History-themed ‘BackStory’ to end weekly hourlong radio show, continue as podcast

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BackStory with the American History Guys will end production of its weekly hourlong radio show next year but will continue as a podcast, the show announced Friday.

BackStory hosts Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh and Peter Onuf (Photo: Tom Coghill)

BackStory hosts Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh and Peter Onuf (Photo: Tom Coghill)

“With our staff size and host availability, we think it makes the most sense for us to break the clock on both formats and produce a distinct broadcast and podcast version of BackStory that work for those separate mediums, rather than just repeating the same thing on both channels,” BackStory Senior Producer Andrew Parsons told Current in an email.

The two are “separate mediums … even if there’s a lot of audience overlap,” Parsons said.

BackStory’s hourlong radio show will end Feb. 3, 2017. But the show’s team aims to continue producing for broadcast in some capacity, such as shorter segments for stations to insert into programming. In its new format, the show’s stories will be “more easily consumed” and more responsive to headlines, according to a press release.

“By breaking out of the hourly clock, we’ll be able to experiment with format, length and response time to news events,” Parsons said in the release. “But we also want to find a model where we still can have a presence on public radio airwaves.”

The weekly podcast will vary in length and format but will generally be 20–40 minutes long, Parsons said. BackStory is not cutting staff but “will be announcing some changes with regard to hosting in the coming month,” he said. The show now airs on 214 “primary and secondary stations,” according to BackStory.