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American RadioWorks

Program Overview

American RadioWorks (ARW) is the highly acclaimed documentary unit of American Public Media. Its hour-long specials provide in-depth reporting on public affairs, social and cultural subjects and the 20th-century experience. Please see below for a listing of American RadioWorks reports currently available.

Length: 00:59:00

Number of Programs / Frequency: Approximately 8 specials per year

Program Feed Schedule:
Fall 2009 documentaries are available in ContentDepot.

If you are looking for additional documentaries from previous seasons, please contact your APM station relations representative for suggestions and access to other documentaries.

Upcoming 2010 Documentaries:

War on Poverty: From the Great Society to the Great Recession
Feed date: June 10

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964. He believed a mighty nation could eliminate want. After all, America had won World War II and was enjoying spectacular prosperity. Almost five decades later, the poverty rate is lower but the war is far from won. In the wake of the Great Recession, a new generation of Americans is struggling with economic deprivation. "War on Poverty" will blend contemporary storytelling with rich archival audio to examine the modern face of poverty, and to ask why LBJ’s dream of a Great Society is still beyond reach.

Testing Teachers
Feed date: June 17

Kids need good teachers. It’s something people know in their gut, but it's only recently that researchers have begun developing ways to measure the quality of teachers. What they’re learning is shaking up schools and leading education reformers to call for radical changes in the way teachers are trained and evaluated – and the way they are hired and fired too.

This documentary will take us to some of the nation’s poorest schools to understand why teacher quality is fast becoming the next frontier in the fight to equalize educational opportunity in the United States.

Fall 2009 Documentaries:

American RadioWorks fall package of documentaries explores how education during these hard times in America is central to economic opportunity and social mobility – and to our individual and collective well-being.

We're asking stations to air all three of the documentaries included in the fall package. By doing so, you will conveniently fill out your programming schedule and consistently bring your listeners American RadioWorks' award-winning journalism that you won't find anywhere else. At the same time, your commitment to air the full season will help us secure the national underwriting necessary to produce and continue to provide this industry-leading programming free of charge.

Early Lessons
There’s been a quiet revolution in America's schools over recent decades. We've added a whole extra grade to a child's education: Preschool. Economists love preschool. They say it's the smartest way to spend public money, especially in a tight economy. And they have lots of data to prove it: Preschool is perhaps the most researched idea in all of education. This documentary takes us back to the 1960s to tell the story of a landmark experiment that helped launch the preschool movement. Fifty years later, researchers are still learning powerful lessons for today’s youngest students.

Rising by Degrees
The United States is facing a dramatic demographic challenge: Young Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and they are among the least likely to graduate from college. Experts say the future of the American economy is at stake, because higher education is essential in the 21st century economy. This documentary tells the story of Latino students working towards a college degree—and why it’s so hard for them to get what they want.

Workplace U
We know that a good education can be the ticket to a good job. But for many Americans, conventional school isn't working. Every school day some seven thousand students drop out of high school. Often, what they managed to learn in the schoolhouse has not prepared them well enough for the job site. This documentary reports on a growing movement to turn workplaces into classrooms and marginal students into productive workers.

Promo Access:
All promos are available in the ContentDepot for scheduled file delivery. You may also manually download promos at your convenience from the Content Depot.

Program Web site:

Listener Inquiries: To learn more about American RadioWorks, or to explore ARW documentaries online, go to

Broadcast Rights:

American RadioWorks is available to American Public Media affiliate stations. For the Fall 2009 season, stations must carry all programs in the series before May 1, 2010. Each documentary must be carried in its entirety; excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only or by special request. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this series. See terms and conditions described in the American Public Media Service Agreement (PDF). Prior to carrying these programs, stations must confirm carriage (PDF) with American Public Media.

CDs, Tapes and Transcripts:
CDs of most American RadioWorks projects are available.

  • Listeners wishing to purchase a CD can send a check or money order for $20 to:
    American Public Media Tapes, 480 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101.
  • Stations needing CDs should contact their Station Relations Representative.
  • Transcripts are available on each project's companion Web site, .