162 episodes

First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Radio Diaries Radiotopia

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 53 Ratings

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Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    From the Archive: Josh's Diary

    From the Archive: Josh's Diary

    Twenty-five years ago, Josh Cutler was a 16-year old living with Tourette’s Syndrome, a brain disorder that often causes physical and verbal tics. For several months, he recorded cassette tapes of everything from conversations with his parents and classmates, to prank calls. This is his diary, which chronicles his attempts to live a normal teenage life with a brain that often betrays him.

    Josh’s diary first aired as part of the Teenage Diaries series on NPR in 1996.

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    Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, a network of creators who are able to follow their curiosity and tell the stories they care about the most. Show your support for Radiotopia during our Spring Fundraiser. Donate today at https://on.prx.org/3wl9pWn.

    • 17 min
    The Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 Years Later

    The Tulsa Race Massacre, 100 Years Later

    On May 31, 1921, white mobs attacked a prosperous Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street.” As many as three hundred people were killed, and more than a thousand homes and businesses were destroyed.

    Olivia Hooker was six years old at the time. She remembers watching white men with torches come through her family’s backyard, and hiding under a table with her siblings.

    Radio Diaries interviewed Olivia Hooker about the massacre in 2018. Six months later, she passed away at age 103.

    Today, to mark the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we revisit our interview with Olivia Hooker and speak with Kavin Ross about why the story of the massacre was buried for decades.

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    Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, a network of creators who are able to follow their curiosity and tell the stories they care about the most. Show your support for Radiotopia during our Spring Fundraiser. Donate today at https://on.prx.org/3wl9pWn.

    • 17 min
    Juan, 25 Years Later

    Juan, 25 Years Later

    This week we continue celebrating Radio Diaries’ 25th anniversary by catching up with Juan from the Teenage Diaries series, which first aired on NPR in 1996.

    Juan was 17 when we first gave him a tape recorder and asked him to record his life for a few months. He and his family had recently come to the U.S. from Mexico, and they were living in a trailer home just half a block from the Rio Grande in Texas.

    Now, 25 years later, Juan lives in Colorado, where he owns his own company and has three kids. On this episode we air his original diary and more recent conversations where he reflects on life as an undocumented person, and the complexities of the American Dream.

    CW: Juan’s original diary contains a description of a dead body.

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    Radio Diaries is a small non-profit organization. We make this show with support from listeners like you. You can hear all our stories, sign up for our newsletter, and donate on our website www.radiodiaries.org. Thank you for a quarter century of support.

    • 34 min
    25 Years of Radio Diaries

    25 Years of Radio Diaries

    This week marks a very special anniversary for Radio Diaries. It’s been 25 years since we first started giving people tape recorders to report on their own lives.

    To celebrate, we recently checked in with our very first diarist, Amanda. Amanda was 17 when we first gave her a clunky cassette recorder and asked her to record her life for a few months. Her story about coming out of the closet as gay and clashing with her Catholic parents was part of a series called Teenage Diaries that aired on NPR in 1996.

    Now, 25 years later, Amanda is married with kids, and her relationship with her parents has evolved. On this episode we air her original diary and more recent conversations with her parents and her new family.

    ****

    Radio Diaries is a small non-profit organization. We make this show with support from listeners like you. You can hear all our stories, sign up for our newsletter, and donate on our website www.radiodiaries.org. Thank you for a quarter century of support.

    • 26 min
    Busman's Holiday

    Busman's Holiday

    One day in 1947, NYC bus driver William Cimillo showed up to his daily bus route, but instead of turning left, he turned right. Over the next week, he traveled 1,300 miles in his municipal bus, ending up in Hollywood, Florida. The bus had broken down, he’d run out of money, and had no way of getting home. Plus, he was now the most wanted bus driver in the country.

    This story originally aired on This American Life. Go to www.radiodiaries.org to find more stories and sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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    We have music this week from Podington Bear and “Detour” by Patti Page.
    Radio Diaries has support this week from AcornTV. Use code “diaries” to get your first 30 days free.

    • 20 min
    The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home

    The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home

    For the past year, most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been in lockdown. Residents have been kept apart—not just from their families, but from each other. They ate meals alone in their rooms, met new grandchildren on Zoom, and some were alone when they died.

    Today many retirement homes are starting to open up again. But the fact is, many people grow more isolated as they age. Even in normal times. Friends and partners pass away, family members and kids get distracted by their own lives. To many of us, nursing homes are a place where we too might end up—they’re a bit of mystery that we visit from time to time, a world apart.

    Years ago, I got to know residents at Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, Illinois. And I gave a few of them tape recorders to keep audio diaries of their lives in retirement. Today on the show, The Last Place, diary of a retirement home.

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    Sponsored by Warby Parker. Try 5 pairs of glasses at home for free. Go to www.warbyparker.com/diaries

    Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” by Nat King Cole.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

Shay_shy ,

Love it

Found this through another podcast and so glad I did! It is presented well and very informative. The truth that people are detailing is moving and some are inspiring! Keep up the good work and I will tell everyone I know about this!!!

SparkyB ,

Obituaries

I’d love a podcast about obits. It’s always the first thing I read in the paper!

Chubbaroo ,

universal appeal

brilliant stories that are grounded yet transcendent. very american centric yet I'm an irish man living in the UK and i love it.

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