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Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries & Radiotopia

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691
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Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries & Radiotopia

295
Followers
691
Plays
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About Us

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 Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Latest Episodes

History Had Me Glued to the Seat

You know the story of Rosa Parks. But have you heard of Claudette Colvin? Claudettegrew upin the segregated city of Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, when she was 15 years old, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Nine months later, Rosa Parks did the exact same thing. Parks, of course, became a powerful symbol of the civil rights movement. But Claudette Colvin has largely been left out of the history books. In 1956, about a year after Colvin refused to give up her seat, her attorney Fred Gray filed the landmark federal lawsuitBrowder v. Gayle.This case ended segregation on public transportation in Alabama. Claudette Colvin was a star witness. This is her story.

11 MIN6 d ago
Comments
History Had Me Glued to the Seat

Voicemail Valentine

Nowadays we’re very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices. But in the 1930s many people were doing it for the first time. And a surprising trend began. People started sending their voices to each other, through the postal service. It was literally: voice-mail. We combed through a large collection of early voicemail at the Phono Post Archive, and we discovered that many of these audio letters have the same subject matter: love. You can see photographs of the voice-o-graphs on our website: http://www.radiodiaries.org/a-voicemail-valentine/

14 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Voicemail Valentine

My So-Called Lungs

Laura Rothenberg spent most of her life knowing she was going to die young. She had cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs. When she was born, the life expectancy for people with CF was around 18 years. (It's more than double that now.) Laura liked to say she went through her mid-life crisis when she was a teenager. Joe met Laura when she was 19 and gave her a tape recorder. And for two years, she kept an audio diary of her battle with cystic fibrosis and her attempts to live a normal life - with lungs that often betrayed her.

31 MINJAN 17
Comments
My So-Called Lungs

The Teenage Diaries Revisited Hour Special

Back in the 1990s, Joe Richman gave tape recorders to a bunch of teenagers and asked them to report on their own lives. These stories became the series “Teenage Diaries.” 16 years later, in “Teenage Diaries Revisited,” we check back in with this group to see what’s happened in their lives. **** Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

59 MIN2019 DEC 19
Comments
The Teenage Diaries Revisited Hour Special

Thembi's Diary, Revisited

We first met Thembi when she was 19 and living in one of the largest townships in South Africa. We were struck by her candor, sense of humor and her courage. She was willing to speak out about having AIDS at a time when very few South Africans did. Thembi carried a tape recorder from 2004 to 2005 to document her life. In this episode, we revisit Thembi’s diary, and we introduce listeners to Thembi’s daughter, Onwabo. **** Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

32 MIN2019 DEC 6
Comments
Thembi's Diary, Revisited

The Last Witness

For this episode, Radiotopia gave all of us in the network a prompt: if we were to create another show, any show, what would it be? Well, we’d make an obituary show. Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

10 MIN2019 NOV 29
Comments
The Last Witness

The Press is the Enemy

Fifty years ago, on November 13, 1969, Spiro Agnew delivered the most famous speech ever given by a vice president.His message: the media is biased. President Nixon was getting beaten up by the press, and in response, his administration had been trying to undercut the credibility of the media, especially television news. The war between politicians and the media has a long history. Today on the podcast, the story of Agnew’s speech. Also, the story of Adlai Stevenson, a presidential candidate doomed to fail on this new-fangled thing called television.

16 MIN2019 NOV 14
Comments
The Press is the Enemy

The View from the 79th Floor

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 crash prompted new legislation that – for the first time – gave citizens the right to sue the federal government.

16 MIN2019 OCT 18
Comments
The View from the 79th Floor

The Dropped Wrench

Every day, we go about our lives doing thousands of routine, mundane tasks.And sometimes, we make mistakes.Human error. It happens all the time. It just doesn’t always happen in a nuclear missile silo. This story was produced in collaboration with This American Life. *** If you enjoy this podcast, please consider making a donation to support our work! www.radiodiaries.org/donate Thank you!

41 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
The Dropped Wrench

Prisoners of War

During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh Jail. But LBJ wasn’t for captured enemy fighters, it was for American soldiers. These were men who had broken military law. And there were a lot of them. As the unpopular war dragged on, discipline frayed and soldiers started to rebel. By the summer of 1968, over half the men in Long Binh Jail were locked up on AWOL charges. Some were there for more serious crimes, others for small stuff, like refusing to get a haircut. The stockade had become extremely overcrowded. Originally built to house 400 inmates, it became crammed with over 700 men, more than half African American. On August 29th, 1968, the situation erupted. Fifty years later, we bring you the incredible story.

