WHYY-FM Sunday Specials

Every Sunday night at 10 p.m., WHYY brings you special programming from public media’s best producers.

October, 2015

October 4
Surviving Ebola

On Sept 30, 2014, a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, tested positive for Ebola in a Dallas emergency room. Two nurses were infected before he died. Dozens of others were put in isolation. In West Africa, the virus had already killed thousands and threatened millions more. As the world watched, the disease touched Atlanta, Bethesda, New York City and Omaha. Fear traveled faster, and far wider, than the virus. This special includes first-hand stories from Dr. Kent Brantly, Louise Troh and others who were on the front lines, fought the disease and survived. It examines lessons learned by the medical community and government–plus, an update on the latest research into an Ebola vaccine.
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October 11
America Abroad:The Role of Interfaith Dialogue in Healing Global Divides

This program explores how different religious groups talk to each other with the goal of lessening violence and reaching mutual understanding.
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October 18
American Radio Works: Beyond the Blackboard: Building Character in Public Schools

In the 1940s, a British headmaster, Kurt Hahn, set up a wilderness school to teach young men skills they’d need to survive World War II: leadership, persistence and working together. Hahn believed these were skills conventional schools should focus on, too. Fifty years later, Hahn’s ideas inspired the founding of a network of public schools in the US. Students in these schools outperform their peers on test scores and graduation rates, as well as in motivation, academic engagement and problem solving. This program explores “Expeditionary Learning”, traces the history of ideas leading to its inception and investigates what American schools could learn from its success.
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October 25
American Radio Works: The Living Legacy: Black Colleges in the 21st Century

Before the Civil Rights movement, African Americans were largely barred from White institutions of higher learning. And so Blacks and their White supporters founded their own schools: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCU graduates helped launch the Civil Rights movement, built the Black middle class, staffed the pulpits of Black churches and the halls of almost every Black primary school before the 1960’s. But after desegregation, some began to ask whether HBCUs had outlived their purpose. Yet, for students who attend them, HBCUs still play a crucial and unique role. This program features first-person testimony from students about why they chose an HBCU, and a trip to one in the process of reinventing itself.
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November 2015

November 1
American Radio Works: Teaching Teachers

Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the US lacks an effective system for training teachers or helping them get better once they’re on the job. This program examines why and asks what it would take to improve American teaching. The program features discussion with researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. The program also visits US schools taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking how they approach the idea of teacher improvement.
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November 8
American Radio Works: From Boots to Books: Student Veterans and the New GI Bill

(For Veterans Day)
The longest war in US history is drawing to a close. Now, the men and women who served are coming home and many hope to use higher education to build new lives. They have help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a piece of legislation many advocates say offers more support to returning veterans than any policy since the original GI Bill of 1944. This program explores how the first GI Bill revolutionized the lives of millions of young veterans, America’s institutions of higher learning and American society at large. But America’s economic and academic systems have changed and veterans today are returning to a very different reality than their predecessors.
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November 15
America Abroad

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November 22
Third Coast Festival 2015

This is a showcase of the best short audio documentaries from the US and abroad. Last year there were 420 entries, from 11 countries. 12 won top honors and are featured in this program.

November 29
Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz

A rising star at The New York Times, Jeffrey Schmalz carefully hid his identity as a gay man from superiors to protect his career. Everything changed December 21, 1990 when he collapsed in the newsroom and was diagnosed with AIDS. He chose to report on the disease that was killing him and countless others. Schmalz’s work, largely forgotten today, changed the way The New York Times and American journalism covered AIDS and LGBT issues in general. This program features interviews with former President Bill Clinton, NBA legend Magic Johnson, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., author Anna Quindlen and activist Mary Fisher.

December 2015

December 6
American Abroad

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December 13
Intelligence Squared: Does the Equal Protection Clause forbid racial preferences in state university admissions?

(Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center)
The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution provides that: “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet many state universities give substantial preferences to certain races in their admissions decisions. One side may argue that these preferences level the playing field, remedy prior discrimination, and enhance diversity within the classroom, thus redeeming the true promise of equal protection. But the other may say that these preferences are racial discrimination pure and simple, the precise evil that the Equal Protection Clause was intended to forbid.

December 20
Holiday program

December 27
Capitol Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday

The Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. The group was born in December 1981 when some staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. They decided to dig into the headlines of the day and created song parodies & skits, which conveyed a special brand of satirical humor. Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded over 30 albums, been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS and can be heard twice a year on NPR stations during their Politics Takes a Holiday radio specials.

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