The Next American Dream

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This Spring, VPR, in conjuction with American Public Media, brings you
the American Radioworks Documentary series that chronicles the struggle
to hold on to the American dream. 

This month-long series will air Saturdays at 4:00pm beginning May 9th.


Foreclosure City

Saturday, May 9th at 4pm

Until recently, one of the few places where the American Dream still
seemed possible was Las Vegas. Each month, thousands of people flocked
there, lured by the promise of good jobs and a chance to own a home. It
was the fastest growing city in the country. But now, Las Vegas has a
new distinction-the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. American
RadioWorks looks at the roots and the fall-out of the Las Vegas
foreclosure crisis, and tells the stories of residents trying to build
new lives, now that their old dreams have failed. 


A Better Life: Creating the American Dream

Saturday, May 16th at 4pm and
Monday, May 25th at Noon

In the current recession many people fear the American Dream of the
20th century will not be sustainable in the 21st. Millions of Americans
are slipping from the middle class, and it’s no longer certain that
savvy, hard-working parents can pave the way for their children’s
success. As part of American Public Media’s "Next American Dream"
project, this documentary will chronicle the evolution of the American
Dream from the Great Depression to the present day. Today’s hard times
have Americans once again questioning the future of an ideal that has
fueled their aspirations for centuries. 


Bridge to Somewhere

Saturday, May 23 at 4pm

President Barack Obama’s plan to create jobs by building
infrastructure invites comparisons to another president. Franklin
Delano Roosevelt tried to manufacture jobs by building bridges, sewers,
schools and even ski jumps. Historians disagree about how much FDR’s
New Deal programs eased the Depression in the short term. But in the
long term, the structures they built have had a profound effect on the
country’s economy. Nearly every county in America contains at least one
structure built by the New Deal. This documentary, produced in
cooperation with public television’s Blueprint America project and, takes us to the mountains of Vermont, where a ski industry
founded by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps is now a thriving tourist
draw. And it takes us to the Pacific Northwest, where New Deal dams on
the Columbia River transformed an entire region. The program combines
colorful historical tape with modern-day reporting to create an
entertaining and thoughtful look at the long reach of the New Deal. 


Hard Times in Middletown

Saturday, May 30 at 4pm

In 1929 the Rockefeller Institute published a scientific study of a
"typical American city." Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture
took an intimate look at church, school, family and work in Muncie,
Indiana. The book was an instant hit and is still in print. It launched
Muncie’s reputation as the most widely studied small town in the world.
Today Muncie is a rust-belt city grappling with de-industrialization
and deepening recession. As they watch the plants close, many
middle-class, middle-aged, Middle-American residents are left without
choices. This American RadioWorks documentary helps us understand how
the economic crisis is affecting the people who defined the American
middle class.  



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