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.

Season 2 of Scene on Radio featured the 14-part series "Seeing White," which was nominated for a Peabody award.

Season 3 of the Scene on Radio podcast—MEN—launched July 11, 2018; episodes will post every other Wednesday. The podcast’s producer, CDS audio director John Biewen, describes the upcoming season: “Co-host Celeste Headlee and I will take a similar approach to the Seeing White series, which explored the history and meaning of whiteness. With MEN, we’ll be asking questions like, What’s up with this male-dominated world? Is male supremacy inevitable? How did we get sexism/patriarchy/misogyny, and what can we do about it?”

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

Ida B. Wells. Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

S4 E11: More Truth

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...

Photo: Eighth-grade students at Pyne Arts Magnet School in Lowell, Massachusetts, with their award at Civics Day in Boston.

S4 E10: Schooled for Democracy

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...

A line of american soldiers pointing guns to the right of frame.

S4 E9: American Empire

“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...

A photo of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan holding teacups and talking to each other.

S4 E8: The Second Redemption

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...

A Freedom Summer worker in Mississippi, 1964. Photo by Steve Schapiro.  

S4 E7: Freedom Summer

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-...

Durham, North Carolina, mayor Steve Schewel announces a stay-at-home order on March 25. Photo by Julia Wall, courtesy of the N&O

BONUS EPISODE: Pandemic America

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...

Men fighting during a strike at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, 1937.

S4 E6: A New Deal

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...

A portrait of Audley “Queen Mother” Moore.

S4 E5: Feminism in Black and White

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...

Historian Bobby Donaldson of the University of South Carolina, at the South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC. Photo by John B

S4E4: The Second Revolution

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...

Cotton bale, Old Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Photo by John Biewen.

S4E3: The Cotton Empire

In the decades after America’s founding and the establishment of the Constitution, did the nation get better, more just, more democratic? Or did it double down on violent conquest and exploitation...