked a prosperous Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street.” As... more

27 May 2021 · 17 minutes
Juan, 25 Years Later

This week we continue celebrating Radio Diaries’ 25th anniversary by catching up with Juan from the Teenage Diaries series, which... more

13 May 2021 · 34 minutes
25 Years of Radio Diaries

This week marks a very special anniversary for Radio Diaries. It’s been 25 years since we first started giving people... more

30 Apr 2021 · 26 minutes
Busman's Holiday

One day in 1947, NYC bus driver William Cimillo showed up to his daily bus route, but instead of turning... more

15 Apr 2021 · 20 minutes
The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home

For the past year, most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been in lockdown. Residents have been kept apart—not... more

01 Apr 2021 · 31 minutes
Radio Diaries
The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home
Radio Diaries
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Description

For the past year, most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been in lockdown. Residents have been kept apart—not just from... more