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Preview: Americana: inside the USA

Americana: inside the USA

An insider’s guide to the stories and people shaping the USA today. Discussion and insight from some of the best known names and voices in America.


Americana: 9 Sep 11: Ground Zero

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:19:00 +0100

For a special 45-minute live show, Americana comes from Ground Zero, in downtown New York, where Jonny Dymond will talk with Americans about how their country - and mindset - has changed in the decade since 9/11. Also featuring a round table discussion with journalist and author Peter Beinart, the Gothamist blogger and managing editor John Del Signore, Daily Beast contributor Dana Goldstein and Pastor Vernon Williams, of the Perfect Peace Ministry in Harlem.

Media Files:

Americana: 4 Sep 11: Detroit

Mon, 05 Sep 2011 11:30:00 +0100

A special show on one of America's most troubled cities, Detroit. Americana talks with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade about the rocketing homicide rates in Detroit. Detroit's bravest man - the proud owner of new Fiat dealership - discusses the auto trade's nascent recovery. And violinist Regina Carter explains why Motor City's world famous jazz festival is about more than just bringing in the tourist dollars.

Media Files:

Americana: 28 Aug 11: US Postal Service

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 09:50:00 +0100

The US Post Master General discusses the fate of the US Postal Service as demand and profits decline. Professor Bill Marling discusses James M. Cain's American noir classic, "The Postman Always Rings Twice." And in a week when the people of Martha's Vineyard dealt once again with a presidential holiday, Americana talks finds that not everyone enjoys the attention.

Media Files:

Americana: 21 Aug 11: Barack Obama's approval-ratings

Mon, 22 Aug 2011 12:06:00 +0100

This week, as Barack Obama's personal approval ratings slump to an all-time low of just 39%, we'll ask Democrat Strategist Terry McAuliffe whether the President can still pull off a dramatic comeback, in the style of number 33, Harry Truman. Brother and sister Tamim Ansary and Rebecca Pettys recall an idyllic American childhood...spent in Afghanistan's Helmand Valley. The author Philip Connors gives us a call from his self-imposed solitude among the treetops of New Mexico's Gila National Forest. And Darius Rucker tells all on going from rock band black country & western singer.

Media Files:

Americana: 14 Aug 11: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As international stock markets see-saw in the wake of America's downgrade from AAA status, we bring you the economic outlook from America's other trading floor - the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Mormon blogger Joanna Brooks exposes the greatest myths surrounding Mormonism in America - and assesses the prospects of two Mormon presidential hopefuls. Vera Farmiga - star of 'Up In The Air' - talks about her directorial debut, "Higher Ground," in which she explores America's relationship with religion. And from religious to the irreligious, author Otto Penzler uncovers America's obsession with zombies.

Media Files:

Americana: 7 Aug 11: America's military spending

Mon, 08 Aug 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Presenter David Willis talks to journalist Stephen Glain about his new book, State vs. Defense. The two discuss the impact of the US military on American finances and the role it could play as the nation struggles to regain its footing. Author Mim Harrison explains how a common language divides much of the United States. Musician Warren Wolf Jr. demonstrates what a vibraphone is all about. It takes more muscle then one might think. And Grammy Award-winning music label Archeophone Records, digs out some of its favorite sounds from America's earliest recording days. Co-owners Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey share some of the nations founding sounds.

Media Files:

Americana: 31 Jul 11: America's silent majority

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Analysts Lou Zickar and Eleanor Clift discuss what it will take to get America's silent majority to raise their voices for change. Throughout her term in office, Governor of Washington Christine Gregoire made tough decisions in order to keep her state's economy from collapse. She talks about how hard times forced her hand and why she's not campaigning to lead again. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson brought to life the crazy and tragic times of America's 1960s and illustrator Ralph Steadman brought those stories into full colour. Mr. Steadman reflects upon what those days meant then and mean now. And director Alex Gibney talks about his film, The Magic Trip, a documentary about the drugs of the 1960s and today.

Media Files:

Americana: 24 Jul 11: the African American community

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As the presidential campaign for 2012 ramps up Americana checks in with leaders and laymen from the African American community about how interest in this season may compare to voter engagement in years past. Political commentator Michelle Bernard and professor of political science Dr Hasan Crockett weigh in. Comedian Alonzo Bodden has become a master of laughter. He explains how to dance across the line politically, socially and racially. Mumbo sauce is hitting markets across the Washington DC area, playing well with soul food fans from across the nation. Americana takes a taste. And trombonist Fred Wesley explains the political language of jazz versus funk.

