Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

About Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Since 1996, we’ve been giving people tape recorders and working with them to report on their own lives and histories. We’ve collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, gospel preachers and bra saleswomen, the famous and the unknown…and along the way we’ve helped pioneer a new form of citizen journalism. Radio Diaries has won every major award in broadcast journalism and produced some of the most memorable documentaries ever heard on public radio. Our stories are broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, This American Life, BBC, and on The Radio Diaries Podcast. We also publish educational materials, including the Radio Diaries DIY Handbook. Radio Diaries is a not-for-profit organization, and a proud member of Radiotopia  from PRX — a curated network of cutting-edge, extraordinary podcasts.

Press reviews and highlights.

Radio Diaries stories do the rarest thing that any kind of journalism does. They truly make us see what it would be like to live someone else’s life.
—Ira Glass

Radio Diaries Staff

Alissa Escarce comes to Radio Diaries from Latino USA, where she reported on politics, immigration, new books, and music. At NPR, Alissa helped launch the Life Kit podcast and reported stories for Planet Money and Morning Edition. Before getting into radio, she worked for immigration advocacy nonprofits as a Spanish-English translator.

Nellie_Gilles_BW_WEBManager Producer Nellie Gilles began working in the radio world in 2010 as an engineer and producer at The Radio Foundation in New York. She spent several years hitting the pavement as a freelancer and contributor to WNYC and WBAI before joining Radio Diaries in 2016. She now oversees production of new stories and series, spearheads development efforts and produces documentaries for NPR and the Radio Diaries Podcast.

Assistant producer Mycah Hazel is an audio journalist and writer born and based in New York City. She works to research, develop, produce, and fact-check stories for the Radio Diaries Podcast, NPR’s All Things Considered and writes print articles for publication on NPR.org. Mycah made her debut on the Radio Diaries podcast with an audio documentary about the 1968 Kerner Commission for our Last Witness series. She’s reported and produced stories on pop culture, history, and style for The Cut, Vox, WNYC, and others.

JOE RICHMAN02.JPGRadio Diaries Founder and Executive Producer Joe Richman is a Peabody award-winning producer and reporter whose pioneering series Teenage Diaries brought the voices of teenagers to a national audience on NPR’s All Things Considered. Before founding Radio Diaries, he worked on the NPR programs All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday, Car Talk, and Heat. Joe also teaches radio documentary at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The LA Times called Joe “a kind of Studs Terkel of the airwaves.”

Marketing and Operations Manager, Stephanie Rodriguez, specializes in nonprofit strategic planning. Stephanie has produced stories for Google’s “Search On” series, Feeling My Flo, and iPondr. She serves as the PM for Chronicle Books’ forthcoming publication Islas: Cuisines of Resilience, and advisor to Feet in 2 Worlds. Formally, she fundraised and organized events for El Museo del Barrio.

Radio Diaries Contributors

Senior Editor Deborah George has worked for NPR News, Weekend Edition, and American RadioWorks, and has covered stories ranging from the Rwandan genocide to the Los Angeles riots. Her awards include the George F. Peabody Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Edward R. Murrow award, and the duPont-Columbia Silver and Gold Batons.

Contributing Editor and Producer Ben Shapiro is an award-winning radio producer and documentary filmmaker, based in New York. His projects have aired on many NPR programs, PBS, and the Sundance Channel, among others, and include a film about photographer Gregory Crewdson.

Sarah Kate Kramer joined Radio Diaries in the summer of 2012. Sarah first got hooked on collecting stories as a StoryCorps facilitator, then traveled the world with a microphone for a few years before settling down in her hometown of New York City. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Morocco, where she produced radio stories and an oral history project. She was previously the editor of Feet in 2 Worlds and a freelance reporter for WNYC Radio. Sarah now serves as an advisor to Radio Diaries.

Radio Diaries Board

Rachael Barrett (Chair), Senior Consultant, Orr Associates, Inc.
Ira Glass, Host and Executive Producer, This American Life
Jake Shapiro, Head of Creator Partnerships, Apple Podcasts
John McGinn, Vice Chairman of the National Public Radio Foundation
Joe Richman, Founder and Executive Producer, Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries Academic Advisors

Martha Hodes, Professor of History, New York University
Alex Lichtenstein, Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington and Editor of the American Historical Review
Gary Gerstle, Professor of American History and Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University
Mary Dudziak, Professor of Law, History and Political Science, University of Southern California
Elizabeth Blackmar, Professor of History, Columbia University
James Goodman, Professor of History, Rutgers University
Joanne Meyerowitz, Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University
David Greenberg, Associate Professor of History and Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University
Renee Romano, Associate Professor of History, Oberlin College
Paul Kramer, Associate Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
Thomas Levin, Associate Professor of German, Media Theory and History, Princeton University
Paul Sutter, Associate Professor of History and a Faculty Affiliate in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Our Awards

Peabody Award, Teen Contender
Audie Award, 2015 Audiobook of the Year, Mandela: An Audio History
duPont-Columbia Award, Mandela: An Audio Historypeabody
RFK Journalism Award, Mandela: An Audio History, Teenage Diaries
Overseas Press Club Award, Thembi’s AIDS Diary
Edward R. Murrow Award, Thembi’s AIDS Diary and Mexico ’68
National Journalism Award, Thembi’s AIDS Diary and The Last Man on the Mountain
Sigma Delta Chi Award,
Prison Diaries and Teenage Diaries
Casey Journalism Award,
Teenage Diaries
Third Coast Award,
My So-Called Lungs, Mandela, The Traveling Electric Chair, Teen Contender, and Melissa’s Diary Revisited


Radio Diaries receives funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hitachi Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and listeners like you.

Thanks especially to the generous folks in our Producers Circle: George Loening, Howard and Debbie Chasanow, Caitlin LaCroix, Carol Nelson, Susanna Nicholson, Phyllis Richman, Linda Gruber, Jamie Dell’Apa, Judy Wise, Tom Tryforos, Esther Saks, Suzanne Costas, and Nadine Semer.

If you’re interested in joining our Producers Circle, please contact Joe Richman at joe@radiodiaries.org