Originally published in our Tennessee Music Issue  There is a remarkable story tucked halfway through Bessie, Chris Albertson’s biography of the blues singer Bessie Smith, in which Smith approaches a circle of robed North Carolina Klansmen, places one hand on her hip,… by Amanda Petrusich | Nov, 2020

Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our 2007 Music Issue  In a remarkable 1963 appearance with Juilliard professor and friend, Hall Overton, at the New School in New York, Monk demonstrated his technique of “bending” or “curving” notes on the piano, the most… by Sam Stephenson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our North Carolina Music Issue.  I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where… by Tiana Clark | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue The first songs that I listened to by Talibah Safiya had this soft, sweet, plaintive quality. There is something else underneath if you listen a bit closer: a little loneliness. The knowledge… by Jamey Hatley | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Food Issue. Quiet as it is kept, and widely as it has become forgotten, those who do the cooking and the farming know that those who only eat what is cooked for them and served… by Alice Randall | Mar, 2021

John Biewen

John Biewen’s radio work has taken him to more than forty American states and to Europe, Japan, and India. He has produced for all of the NPR newsmagazines, This American Life, Studio 360, American RadioWorks, and the BBC World Service. He is audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies, where, in addition to producing Scene on Radio, he teaches audio courses to undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. With co-editor Alexa Dilworth, he edited the book, Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, now in its second edition.

November 21, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.

As Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) audio director John Biewen preps for the next season of Scene on Radio, the podcast is headed to 5 million downloads, episodes are being used in classrooms and independent discussion groups across the country, and media outlets—Los Angeles Review of Books, Columbia Journalism Review, Buzzfeed, among others—have taken note. Here, John sets the scene for the upcoming season.

August 23, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.

In the early episodes of MEN, co-host Celeste Headlee and I dive into history and science to explore questions like, How and when did men seize for themselves the top spot in the gender hierarchy? (Spoiler: It happened long after “cave man” days.) How did the patriarchy survive Enlightenment ideas about universal human rights? What is gender, anyway, and what does the latest research say about the old nature-nurture question—that is, are the differences that we think we see in male and female humans partly biological or are those differences entirely socially constructed and learned?

June 29, 2017

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.

From the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University: It’s not easy to stand out and get noticed in the existing sea of podcasts, but Scene on Radio grew its listenership at a steady, respectable rate. Then, earlier this year, John rolled out a new series of episodes—and things got crazy. An example, among many: one of the world’s leading radio production companies tweeted, “Currently the best thing coming out of the U.S. podcast scene.”