Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody Award–nominated podcast that dares to ask big, hard questions about who we are—really—and how we got this way. Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio was created at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) and is a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. The show is distributed by PRX.
Season 1 featured a mix of stand-alone and multiple-episode stories; in our Season 2 series, Seeing White, Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika explored the history and meaning of whiteness; in Season 3, MEN, Biewen and co-host Celeste Headlee delved into sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny; in Season 4, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, Biewen and Kumanyika teamed up again, along with other guest producers, to explore democracy in America—past and present. The season-long series retells the story of the country while asking critical questions like, How democratic was the U.S. ever meant to be? Most recently, Season 5, The Repair, took on the climate crisis: How we got ourselves into this fix, how we need to transform our societies to save ourselves and our world—and, crucially, who is this “we”?
About John Biewen
Scene On Radio Producer and Host
John Biewen’s radio work has taken him to forty American states and to Europe, Japan, and India. He has produced for the NPR newsmagazines, This American Life, Studio 360, American RadioWorks, and the BBC World Service. He is audio program director at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, where, in addition to producing Scene on Radio, he teaches audio courses to undergraduate and graduate students. With co-editor Alexa Dilworth, he edited the book, Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, now in its second edition.
About Amy Westervelt
Co-host/Producer, Season 5
Amy Westervelt is the founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek‘s 2019 Podcast Network of the Year. She is also an award-winning print and audio journalist who has contributed to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, NPR, and many other outlets. In 2007, she won a Folio for her feature on the potential of algae as a feedstock for biofuel. In 2015 she was awarded a Rachel Carson Award for “women greening journalism,” and in 2016 she won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. As the head of Critical Frequency, she has executive produced more than a dozen podcasts, including her own show Drilled—a true-crime style podcast about climate change—which was awarded the 2019 Online News Association Award for “Excellence in Audio Storytelling.” Her book Forget Having It All: How America Messed Up Motherhood, and How to Fix It was published in November 2018 by Seal Press, and received a starred Publisher’s Weekly review.
About Cheryl Devall
Story Editor, Season 5
Cheryl Devall became a journalist because she values storytelling as a way to keep introducing ourselves to one another. She’s been fortunate to spend 40 years working at it on print and audio platforms. Life and work have taken her from Northern California to the Northeast, the Midwest, the Deep South and back again. She has shared in three duPont-Columbia awards. As an independent audio story editor, she’s helped to shape audio documentaries and podcasts on civil rights-era cold cases, California’s effort to change the standard for police use of deadly force and the gospel music roots of rock and soul.
About Chenjerai Kumanyika
Co-host/Collaborator, Seasons 2 and 4
Chenjerai Kumanyika, collaborator on the Seeing White and The Land That Never Has Been Yet series, is a researcher, journalist, and artist who works as an assistant professor in Rutgers University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of social justice and emerging media in the cultural and creative industries. Kumanyika is the co-executive producer and co-host of UnCivil, Gimlet Media’s podcast on the Civil War. He has also been a contributor to Transom, VICE, and NPR’s Code Switch and Invisibilia podcasts and All Things Considered, and he is a news analyst for Rising Up Radio with Sonali Kolhatkar.
About Loretta Williams
Story Editor, Seasons 2 and 4
Loretta Williams is an award-winning public media writer, producer and editor whose work tackles some of the most important issues of our day — climate change, race, and other pain points that often divide America. She’s worked for NPR as a producer and editor and now edits podcast series such The Reckoning, Us & Them, and the Spiritual Edge.
About Celeste Headlee
Co-host, Season 3
Celeste Headlee is a radio journalist who has appeared on NPR, PBS World, PRI, CNN, BBC, and other international networks. She has hosted the daily talk show On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting and at National Public Radio has anchored shows including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Headlee’s book We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017; she is now working on her second book and speaks to groups around the world on the art of conversation, journalism, and more.