Radio Diaries

Radio Diaries & Radiotopia

Extraordinary stories of ordinary life.

  • 42 minutes 41 seconds
    Guest Spotlight: Parakeet Panic

    This week, we’re featuring an episode of a podcast we’re big fans of: The Last Archive! The Last Archive tells little known histories and how they affect our modern lives. Today’s story, “Parakeet Panic,” explores when invasive parakeets began to spread in New York City in the 1970s — and the government decided that the solution was to kill them all.

    If you liked this episode, you can listen to more of The Last Archive at, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Follow us @radiodiaries on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and Facebook for more of our recommendations and stories, or visit us at

    1 February 2024, 3:00 pm
  • 21 minutes 6 seconds
    The Drum Also Waltzes

    At the age of 16, he played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He went on to make landmark recordings with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He’s considered one of the most important drummers in history — and he would’ve turned 100 years old this week.

    Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes is a new film about the musician by award-winning filmmakers Sam Pollard and (our very own!) Ben Shapiro. Today on the podcast, we sat down with them to discuss the life and music of Max Roach, and the decades of work that went into creating the film.

    You can watch Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes on PBS, Amazon Prime and iTunes:

    If you’re enjoying Radio Diaries, tell a friend! Or share on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and Facebook @RadioDiaries.

    10 January 2024, 4:58 pm
  • 1 hour 1 minute
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Live at WNYC

    We bring you a lot of stories each year, but we don’t often get to share the work behind them. We recently held an event at WNYC’s The Greene Space in New York City, where our subjects and producers reflected on the challenges, and joys, of telling these untold stories. For the last podcast of the year, we’re bringing you that live show: a behind the scenes look at The Unmarked Graveyard.

    We want to bring you as many stories next year as we did this year — and we can’t do that without your help! Please consider making a contribution to support our work by going to

    19 December 2023, 2:04 pm
  • 12 minutes 7 seconds
    The Man on the President's Limo

    Today marks 60 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are many photos from that day in 1963, but one image in particular caught people’s attention, spreading in newspapers across the country: a photo of a Secret Service agent jumping onto the back of the presidential limousine during the shooting. Today on the podcast, the story of the man in that photo: Clint Hill.

    Note: This episode contains a description of violence.

    Tell a friend or share your thoughts about this story on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and Facebook @RadioDiaries.

    Radiotopia’s Fall Fundraiser is here! Donate today to support independent creators like us. Thank you!

    22 November 2023, 10:00 am
  • 15 minutes 16 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: LaMont Dottin

    Back in 1995, LaMont Dottin was 21 years old and a freshman at Queens College when, one evening, he didn’t come home.

    His mother went to the local police precinct to try to report him missing, and his name was added to a list of thousands of cases that the NYPD’s Missing Persons Squad was supposed to be investigating. Then his case fell through the cracks.

    This is the final episode of The Unmarked Graveyard: Stories from Hart Island. Listen to all 8 stories in our podcast feed, tell a friend and share your thoughts with us on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and Facebook. @RadioDiaries

    Radiotopia’s fall fundraiser is here! Donate today to support independent creators like us. Thank you!

    21 November 2023, 5:08 pm
  • 12 minutes 45 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Hisako Hasegawa

    The Belvedere Hotel is in the heart of New York City’s theater district. Many of its guests come to see the sights, take in a show. But there are a few dozen people who call the Belvedere home. Decades ago, they came to New York and rented rooms there. As the hotel changed hands over the years, they never left.

    One of them was Hisako Hasegawa.

    This is episode seven of our series The Unmarked Graveyard, next week will be our final episode. You can listen to the entire series in the podcast feed.

    Radiotopia’s fall fundraiser is here! Donate today to support independent creators like us. Thank you!

    9 November 2023, 9:53 am
  • 15 minutes 51 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Cesar Irizarry

    Angel Irizarry spent years working as a detective, and in 2021 he set out on a personal investigation to track down an uncle who’d been estranged from his family for decades.

    But early in his search he made a disappointing discovery: his uncle Cesar had died. So Angel embarked on a new quest, to learn what had become of Cesar during his long absence.

    This is episode six of our series The Unmarked Graveyard, untangling mysteries from America’s largest public cemetery.

    This story was reported in collaboration with The City’s Missing Them project.

    2 November 2023, 1:59 pm
  • 16 minutes 54 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Dawn Powell

    Dawn Powell wrote novels about people like herself: outsiders who’d come to New York City in the early twentieth century to make a name for themselves. For a few years, those novels put her at the center of the city’s literary scene. Ernest Hemingway even called her his favorite living writer.

    When she died of colon cancer in 1965, Powell donated her body to science. But then her books disappeared from shelves, and, unbeknownst to her family, her body went missing too.

    This is episode five of The Unmarked Graveyard, a series untangling mysteries from America’s largest public cemetery. To hear more stories from Hart Island, subscribe to the Radio Diaries feed.

    26 October 2023, 2:29 pm
  • 20 minutes 52 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Documenting an Invisible Island

    For more than a century, it was almost impossible to find out much about people buried on Hart Island. But in 2008, that all changed — thanks in large part to a woman named Melinda Hunt.

    Melinda is a visual artist who has spent more than 30 years documenting America’s largest public cemetery, and advocating for families with loved ones buried there. She is the founder of The Hart Island Project, a searchable database of more than 75,000 burial records.

    This week, producer Alissa Escarce sits down with Melinda to discuss the history of Hart Island and how it’s changed over the last few decades. This is episode four of our series The Unmarked Graveyard. New episodes published each week.

    19 October 2023, 6:16 pm
  • 20 minutes 42 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Angel Garcia

    When Annette Vega was seven years old, she found out the man she called “dad” wasn’t her biological father. But all she knew was that her mom had had a teenage romance with a guy named Angel Garcia. Annette has searched for Angel for more than 30 years, a search that is finally coming to the end.

    This is episode three in our series The Unmarked Graveyard, untangling mysteries from America’s largest public cemetery. New episodes drop every Thursday.

    12 October 2023, 2:08 pm
  • 13 minutes 37 seconds
    The Unmarked Graveyard: Noah Creshevsky

    When Noah Creshevsky learned he was dying of bladder cancer two years ago, he decided to decline medical treatment. Soon, he and his husband David were faced with another decision: what would become of his body after he died?

    This is episode two in our new series The Unmarked Graveyard, untangling mysteries from America’s largest public cemetery. Each week, we’re bringing you stories of how people ended up on Hart Island, the lives they lived and the people they left behind.

    5 October 2023, 11:00 am
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