A National Public Radio program produced right here in Charlottesville is expanding its reach thanks to a major influx of money. Listeners in 39 states tune in to the show: "BackStory With the American History Guys". BackStory tells the history behind the headlines.
Now, a six-figure grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is taking the show from monthly to weekly broadcasts.
"Everything has a history, so our potential range of topics is really infinite," said BackStory Senior Producer Tony Field.
Three history professors, including two from the University of Virginia, cover a range of topics in the hour-long public radio show. From the Civil War, to healthcare and the credit crunch.
"I like to think of BackStory not necessarily as a show about history, but rather as a show about the world around us today, about current events," said Field.
The show airs monthly on more than 200 radio stations across the country. But soon, BackStory will become a weekly discussion of the history behind today's hot topics.
Andrew Higgins Wyndham, of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities stated, "We are hoping BackStory will become a regular feature of public radio."
A $350,000 grant is allowing the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to hire four new producers to work with Field, to expand the show's radio reach and get audiences thinking.
"The historical depths, the resonances, the metaphors that enable them to make better sense of what's going on today," said Wyndham.
Field hopes listeners are ready to go through the past to get to the present. "We are going to be working around the clock to respond to the news," continued Field.
BackStory will go weekly starting in the spring. The foundation is constantly fundraising to support the program, which will cost about $1.1 million to produce for two years. You can chip in and listen to BackStory online by clicking here.