Media Files:

Americana: 17 Jul 11: manufacturing in the US

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As America's political candidates rack up their visits to factory floors across the nation hoping to garner support, Americana examines the past and future of manufacturing in the US. Further from the industrial centres of the U.S., America's pea farmers share perspectives on the tough economy, And one of America's most beloved country stories, Charlotte's Web, celebrates 60 years since its first publication. Biographer Michael Sims' describes the sensitive nature writing of E.B. White for which White, like Beatrix Potter, became a champion. And Banjo maker, Jim Mills explains the history and charm of one of rural America's most iconic instruments.

Media Files:

Americana: 10 Jul 11: The Green Revolution

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Americana looks at the changing shades of green across the US from the farm fields sown to the philosophies of the open roads. Experts debate the pros and cons, promises and goals of green investments and subsidies, Senator Jim DeMint talks about his new book "The Great American Awakening," Georgia farmer Bo Herndon discusses the impact that potential immigration legislation is already having on his harvest and Americana visits a drive-thru daiquiri shop to enjoy a refreshing, and surprisingly legal, treat from Louisiana.

Media Files:

Americana: 3 Jul 11: America's adventures in Space

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As the final Shuttle mission nears, Jonny Dymond looks at America's adventures in Space. Curators at the National Air and Space Museum are on hand to talk about America's past - and what might yet lie ahead. George Takei of "Star Trek" recalls that when his show began broadcasting on TV, space travel was science fiction. But its characters, Mr. Sulu, Captain Kirk and Spock among others, helped guide the nation in its real aspirations into the unknown. Astronaut and flight engineer Suni Williams revisits her experiences on the International Space Station. And Americans in Roswell, New Mexico celebrate the annual UFO festival.

Media Files:

Americana: 26 Jun 11: Matt Frei's last Americana

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:30:00 +0100

This week, Matt Frei completes his tenure as Americana's presenter with a look at why so many Americans fetishize their own history -- and why so many others can't even name the Vice President. We'll hear the voices of eminent historians, and ordinary Americans. Matt also asks author Andrew F Smith about America's unique contribution to culinary history -- junk food. And, as a final lap, Matt tours some of his favourite Washington haunts. Along the way, he checks in with Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan and with some regulars at Ben's Chili Bowl.

Media Files:

Americana: 19 Jun 11: Changing fortunes of American cities

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As President Obama travels the country hoping to inspire job creation, Americana examines the changing fortunes of American cities from Omaha, Nebraska to Fresno, California. Presenter Adam Brookes talks to Jennifer Grant, about her famously charismatic father Cary and about life as a Hollywood kid. Jeffery Deaver tries to explain how an American author such as himself could dare to take on the challenge of writing new episodes in the James Bond series. And pianist Monty Alexander traces the surprising connections between Jamaican reggae and American jazz.

Media Files:

Americana: 12 June: Midsummer dreams and despair

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 09:50:00 +0100

Adam Brookes talks to Jared Bernstein, who recently resigned as economic advisor to Vice President, Joe Biden; a new radio production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Midwestern accents and flashy sound effects, and ukulele mastery from Hawaiian musician, Jake Shimabukuro.

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Americana: 5 June 11: Immigration debate

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Americana discusses the impact of immigrants on the economics, security and cultural richness of the United States today.

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Americana: 29 May 11: English culture

Tue, 31 May 2011 10:00:00 +0100

Americana asks why English culture isn't more celebrated across the U.S. and author Michael Bronski explains how English Puritans framed the history of homosexuality in America.

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Americana: 22 May 11: Irish roots

Mon, 23 May 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As President Obama's visit to Ireland gets underway, Americana examines the impact of Irish culture on the USA and the strength of Irish American communities across the nation.

Media Files:

Americana: 15 May 11: America's knack for reasoned debate

Mon, 16 May 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Jonny Dymond talks to debate expert Mark Oppenheimer about America's complex relationship with rhetorical gymnastics and the lost art of debate. Plus a former SEAL talks SEALs.

Media Files:

Americana: 8 May 11: University education in America

Mon, 09 May 2011 11:30:00 +0100

University can be a hefty investment. Americana talks with education experts to learn the value, and risks, of a well-educated public in a debt laden nation.

