State of the Re:Union was created by Al Letson as an entry in the Public Radio Talent Quest, which started with more than 1,400 hopefuls. The contest aimed to identify a new generation of Public Radio on-air talent. After four rounds and voting from both a select panel of judges and the public at large, three winners were selected. For his pilot episode, Al and his team created “Welcome to D.C.” Two of the three winning shows were awarded with a year’s worth of funding to produce new episodes, including State of the Re:Union.
State of the Re:Union has set out to explore how a particular American city or town creates community, the ways people transcend challenging circumstances and the vital cultural narratives that give an area its uniqueness. Considered a research and development year, we produced three full episodes in 2009.
We initially took creative and conscious cues from the iconic shows that have inspired us. From the scenic road, simple-pleasure sensibilities of Charles Kuralt’s On the Road and the investigatory spirit of 60 Minutes to the aesthetic and music-fueled backdrop of MTV and do-it-yourself spirit of Current TV, these things have moved us to create a show where neither artistry or content are ever compromised for one another.
From this, we found our own voice and style and were more fueled from the incredible stories that we’ve been made aware of. As Al says, each episode is like a love letter to America.
SOTRU produces everything under a strict set of standards to ensure accuracy, respect for discussed subjects and a comprehensive representation of the full story.
Season One was an incredible adventure for us. Taking everything we learned from our R&D year, we set out to feature the stories of people doing innovative things to meet challenges and bridge divides in their respective communities. From Brooklyn to Oakridge, Oregon, we covered a lot of ground and put together a season that saw carriage on 215 stations across the country. You can listen to any of our Season One episodes by clicking below. Be sure to check with your local public radio station to find out when SOTRU is airing or you can conveniently subscribe to our iTunes feed.