Scene on Radio Podcast

In 2015, CDS audio director John Biewen launched the Scene on Radio podcast, which goes out of the studio and into the field to “explore human experience and the society we’re making for ourselves in America,” Biewen says. Scene on Radio features audio work made at CDS—his own new stories, the best pieces by his students, and an occasional gem from the archives.

Currently, Season 2 is focusing on our country’s racial divides.

Scene on Radio episodes are posted every other Wednesday. Subscribe on the podcast website, and follow Scene on Radio on social media: @SceneOnRadio.

Scene on Radio Episodes

Photo: Voters arrive at the town hall in Caroline, NY, for town board elections in November 2011. Photo by Jon Miller.


People in two communities – one in Alaska, one in New York State – wrestle with questions about energy and the environment. We listen in on democracy close to home. Stories by John Biewen and Jon...

Photo: The bend in the railroad tracks, about one block from Thelonious Monk’s birthplace in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, that gave the neighborhood its name: “Around The Y.” Photograph by Sam Stephenson and Frank Hunter.

Straight, No Chaser

A South Sudanese refugee and the music that cuts his heart to pieces. Thelonious Monk’s North Carolina roots. Music and home. Pieces by Nusaibah Kofar-Naisa and John Biewen. Photo: The bend in the...

Photo: A young woman getting chemotherapy treatments, 2007. Courtesy of Ibby Caputo.

Losing Yourself

It happens. A happy, healthy young person suddenly gets a grave diagnosis. What does not usually happen: The patient rolls tape. By Ibby Caputo. Photo: A young woman getting chemotherapy treatments,...

Photo: Shining Li with her brother Joseph, 2011.

The Dead Can't Do You Nothing

It waits for us all. A lot of people want to think about death as little as possible. Others want to dive right in and explore the mystery. Two short docs on the Big D. Photo: Shining Li with her...

Photo: Jenna Horgan and migrant workers at a farm camp near Benson, North Carolina on July 28, 2015. Photo by Lucero Galván

The Right Note

Music can be a powerful gift – if you get the song right, or the right song. Two stories from North Carolina. Photo: Jenna Horgan and migrant workers at a farm camp near Benson, North Carolina on...

Photo: Mike Wiley performing “Dar He.” Photo credit Arts Midwest

Emmett and Trayvon

There’s a long and painful history in the U.S. of white men killing black men and boys without punishment. In this episode, we listen in on “Dar He,” the one-man play by Mike Wiley that brings to...

Photo: Lucas Biewen, the summer after, age 8. Photo by John Biewen

No Santa

A father turns on a recorder while tucking in his 7-year-old, having no idea he’s about to capture a poignant growing-up moment in his son’s life. (Advisory: This episode is not suitable for some...

 Photo: Left, Safiya Gallaghan, photo courtesy Safiya Gallaghan. Right, Reem Alfahad, photo by JohnFer Henao.


The surest way for a woman to declare herself a Muslim is to wear the head scarf — the hijab. In these two short pieces, young Muslim women explore the often unwelcome questions and perceptions that...

Photo: Radio talk-show hosts Jon Sloane (second from left) and Mark Eissman (second from right), during a KXOK broadcast in the late 1980s. Photographer unknown.

What Men Talk About When They Talk About Sports (Contested Part 6 of 6)

Tens of millions of Americans, most of them men, tune in to sports talk radio. Is sports talk a haven for old-school guy talk, including misogyny and gay-bashing? For the final episode in our series...

Composite Photo: Thomas Schmidt, left, video still by Ian McClerin, and Jalani (“JT”) Taylor, video still by Hannah Colton.

A Level Playing Field? (Contested, Part 5 of 6)

Two families, both making big investments of time and money to involve their kids in sports. But the investments they’re able to make are very different. In Part 5 of “Contested,” our series on...