Media Files:

Americana: 1 May 11: The American middle class

Tue, 03 May 2011 10:32:00 +0100

The poor strive to be them, politicians strive to please them, but the definition of America's middle class remains elusive. Americana takes a closer look.

Media Files:

Americana: 24 Apr 11: Republican 2012 contenders

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 10:03:00 +0100

The 2012 election season is under way - and Barack Obama is the man the Republicans need to beat. There are plenty of contenders out there, but has the GOP found the man or woman with the winning combination? This week, Joe Scarborough - the host of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' and a former Republican congressman himself - is on hand to guide us though the 2012 election. With the Royal Wedding just around the corner, we'll hear from Americans with very different views about the upcoming nuptials. Dolly Parton talks about what keeps her smiling, who inspired her unique looks - and, of course, the royal wedding.

Media Files:

Americana: 17 Apr 11: The gap between rich and poor

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:30:00 +0100

As American companies clock some of the fastest growth in 60 years, with CEOs and executives pocketing salaries and stock options to match, Matt Frei takes a closer look at the widening gap between rich and poor in America. Film-maker Morgan Spurlock talks about his newest film funded entirely by product placement. And musician and Louisiana native Tab Benoit, on the edge of the bayou, one year after the BP oil spill.

Media Files:

Americana: 10 Apr 11: the American Civil War

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Civil War Today: Yale's Professor David Blight joins Matt Frei to discuss the political, social and racial tensions of the Civil War era, still reverberating through America today. American Voices of the Civil War: The experiences of ordinary Americans at the Battle of Antietam - STILL the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Dean Faulkner Wells: Dean Faulkner Wells, niece of the double-Pulitzer-prize-winning writer, William Faulkner, recalls her own upbringing in America's Deep South.

Media Files:

Americana: 3 Apr 11: What's up with Science in America?

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 11:30:00 +0100

Science, technology and engineering can drive growth; are they driving America forward? While the movies and television programmes can popularize science for American audiences, Americana examines how, or if, the realities of science are capturing US attention.

Media Files:

Americana: 27 Mar 11: Libya, Ageing and El Doctorow

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 11:55:00 +0100

American Opinion on Involvement over Libya: With US warplanes among those flying over Libya to enforce the no-fly zone, Allison Keyes gathers a roundtable discussion with the American people to learn what they think of the latest US efforts in the Middle East. Ageing in America: Growing older in the United States can be a complicated experience. Authors Susan Jacoby and Arnold Weinstein say the romantic storylines of books and movies can play a part in the process of coming to terms with ageing. Americana visits with older Americans in a retirement community in Maryland to find out what they think about the myths and truths of ageing. EL Doctorow: EL Doctorow joins Americana to talk about his newest book, a collection of short stories called All the Time in the World.

Media Files:

Americana: 20 Mar 11: Death penalty, Freedom Bail Bonds and James Lee Burke

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:30:00 +0000

The Death Penalty: America's first settlers brought the death penalty with them from Britain and ever since, crime and punishment have been continually debated and revised across the United States. Katty Kay talks to Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who recently banned capitol punishment in the state. Freedom Bail Bonds: If you get arrested and you don't have the cash to make bail, a bail bondsman can help you out, but he'll track you down if you try to skip town. David Gambale of Freedom Bail Bonding explains the business of doing business with (potential) criminals. James Lee Burke: And best-selling author James Lee Burke talks to Americana about the cornucopia of creative criminal stories born from the United States.

Media Files:

Americana: 13 Mar 11: The tough budget choices ahead

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:30:00 +0000

Budget Crunch Time: Christina Romer, former chairwoman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, explains what tough choices loom on the horizon of the nation. American Talk Radio: The BBC's Jonny Dymond makes a confession about his feelings for talk radio and American commentator Bill McKibben reconsiders his political leanings with the help of a prominent talk radio host. Police Department with Volunteer Forces: The Fresno police department actively recruits volunteers to serve amongst the shrinking ranks of its highly trained officers. Chief Jerry Dyer and one of his (increasing numbers) of volunteers explain the new realities of public safety.

