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March 30, 2006

Free Audio Documentaries

AmericanPublicMediaProduct.jpgIf you're looking for some high-quality, stimulating audio documentaries, American Public Media has has produced over 140 hour-long documentaries with their documentary unit American RadioWorks. They now refer to themselves as APM Reports and offer numerous podcasts on iTunes. The APM Reports Documentaries Podcast features over 140 of their audio documentaries spanning back two decades. These documentaries cover a wide range of topics including politics, history, social issues, and other current events. We've added many of these audio documentaries as titles on our American Public Media Publisher Page, but they're now all conveniently available for download on one podcast feed:

140 Free Audio Documentaries on the APM Reports Documentaries Podcast

To give you a sampling of some of these audio documentaries, here are some that we've featured in the past:

Say It Plain: A Century of Great African-American Speeches

This hour-long audio documentary from American RadioWorks celebrates the great African American speakers of the last century. In chronological order it covers speeches all the way back to Booker T. Washington's address at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition up to Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. The hour-long documentary features excerpts of the speeches with interviews and commentary on their significance.

Unmasking Stalin: A Speech That Changed the World

How did Russia, after 30 years of Stalin's propoganda and cult of personality, come to see Joseph Stalin as the repressive and brutal leader that he was? This hour-long documentary from American RadioWorks shows how it began with a speech delivered by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 which denounced the crimes of Stalin. The documentary also displays how, despite after Stalin's "unmasking", many Russians still believe Stalin to be a hero.

Korea: The Unfinished War

In this audio documentary from American Radio Works, listeners can hear a chronological history of the Korean War. Soldiers, historians and military leaders explain how this "forgotten war" was an essential event that defined global politics for the next 40 years. With Korea still very present in current headlines, this documentary is an essential way for anyone to learn more about why this area of the world is so important.

My Name is Iran

1979 marks the year that Iran became the world's premiere theocracy. Decades later, this government, steeped in Islamic law, has shown no sign of loosening its grip on Iranian civil rights. In My Name is Iran, released by American Audio RadioWorks on streaming audio, we hear from modern Iranian voices as they speak on their current experience under this controversial government, how it has developed from what was once a paragon of Middle East democracy, and what a few courageous people are doing to counter the status quo. This is a great primer in Iranian history and a wonderful way to learn more about what has recently become one of the world's top geo-political hotspots.

Fast Food and Animal Rights: McDonald's New Farm

In this insightful audio documentary, American Radioworks examines how McDonald's, the world's leading food provider has presided over a sea change in how animals are treated in the fast food industry. Here we listen to how the Animal Rights Group PETA forced McDonalds and similar companies to recognize the inhumane practices that were being utilized to provide the average Big Mac. Though farmers admit the changes imposed have been expensive, this is a telling example of how one major international company has used it's worldwide clout to bring about positive change.

Walking Out of History

This audio documentary put out by American Public Media recounts the incredible true-life tale of how 28 Men survived a ship-wreck in Antarctica for 2 years. Sir Ernest Shackelton and the crew of the Endurance set out exploring on a Trans-Antarctic expedition in 1914. They encountered ice and soon became trapped in it, and their ship the Endurance came apart due to the incredible force of multi-ton ice plates. Left to survive on bare ice with nothing but seals and penguins for food, this audio document trails how Shackelton's unerring determination led an entire crew through obstacle after obstacle until finally securing rescue on the outer coast of South America.

Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

This brief audio documentary from American Public Media explores the effect of Wal-Mart on U.S. manufacturing, and how a retailer has surpassed in profit every other major manufacturer in the country. Reporter Hedrick Smith looks at manufacturing in China which produces imports of over $15 billion per year for Wal-Mart. This audio documentary is available on streaming audio from American Public Media.

Intelligent Designs on Evolution

In this streaming audio documentary produced by American Public Media, the controversy over intelligent design is examined from all sides of the debate. The argument over human origins has now found a new venue in America's public schools, where parents and teachers war against each other over what students are taught. This thought provoking work doesn't promise answers to the question, but does give listeners a nuanced overview of why this debate is raging and to what lengths each side is going in order to make their argument.

Bankrupt: Maxed Out in America

This audio documentary from American Public Media examines the record number of bankruptcy filings in recent years in the United States. Documentarians Chris Farrell and Sasha Aslanian travel to Memphis, a city with one of the highest rates of bankruptcy in the country. They interview many people who are declaring bankruptcy and the people who are assisting them in filing for bankruptcy. They also examine the history of bankruptcy and how it has changed over the years from a social stigma to a calculated risk that some feel is worth taking.