20 MIN2019 SEP 19
Comments
Prisoners of War

Latest Episodes

History Had Me Glued to the Seat

You know the story of Rosa Parks. But have you heard of Claudette Colvin? Claudettegrew upin the segregated city of Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, when she was 15 years old, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Nine months later, Rosa Parks did the exact same thing. Parks, of course, became a powerful symbol of the civil rights movement. But Claudette Colvin has largely been left out of the history books. In 1956, about a year after Colvin refused to give up her seat, her attorney Fred Gray filed the landmark federal lawsuitBrowder v. Gayle.This case ended segregation on public transportation in Alabama. Claudette Colvin was a star witness. This is her story.

11 MIN6 d ago
Comments
History Had Me Glued to the Seat

Voicemail Valentine

Nowadays we’re very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices. But in the 1930s many people were doing it for the first time. And a surprising trend began. People started sending their voices to each other, through the postal service. It was literally: voice-mail. We combed through a large collection of early voicemail at the Phono Post Archive, and we discovered that many of these audio letters have the same subject matter: love. You can see photographs of the voice-o-graphs on our website: http://www.radiodiaries.org/a-voicemail-valentine/

14 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Voicemail Valentine

My So-Called Lungs

Laura Rothenberg spent most of her life knowing she was going to die young. She had cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs. When she was born, the life expectancy for people with CF was around 18 years. (It's more than double that now.) Laura liked to say she went through her mid-life crisis when she was a teenager. Joe met Laura when she was 19 and gave her a tape recorder. And for two years, she kept an audio diary of her battle with cystic fibrosis and her attempts to live a normal life - with lungs that often betrayed her.

31 MINJAN 17
Comments
My So-Called Lungs

The Teenage Diaries Revisited Hour Special

Back in the 1990s, Joe Richman gave tape recorders to a bunch of teenagers and asked them to report on their own lives. These stories became the series “Teenage Diaries.” 16 years later, in “Teenage Diaries Revisited,” we check back in with this group to see what’s happened in their lives. **** Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

59 MIN2019 DEC 19
Comments
The Teenage Diaries Revisited Hour Special

Thembi's Diary, Revisited

We first met Thembi when she was 19 and living in one of the largest townships in South Africa. We were struck by her candor, sense of humor and her courage. She was willing to speak out about having AIDS at a time when very few South Africans did. Thembi carried a tape recorder from 2004 to 2005 to document her life. In this episode, we revisit Thembi’s diary, and we introduce listeners to Thembi’s daughter, Onwabo. **** Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

32 MIN2019 DEC 6
Comments
Thembi's Diary, Revisited

The Last Witness

For this episode, Radiotopia gave all of us in the network a prompt: if we were to create another show, any show, what would it be? Well, we’d make an obituary show. Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. #RadiotopiaForever

10 MIN2019 NOV 29
Comments
The Last Witness

The Press is the Enemy

Fifty years ago, on November 13, 1969, Spiro Agnew delivered the most famous speech ever given by a vice president.His message: the media is biased. President Nixon was getting beaten up by the press, and in response, his administration had been trying to undercut the credibility of the media, especially television news. The war between politicians and the media has a long history. Today on the podcast, the story of Agnew’s speech. Also, the story of Adlai Stevenson, a presidential candidate doomed to fail on this new-fangled thing called television.

16 MIN2019 NOV 14
Comments
The Press is the Enemy

The View from the 79th Floor

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 crash prompted new legislation that – for the first time – gave citizens the right to sue the federal government.

16 MIN2019 OCT 18
Comments
The View from the 79th Floor

The Dropped Wrench

Every day, we go about our lives doing thousands of routine, mundane tasks.And sometimes, we make mistakes.Human error. It happens all the time. It just doesn’t always happen in a nuclear missile silo. This story was produced in collaboration with This American Life. *** If you enjoy this podcast, please consider making a donation to support our work! www.radiodiaries.org/donate Thank you!

41 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
The Dropped Wrench

Prisoners of War

During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh Jail. But LBJ wasn’t for captured enemy fighters, it was for American soldiers. These were men who had broken military law. And there were a lot of them. As the unpopular war dragged on, discipline frayed and soldiers started to rebel. By the summer of 1968, over half the men in Long Binh Jail were locked up on AWOL charges. Some were there for more serious crimes, others for small stuff, like refusing to get a haircut. The stockade had become extremely overcrowded. Originally built to house 400 inmates, it became crammed with over 700 men, more than half African American. On August 29th, 1968, the situation erupted. Fifty years later, we bring you the incredible story.

20 MIN2019 SEP 19
Comments
Prisoners of War

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