Media Files:

Americana: The Middle East, Drunkenness and Boxing Clubs

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 12:20:00 +0000

America's role in the Middle East: With violence, protests and chaos rampant in parts of the Middle East Americana asks former U.S. Ambassador Marc Ginsberg what could and should the US do to protect their interests. What impact will the unrest have on the average US citizen? Drunkenness of Nations: The legal drinking age across the United States is 21 years old but in Wisconsin, the state with the worst binge drinking problems in the nation, some minors can be served legally. Americana finds out what people think about the relationship between alcohol, youth and trouble. Boxing Clubs: From state to state, Americans are facing massive budget cuts during this recession and when school budgets feel the pinch its often after school programmes which disappear. Americana talks with a boxing coach in Ohio who is picking up the slack and helping kids stay off the streets.

Media Files:

Americana: 27 Feb 11: The history of unions

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 11:30:00 +0000

American Unions: Credited with creating the 40 hour work week and minimum wage, American labor unions are also criticised for creating headaches and hurdles for American businesses. With comment from James P. Hoffa, President of the Teamsters union and son of the late Jimmy Hoffa, experts Judith Stein and Kevin Williamson discuss the history and possible future for unions in the United States. Protest Songs: Writer, performer and satirist Kinky Friedman explains the useful melodies and sarcastic wit of protest songs both popular and less well known. Raising the volume: Colin Goddard was a student at Virginia Tech University in 2007 when gunman Seung-Hui Cho burst through the classroom door to shoot and kill 10 of Colin's 17 classmates. Goddard recovered from his multiple gunshot wounds and now travels the country to call for increased gun restrictions. He shares his thoughts about the gun debate with Americana.

Media Files:

Americana: 20 Feb 11: Philadelphia's Balanced Budget

Mon, 21 Feb 2011 11:30:00 +0000

Philadelphia's Return to a Balanced Budget: As Washington insiders wrangle over the annual Federal budget, guest presenter Adam Brookes takes Americana on the road to Philadelphia -- where Mayor Michael Nutter describes how he has steered his city back into the black. Can the Federal government learn anything from Philly? Virginia's relics of Elizabethan English: After stopping for traditional cheesesteaks in Philly, Americana rides the mail boat from the mainland to Virginia's remote Tangier Island. It's a place where some say the remnants of Cornish speech from Elizabethan times can still be heard in the language of watermen today but as business on the sea faces challenging times the dialect may soon disappear.

Media Files:

Americana: 13 Feb 11: The American Filibuster

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 11:30:00 +0000

The American Filibuster: As the row over filibustering in the UK heats up, Americana takes a look at the history of this increasingly popular senatorial tactic in the U.S. Can it be put to good use - or is it really just the resort of the time-wasting obstructionist? Melting Pot Myth? The BBC's Matthew Wells tests out the immigrant's dream of melting-pot New York. Are the streets paved with gold - or is the myth finally wearing thin? Reclaiming Racist Language: Throughout America's struggles with integration, the vocabulary of "us" and "them" has spawned some unutterable words. Students from Maryland explain how they are reclaiming the language of racism. Joyce Carol Oates: And one of America's pre-eminent authors, Joyce Carol Oates, talks about her new memoire; a raw and candid appraisal of life after her husband's death in 2008.

Media Files:

Americana: 6 Feb 11: Presidential Doctrine

Mon, 07 Feb 2011 11:30:00 +0000

Presidential Doctrine: American diplomacy experts Susan Glasser, Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Policy Magazine, George Friedman, founder of the private intelligence agency STRATFOR and journalist David Millar explain the history of America's past Presidents and how they defined their stances on international policy. Walk the walk and talk the diplomatic talk: Cydney Gumann and Derek Tobias demonstrate the skills, strategies and trends in contemporary American negotiation. Esperanza Spalding: The genre-busting, culture-mixing bass player talks about her music and about how she's created a space that invites everyone in to listen.

Media Files:

Americana: 30 Jan 11: Ronald Reagan and JFK

Mon, 31 Jan 2011 11:30:00 +0000

President Ronald Reagan would be 100 years old next week. His son Ron talks about growing up in the shadow of the actor, turned governor, turned President of the United States. Butch and Rita McNinch own Dutch Diner in President Reagan's hometown. They talk about the challenges of, and value in, operating a small business in Tampico, Illinois. This month marks the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy's Presidential inauguration. The Washington DC arts centre which carries his name is celebrating that anniversary though a series of special concerts remembering JFK's legacy. The Kennedy Center's Music Director Christoph Eschenbach and Hollywood film star Richard Dreyfuss share their impressions of the work and the man.

