WNYC Studios Announces “The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars”

WNYC Studios Announces “The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars”

A Nine-Part Podcast Series Exploring 
Past and Present Culture Wars in America

Debut Episode Available Today at wnyc.org/anxiety

Plus a Special Radio Call-In Show with Host KAI WRIGHT
To Air Each Tuesday from 8- 9 PM on WNYC

(New York, NY – May 9, 2017) — Today, WNYC Studios launches the second season of its acclaimed podcast “The United States of Anxiety” with host Kai Wright.

“The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars” will introduce listeners to the culture warriors, past and present, who have influenced debates over race, religion, science, sexuality, gender, and more in an effort to capture America’s political zeitgeist. The podcast builds off the first season, which explored the fears of residents on Long Island trying to hold onto their piece of the American Dream during the 2016 election cycle, and WNYC’s nightly call-in radio show “Indivisible,” which tracked listener sentiment on the shifting political terrain during the first 100 days of the new administration.

Episodes will connect debates -- on Islamophobia, climate change, socialism, and the alt-right, labor and feminist movements -- to real people, with real stakes in the outcome, and tell the stories that have driven the nation to this current juncture. The podcast will also feature reporting from various WNYC contributors, including Peabody Award-winning reporter Matt Katz, race and identity reporter Arun Venugopal, features reporter Jim O’Grady, award winning culture producer Sara Fishko, and editor of special projects Rebecca Carroll.  

“During the first season of ‘The United States of Anxiety’ and ‘Indivisible,’ we focused on understanding how Americans felt about the politics of the moment,” said Jim Schachter, Vice President of News, WNYC. “With ‘The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars, we intend to look back to understand how the divisions we face now were faced in the past, and look forward to exploring how these deeply American debates will color our politics over the coming months and years.”

“The defining political debates of the Trump era are not about public policy--they’re about culture. What are our collective values and norms? Who’s at the center and who’s pushed to the margins?” said Kai Wright. “During season one of ‘The United States of Anxiety, we heard from people across the political spectrum who were deeply anxious about the answers to these questions. Now, we’re meeting people who have fought incredibly hard to shape the answers.”

“The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars” premieres today on wnyc.org/anxiety, Apple Podcasts, and all other places where podcasts may be downloaded. The series will also air as a special radio call-in show hosted by Kai Wright for nine consecutive Tuesdays from 8-9 p.m. ET on WNYC FM and AM, other public radio stations and WNYC.org.


Episodes of “The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars” will include:

Whose Kansas Is It Anyway?: WNYC reporter Arun Venugopal goes to Olathe, Kansas, where two Indian Americans were targeted in the first high-profile, anti-immigrant hate crime of the Trump era. He traces America’s shifting relationship with the “model minority.”

The Birth of Climate Denial: From the Scopes Trial to climate change, we’ve long been negotiating over science, pitting our beliefs and values against facts. WNYC’s Amanda Aronczyk takes us back to 1992 and the start of the movement to introduce doubt about the fact of climate change.  

The Common Man: Sara Fishko, of WNYC’s “Fishko Files,” traces the journey of Aaron Copland and the Popular Front culture to which he was linked, as they went from celebrated patriots to banned enemies of the state.

Trolls for Trump: Kai Wright goes down the rabbit hole of the growing white supremacist literary market — and into the world of a millennial cyber-activist who revitalized the movement by trolling liberals.

Other episodes will cover such topics as religion, radicalization and conservative thinker Ayn Rand. The series will conclude with a July 4th Special featuring listeners from across the nation as they respond to current culture wars and try to make sense of this moment in our history.  



WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio. Born from the team that created some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with high-quality storytelling that informs, inspires, and delights millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. WNYC Studios creates some of the most beloved audio series, including Radiolab2 Dope Queens, Sooo Many White Guys, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Freakonomics RadioDeath, Sex & MoneyHere’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Note to Self, On the Media, The Takeaway, and Studio 360. Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit http://wnycstudios.wnyc.org