Al and the rest of the SOTRU crew have been traveling across the country to bring you an incredible season of shows. Five brand-new episodes are coming your way in May – here’s what we’ve been working on:
Hawai’i: The Legacy of Sugar
For many Americans, Hawai’i is a tropical playground, the place of surf, sun and dream vacations. Behind the tourist façade, though, is one of the most unique multicultural states in the nation, one still dealing with the complicated legacy of the circumstances under which it become part of this country. And so much of how Hawai’i is now comes back to one game-changing element: sugar. In this episode of SOTRU, we’ll explore the way contemporary Hawai’i is still navigating the legacy of the sugar plantations now in the 21st century.
Interior Alaska: Frontier Community
Interior Alaska can be a forbidding place. The region is largely wilderness, covered with expansive stretches of tundra and towering mountain ranges. Winters are long and dark, with just a few hours of sunlight on the shortest days and temperatures that often plunge to -50F. Because of its isolation and climate, the region has long attracted people drawn to the challenges and opportunities of a wild, remote place. In this episode of SOTRU, we’ll meet a number of athletes, journalists, scientists, and activists who embody the spirit of Interior Alaska through their grit, determination, and iconoclasm. And we’ll explore what it means to live in a frontier community, through the stories of a dog kennel trying to change the culture of sled dog racing, a murder that has long divided the city of Fairbanks, a heated battle over wood burning stoves, and more.
Salt Lake City, UT: Updating Tradition
Founded by Mormon pioneers, Salt Lake City remains deeply influenced by its religious roots. But it also defies easy categorization. With a large and politically active gay community, one of biggest Polynesian populations in the country, and a steady stream of new migrants, the city is full of vibrant contradiction — and sometimes conflict. We’ll explore how some of the city’s most entrenched institutions are being stretched and adapted to fit the modern moment.
The Sorting of America
The U.S. has been a country shaped by migration, dating back to the days of the pioneers making their way West. But recently, this country has been seeing a different kind of migration, one motivated not by economic necessity, but lifestyle choices. More and more, people are moving to places where they’re surrounded by others like themselves. In this episode of SOTRU, we tell stories of this new kind of migration, of people moving to different corners of the country find (or build) themselves a haven.
In partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, host Al Letson and guest producer John Biewen present a collection of sports stories from Durham, North Carolina. In this hour of SOTRU, we explore ways in which sport helps to heal social divisions within a community – or reproduces, or even exacerbates, those divisions.