Media Files:

Americana: 23 Jan 11: US public broadcasting

Mon, 24 Jan 2011 12:07:00 +0000

Americana talks to Congressman Doug Lamborn and to Vivian Schiller, the President and CEO of National Public Radio, to learn more about how radio is financed (without the help of a national Licence Fee). Arlen Specter, the long-serving former Senator from Pennsylvania was a Republican for 44 years before switching to the Democratic Party. He shares stories of some of the earliest political lessons he learned from his father. Biographer, Karen Abbott, explains how Gypsy Rose Lee revealed not just an ungloved hand, but some truths about her era, the nation and its insecurities.

Media Files:

Americana: 16 Jan 11: American libertarianism

Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:30:00 +0000

"Live free or die" is the slogan found on the license plates of vehicles throughout New Hampshire. It's America's most libertarian state. As the nation reels from the shock of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, SE Cupp and Chris Hayes explain how the American ideals of individualism and freedom, which form the foundation of libertarianism, attract followers and debate from the conservative and liberal sides of the political spectrum. 150 years after the American Civil War, Harold Holzer's book, "The Lincoln Mailbag: America Writes to the President, 1861-1865," offers a look back in time to the criticisms of a US President governing during another turbulent period of Americn history. Matt Frei talks to film actor Eli Wallach about his vibrant career alongside such Hollywood greats as Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe.

Media Files:

Americana: 02 Jan 2011: New Year's Resolutions

Sun, 02 Jan 2011 20:00:00 +0000

As the new year begins, all across America people are setting resolutions in the hopes of living a healthier life in 2011. Goals could include a new diet, less alcohol, or just a bit of regular exercise. New York City Health Commissioner, Dr Thomas Farley, takes Americana along on his daily jog through Central Park (even as New York is buried under the snow from a recent storm) and explains what can be done to improve the health of all Americans. As the population of the United States continues to multiply, the Latino community is among the fastest growing segment of the population. Rajini Vaidyanathan visits the culturally rich, increasingly influential Latino community of Baltimore Maryland. New Year's resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. So too, do champion chess players. Samuel Sevian just became the youngest US Chess Master at the age of 9 years, 11 months and 11 days. His goal is now to become an international master.

Media Files:

Americana: 26 Dec 2010: US Medal of Honor, Narnia and Creede, Colorado

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 16:15:00 +0000

America's top military award is the Medal of Honor and 25-year-old U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Guinta recently became the first living recipient from the Afghanistan War to receive that award. In the land of make-believe C.S. Lewis was a master-crafter of fiction but some, including prominent leaders in the United States like Sarah Palin, understand the young adult novels to be full of complex religious metaphors and important truths. Americana talks with fans and scholars to discuss the land of Narnia. Far, far away, in a land not of make-believe, deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, two sisters are escaping into a world of books. The two explain what it takes to survive a cold, dark winter, in a town of scarcely 300 people.

Media Files:

Americana: 19 Dec 2010: Washington DC beyond the Capitol

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 11:30:00 +0000

For a better understanding of Washington DC beyond the Capitol, Matt Frei travels to Ward 8, in the south east quadrant of the city. He talks to DC's political legend, Marion Barry. The four-term Mayor of the '70s, '80s and '90s explains some of the current divisions the city faces and talks about his hopes for the District's future. Hours north and west of Washington DC, Americana calls on North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson. He survived a recall vote earlier this year, now he has to make it through the holiday season working next door to Santa's headquarters. In the melting pot of the USA, there are many holiday traditions but nearly every major city hosts a production - or two - of the Nutcracker ballet. Alastair Macaulay, Englishman and Chief Dance Critic for the New York Times, explains his current effort to uncover what it is about Tchaikovsky's work that Americans seem to adore.

Media Files:

Americana: 12 Dec 2010: Debt

Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:30:00 +0000

Alice Rivlin, the first director of the United States Congressional Budget Office and Christopher Whalen, the author of 'Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream', discuss America's relationship with debt and the prospects for improvement in the future. Presenter Richard Wolffe talks to Gore Vidal. The internationally renowned essayist, playwright, and dramatist reflects on what made America great and what threatens the strength of the nation. And during this lame duck session of the United States Congress, Americana heads to the fields of Iowa to talk to champion duck caller Todd Copley about what can be accomplished outside of the Congressional chambers.

