Scene on Radio Podcast

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody Award–nominated podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Launched in 2015, the podcast is produced and hosted by CDS audio director John Biewen, along with collaborators, and distributed by PRX.

+ Season 1 featured a mix of stand-alone and multiple-episode stories.
+ Season 2, Seeing White, explored the history and meaning of whiteness and was nominated for a Peabody Award.
+ Season 3, MEN, delved into sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny.
+ Season 4, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, earned another Peabody nomination for its exploration of democracy in America—past and present.
+ Season 5, The Repair, looked at the cultural roots of the climate crisis and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species.

Find out more, and subscribe, on the podcast website; follow Scene on Radio on social media: @SceneOnRadio.

Scene on Radio Episodes

Engraving from Herrera, 'Historia General De Los Hechos De Los Castellanos,' 1601. Edited photo has ships and weapons in red.

S5 E2: To the Victor

How Western Europe really broke bad in its understanding of humanity’s place in the natural world, starting in the Middle Ages. Part 2 of our series, The Repair, on the climate crisis. By host and...

A photo taken of Genesis 1:28 in the Christian Bible with several words glowing red. Photo: John Biewen. Edit: Mara Guevarra.

S5 E1: In the Beginning

The climate emergency is here. In the first four episodes of our series, we explore the questions: How did we break so bad? How did we become the kind of society that would unleash so much...

Scene On Radio: Season 5. The Repair. A black inky sun sits on a corroded red horizon.

Season 5 Trailer: The Repair

This season explores 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...

A crowd of protestors standing outside at night.

BONUS EPISODE: Election 2020

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. ...

Photo: Selections from the 1995 tapes. Photo by John Biewen.

Hearing Hiroshima (REBROADCAST)

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. How did the...

Demonstrators at the annual Moral March, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 2019 (faces have been obscured to protect identities)

S4 E12: More Democracy

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...

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...