Scene on Radio

Scene on Radio

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody-nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Previous series include Seeing White (Season 2), looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy; MEN (Season 3), on patriarchy and its history; and Season 4, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, exploring whether the U.S. was ever meant to be a real democracy. Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (CDS) and is distributed by PRX.

Episodes

October 20, 2021 39 min

Co-hosts John Biewen and Amy Westervelt discuss the U.S. Congress’s effort to pass its first major climate bill ever, and Senator Joe Manchin’s move to block a key measure seemingly on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. And an episode of Drilled, Amy Westervelt’s true crime podcast about the climate crisis.

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Southeast Asia is especially vulnerable to storms, rising oceans, and other climate effects—though countries in the region did very little to create the crisis. In Indonesia, among other climate-related challenges, the capital city is sinking into the sea. Part 5 of our series, The Repair, on the climate emergency.

Reported by Nita Roshita, with recording and production help from Hilman Handoni. Mixed by host John Biewen. Intervie...

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October 6, 2021 61 min

Why has the United States played such an outsized role in the creation of the climate crisis? As a settler nation, the U.S. emerged from the colonizing, capitalist West, but what did America and its cultural peculiarities bring to the party? Part 4 of our series, The Repair, on the climate emergency.

Researched and written by this season’s co-host, Amy Westervelt, produced and mixed by host John Biewen. Interviews with Colin Jerol...

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September 29, 2021 55 min

If the Enlightenment was so great, why was it not a course correction? In fact, did cultural values that took hold in the West in this period speed up our race toward ecological suicide? Part 3 of our series, The Repair, on the climate crisis.

By season co-host Amy Westervelt, with host and producer John Biewen. Interviews with Devin Vartija, Darren Dochuk, Melissa Aronczyk, and Amber Kanazbah Crotty.

The series editor is Cheryl ...

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September 22, 2021 42 min

How western Europe really broke bad in its understanding of humanity’s place in the natural world, from the Crusades to capitalism. Part 2 of our series, The Repair, on the climate crisis.

By host and producer John Biewen, with co-host Amy Westervelt. Interviews with Charisse Burden-Stelly, Kate Rigby, Enrique Salmón, and David Pecusa.

The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music by Lili Haydn, Chris Westlake, Kim Carroll,  Cora Mir...

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September 15, 2021 42 min

Part 1 of our series on the climate emergency. How did we drive ourselves into the ecological ditch? And, crucially, who is this ‘we’? Our story starts with … Genesis. 

By host and producer John Biewen, with co-host Amy Westervelt. Interviews with David Pecusa, Bina Nir, and Kate Rigby. 

The series editor is Cheryl Devall. Music by Lili Haydn, Kim Carroll, Chris Westlake, Alex Weston, and Cora Miron. Music consulting by Joe Augus...

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August 23, 2021 3 min

This season will explore the cultural roots of our current ecological emergency, and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species. Through interviews with historians and other experts, The Repair will trace the evolution of the West’s colonizing, extractive culture, and how we in the rich Global North drove humanity into the ecological ditch. We’ll hear from producers in countries that did no...

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January 13, 2021 67 min

This special re-broadcast of a Season 4 episode is in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. A look at the right-wing counterrevolution in the face of expanding democracy in America: It started long before Donald Trump.

By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Nancy MacLean, Wendy Brown, and Rhon Manigault-Bryant.  

The series editor is Loretta Willia...

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November 24, 2020 31 min

What does the 2020 election in the United States tell us, or remind us, about the state of democracy in America? A follow-up to our Season 4 series on democracy, The Land That Never Has Been Yet. Host and producer John Biewen talks with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Editor, Loretta Williams. Music by Algiers, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from Joe Augustine of Narrative Music.

Phot...

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August 3, 2020 34 min

The word “Hiroshima” may bring to mind a black-and-white image of a mushroom cloud. It’s easy to forget that it’s an actual city with a million people and a popular baseball team. In 1995, John Biewen visited the city to speak with survivors and to ask: What did the world’s first atomic bombing mean in the place where it happened? 

Hearing Hiroshima is a production of Minnesota Public Radio, from American Public Media.

Photo: Sel...

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June 10, 2020 57 min

What will it take to make the United States a more fully-functioning democracy, and how can we, as citizens, bring about that change?

By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Michael Waldman, Jennifer Cohn, and Sanford Levinson.

The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from J...

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May 27, 2020 56 min

How well do the news media serve us as citizens, and what role does the notion of “objective,” or “neutral,” journalism play in the failings of American democracy?

Story reported by Lewis Raven Wallace, with host/producer John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with David Mindich, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Kevin Young.

The series editor is Loretta Williams. *The View from Somewhere *editor: Ramona Martinez. Mu...

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May 13, 2020 59 min

In most American schools, children *hear about* democracy, but don’t get to *practice* it. What would a more engaged brand of civics education look like?

Story reported by Ben James, with host John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Arielle Jennings, Hilary Moss, and Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by the Summer Street Brass Band, Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, a...

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April 29, 2020 60 min

“America” and “empire.” Do those words go together? If so, what kind of imperialism does the U.S. practice, and how has American empire changed over time? 

By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Nikhil Singh and Daniel Immerwahr.

The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and
Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help fro...

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April 15, 2020 63 min

The conservative, neoliberal counterrevolution in the face of expanding democracy in America: It started long before Donald Trump. Even before Ronald Reagan and his like-minded counterpart across the Atlantic, Margaret Thatcher.  

By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Nancy MacLean, Wendy Brown, and Rhon Manigault-Bryant.  

The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by A...

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April 1, 2020 67 min

In the summer of 1964, about a thousand young Americans, black and white, came together in Mississippi to place themselves in the path of white supremacist power and violence. They issued a bold pro-democracy challenge to the nation and the Democratic Party.

Produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with John Lewis, Bob Moses, Unita Blackwell, Hollis Watkins, Dorie Ladner, and many others.

...

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March 27, 2020 23 min

In this special episode, host John Biewen and series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika discuss
the coronavirus pandemic and how the crisis, and the nation’s response to it, echo themes we’re exploring in our Season 4 series on democracy in the United States.

The season’s editor is Loretta Williams. Music by Lucas Biewen and Eric Neveux.

Photo: Durham, North Carolina, mayor Steve Schewel announces a stay-at-home order on March 25...

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March 17, 2020 52 min

The Great Depression presented a crisis not only for the U.S. economy, but for American democracy. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to save the nation’s system of government, and its economic system, while reforming both. What did the New Deal achieve, and not achieve?

Reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Eric Rauchway and Cybelle Fox. The series editor is Loretta ...

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March 4, 2020 45 min

People fighting for more democracy in the United States often have to struggle against sexism and racism. In fact, those two struggles are often inseparable—certainly from the perspective of black
women and some other women of color.

Reported and produced by host John Biewen, with Season 3 co-host Celeste Headlee and Season 4 collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Glenda Gilmore, Ashley Farmer, Sandra Arrington, and
Dan...

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February 19, 2020 54 min

After the Civil War, a surprising coalition tried to remake the United States into a real multiracial democracy for the first time. Reconstruction, as the effort was called, brought dramatic change to America. For a while.

Reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. The series script editor is Loretta Williams. Interviews with Victoria Smalls, Brent Morris, Eric Foner, Kidada Williams, Bobb...

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