Media Files:

Americana: 5 Dec 2010: Big cities and small towns

Mon, 06 Dec 2010 11:30:00 +0000

This podcast contains content that may offend. Matt Frei examines the big cities and small towns of the United States. Sir Harold Evans, former editor of the Sunday Times, reflects on the ways that America transforms with time; award-winning actor Robert Duvall explains the understated charms of some of the USA's most enduring locations - its small towns; and Christian Lander, creator of the website, 'Stuff White People Like', talks about his newest book, Whiter Shades of Pale," a tour of America's most liberal, white, cities.

Media Files:

Americana: 28 Nov 2010: Food choices and money struggles

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 11:30:00 +0000

As Americans continue to celebrate, and recover from, the Thanksgiving holiday, Americana examines US food choices and "going without". Professor and UN special advisor, Jeffrey Sachs, discusses the increase in poverty and hunger across the nation. Nationally renowned California chef Alice Waters explains why she thinks everyone can, and should, care about eating organic food and the customers and staff at The Dinner Bell restaurant in Mississippi offer a different view. Squirrel hunter Hovey Smith steps into his backyard in rural Georgia to share some hunting tips and a family recipe for squirrel stew.

Media Files:

Americana: 21 Nov 2010: The US effort to be accepted

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:09:00 +0000

Examines how the USA, in establishing its autonomy from Britain, went on to earn acceptance from its neighbours and garner a sense of belonging across its citizens. Award-winning author Ron Chernow explains how the character and leadership of America's first president, George Washington, live on. Jennifer Egan explains the ways that people strive for acceptance across time. And Kyle Eastwood - bass player, world traveller and son of Clint Eastwood - talks about his journey to be accepted as his own man: a musician and artist in his own right.

Media Files:

Americana: 14 Nov 2010: Jonathan Raban's Seattle

Mon, 15 Nov 2010 11:30:00 +0000

The British author Jonathan Raban presents the programme from Seattle. He talks to Seattle's former mayor, Greg Nickels, about the city's tech and environment revolution. A husband and wife team of loggers out in Washington State explain how the job's changed since the days when lumber was the industry which made Seattle rich. Dock owner and 'ancient mariner' Mike Wollaston discusses Seattle's seagoing history. And we take a walk around the house Microsoft built - a tiny cottage where Seattle's bright young things show off the gadgets we'll all be using tomorrow.

Media Files:

Americana: 7 Nov 2010: Midterm elections

Mon, 08 Nov 2010 11:30:00 +0000

Americana examines the impact of this week's midterm elections. Now that the elections have come to a close President Obama heads overseas for a visit to India. Americana hears from a few citizens about what it means to carve out a sense of cultural identity as an Indian living in the U.S. today. As America continues to build and refine its relationships overseas Matt Frei talks to author Robert Kaplan. His newest book is called, "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power".

Media Files:

Americana: 31 Oct 2010: Gerrymandering or Redistricting

Mon, 01 Nov 2010 15:08:00 +0000

Once every ten years, when U.S. Census figures are updated, American politicians have the opportunity to draw crooked lines to map out districts of political supporters to their advantage. The abuse of power is called gerrymandering. The honest practice is called redistricting. Americana talks with the filmmaker Jeff Reichert about his new film on the history of gerrymandering and about the debate unfolding about how best to keep the system of redistricting honest. Matt Frei talks to former poet laureate Rita Dove about how to define the culture of a nation through poetry. And Garry Wills discusses his new book "Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer," a memoir that grapples with how to define oneself.

Media Files:

Americana: 24 Oct 2010: The conservative movement today

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 11:30:00 +0100

Michelle Malkin, one of America's most prolific right-wing blogger journalists talks about the conservative movement today. Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson discuss their experiences with the Central Intelligence Agency and the film that tells their story, and fly fisherman Lefty Kreh, who has fished with Ernest Hemingway and Fidel Castro, tries to teach presenter Matt Frei a thing or two about catching and casting in the waters of the eastern United States.

Media Files:

Americana: 17 Oct 2010: Baseball

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 11:30:00 +0100

Americana steps up to bat around the relationship between Americans and baseball. The historian, John P. Rossi, explains how and when baseball became so deeply intertwined with America's national identity. The sports writer, Frank Deford, reflects on the heroes of the game and the National Symphony Orchestra musician, Glenn Donnellan, performs a few songs on his homemade 'batolin', a violin made from a baseball bat.

