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Radio Diaries

Podcast Radio Diaries
Podcast Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries

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  • A Museum of Sound
    A journey back to the very beginning of recorded sound and the strange, random, beautiful things people captured more than a century ago. We recommend listening with headphones. On January 1st, 2022 all audio recorded before 1923 is entering the public domain because of a new law, the Music Modernization Act. Archivists around the country have been digitizing thousands of old records, tinfoil, and wax cylinders that few people have ever heard. We hear one of the first recordings ever made, dated 1853. We then visit with Thomas Edison and his phonograph invention, which etched sound into tinfoil. There are amateur home and field recordings, instructional tapes, and commercial music. And then there’s Lionel Mapleson, the grandfather of bootlegging, who spent years recording the Metropolitan Opera from every possible vantage point. Today’s episode is a collaboration with Sam Harnett and Chris Hoff of The World According to Sound. A live audio show and online listening series. Their next performance is January 6, grab your ticket today.
    12/22/2021
    33:10
  • A Real Life West Side Story
    A new movie version of West Side Story is hitting theaters this week. The musical, which tells a story of romance and rivalry between white and Puerto Rican gangs in New York City, first opened on Broadway in 1957. The story of warring youth gangs turned out to be prophetic. Just a month before the musical opened, the city was stunned by the brutal murder of a teenager from Washington Heights named Michael Farmer. Today on the podcast, a real life West Side Story. This story originally aired on NPR in 2007. *** Support Radio Diaries as part of our year-end fundraiser! We’re an independent nonprofit organization, and your donation helps us tell great stories and supports our growing team of producers. All donations are tax deductible. Donate by December 31st: https://www.radiodiaries.org/donate/
    12/8/2021
    16:24
  • A Guitar, A Cello, and the Day that Changed Music
    November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, sat before a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the Queen of Spain. The other played guitar and was a regular in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. On that day 85 years ago, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson both made recordings that would change music history. This episode originally aired on NPR in 2011.
    11/18/2021
    18:10
  • A Wrench in the Works
    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. On September 18, 1980, a technician was working in a Titan ll missile silo in Damascus, Arkansa, when he dropped a wrench. The tool fell and pierced a hole in the side of the missile which happened to be carrying a nuclear warhead. This is a story of an accident that nearly caused the destruction of a giant portion of the Midwest. This story was produced in collaboration with This American Life. *** Radio Diaries is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from listeners like you. If you enjoy this podcast, please consider making a donation to support our work! www.radiodiaries.org/donate. Thank you!
    11/4/2021
    40:51
  • My Iron Lung
    In the first half of the 20th century, the disease known as poliomyelitis panicked Americans. Just like COVID today, polio stopped ordinary life in its tracks. Tens of thousands were paralyzed when the virus attacked their nervous systems. Many were left unable to walk. In the worst cases, people’s breathing muscles stopped working, and they were placed in an iron lung, a large machine that fit their entire bodies from the neck down. Vaccines brought an end to the epidemic in the 1950s, and gradually, iron lungs became obsolete. The last ones were manufactured in the late ‘60s. Today, there are two people in America who still use an iron lung. One of them is Martha Lillard. This is her story. *** This story has support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and listeners like you. Music from Blue Dot Sessions, Epidemic Sounds, and the song “Iron Lung” by Taylor Phelan and the Canes. This week’s sponsors include Uncommon Good, go to uncommongoods.com/diaries for 15% off.
    10/22/2021
    15:24

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