Media Files:

Americana: 10 Oct 2010: Faith in the USA

Mon, 11 Oct 2010 11:30:00 +0100

Matt Frei talks to the Harvard University professor, Robert Putnam, about his newest book, American Grace. They consider faith and the impact of religious affiliation on the culture of the nation. Americana follows the historian, Walter Borneman, on a vintage train ride to retrace one of America's most famous transcontinental rail routes. The author and activist Alice Walker, perhaps most famous for her novel, The Color Purple, has published a new book of poetry, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. She explains her style of faith and how to find and share hope when facing challenging situations.

Media Files:

Americana: 3 Oct 2010: The anatomy of a recall, US style.

Mon, 04 Oct 2010 11:30:00 +0100

Recalling public officials is a familiar pastime in the United States. Over the past two years, mayors across the USA have faced more attempted recalls then ever before. Matt Frei talks to Mayor Doug Isaacson of North Pole, Alaska. Mayor Isaacson faces a recall vote next week and shares his opinion of this tool of the American democratic process. Former correspondent and columnist Dave Kindred recalls the glory days of the local DC paper also known as The Washington Post. Matt Frei joins him for a few good stories at the after-hours hang out - the Post Pub. Photojournalist Ruth Gruber is 99 years old and now retired, but her career was long and adventurous. Her passion for reporting even propelled her to visit Nazi-controlled Germany, though she herself is an American Jew. She recalls the highlights and high suspense of her career chasing stories and challenging expectations.

Media Files:

Americana: 26 Sep 2010: Tea Party movement

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 11:30:00 +0100

As members of the Tea Party movement campaign enthusiastically ahead of this year's midterm elections, the political analyst Michelle Bernard and the national political columnist John Heilemann parse what members, supporters and scholars have to say about the Tea Party. Keli Carender is credited with organising one of the first Tea Party rallies - she reflects on how the movement has blossomed. The Tea Party candidate Joe Miller from Alaska explains his hopes for change in America. A Harvard University Professor, Jill Lepore, explains how she thinks the Tea Party has crafted a fable from American history in order to propel its message. And the presenter Matt Frei talks to the American crime novelist and creative writer, James Ellroy, about his newest book, The Hilliker Curse, a memoir.

Media Files:

Americana: 19 Sep 2010: US styles of change.

Mon, 20 Sep 2010 11:33:00 +0100

Presenter Matt Frei talks to David Plouffe. After managing Barak Obama's successful campaign for President, David Plouffe is back to work pushing for "change", but this time the White House is hoping he can put his 2008 magic to work for the Democratic Party's midterm election campaign. In 1962 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir demonstrated a new style of international diplomacy when it reached across the Iron Curtain to perform the world's first international satellite television broadcast in front of Mount Rushmore. Two members of the choir recall what it was like to send music across enemy lines and reflect on the changes they thought might be possible. Matt Frei talks to Noam Chomsky. Over 40 years, he's explored ideas of war, conspiracy, conservation and communication. Americana asks him how his ideas have changed over time and how Americans may continue to transform in the future.

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Americana: 12 Sep 2010 An examination of life and politics

Mon, 13 Sep 2010 15:48:00 +0100

The American journalist H.L. Mencken was known as the Sage of Baltimore. This week, his ideas and acerbic insights guide Americana through an examination of life and politics in Baltimore... and a look at contemporary American politics more widely. Matt Frei talks to the award-winning journalist George Packer about the relevance of H.L. Mencken's words today and considers the inefficiencies of the U.S. Congress. The political analyst, Bill Adair, dissects the campaign messages that currently saturate America's TV screens. Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, explains what issues are most important to the city. And one of Baltimore's most successful stars, the film-maker John Waters, joins Americana to discuss how his hometown continues to influence his career.

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Americana: 5 Sep 2010: How America's greatness is being dismantled.

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 11:30:00 +0100

Americana talks to the conservative economist, Thomas Sowell, about how he believes America's greatness is being taken apart piece by piece. The social historian, Anna McCarthy, explains the impact of television on the American people - from the classic broadcasts of the 1950s to reality programmes today. And the clarinetist, Andy Statman, demonstrates his theories that traditional Jewish music has influenced the classic American sounds of jazz and even Country and Western.

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