About American RadioWorks

American RadioWorks is becoming the national documentary unit of APM Reports. Since 1998, we have created documentaries, series projects, podcasts and online content for public radio and the Internet. We have a special interest in exploring the people, ideas, and innovations that are changing education in the 21st century. We also examine critical issues in civil society, health care, the environment, business and economics.

Find our archive of radio documentaries here. Subscribe to our weekly podcast here.

Contact Us

For general questions and feedback about our documentaries, you can be in touch by filling out this form.

We’re especially interested in hearing what impact American RadioWorks programs have on you. Has one of our documentaries or podcasts changed how you think about an issue? Has it led you to do something, like start a conversation or try to do something new in your community? Share your impact story.

Follow Us


ARW Staff

Stephen Drury Smith is the Executive Editor and Host of American RadioWorks, the international documentary series from American Public Media. Smith has covered a wide range of international and domestic issues, including human rights, education, science and health, race relations and American history. Smith and ARW have been awarded many national journalism awards, including the duPont-Columbia University Gold and Silver Batons, the Robert F. Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, Overseas Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Major Armstrong, Society of Professional Journalists and Scripps-Howard awards. Smith is a graduate of Macalester College, where he is a visiting instructor in English. He holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago, where he was a William Benton Fellow.

Senior Producer and Correspondent Emily Hanford joined American RadioWorks in January 2008. Before coming to ARW, Emily worked as a senior editor and news director at WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she oversaw a major expansion of the news department and created the series North Carolina Voices, which won a duPont-Columbia Award in 2005. Emily also worked at WBEZ, Chicago as a reporter, program host and acting news director. She was an assistant to Ira Glass as he was producing the pilot programs that went on to become This American Life. Emily got her start in public radio back in the 1990s at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts. In addition to reporting on education, Emily has covered religion, health care, labor and employment issues, and politics. Her work has won numerous honors including a Casey Medal and awards from the Education Writers Association and the Associated Press. Emily is based in the Washington, D.C. area, where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is a graduate of Amherst College. You can follow Emily on Twitter:@ehanford.

Producer and Correspondent Samara Freemark joined American RadioWorks in 2013. Before that she covered veterans’ issues for the Public Insight Network and worked as a reporter and producer with Radio Diaries, where she helped ordinary people tell extraordinary stories. Her work at Radio Diaries received the George Foster Peabody Award. Freemark has also worked as an environmental reporter, and as a staffer in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. She holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Follow Samara on Twitter: @sfreemark.

Producer and Correspondent Sasha Aslanian rejoined American RadioWorks in 2015 after seven years working as a metro reporter for MPR News.  She was part of a team that won a Peabody, a duPont and a Third Coast award for an investigative series on the Catholic Church. Her reporting with KARE11 on Minnesota’s battle over same-sex marriage won a Walter Cronkite Award for political journalism. She is the founder of MPR’s Young Reporter series which won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. From 2000 to 2008 she served as a producer for American RadioWorks. From 1992 to 2000 she worked as a daily news producer for MPR News. She’s a sidewalk poet and a graduate of Grinnell College.

Contributing Editor and Producer Catherine Winter has been working in public radio since 1987. Her recent work includes editing the podcast Us & Them, which tells stories from America’s culture wars, and producing The Really Big Questions, a radio series exploring intersections between science and the humanities. Catherine’s national awards include the DuPont Award, two Silver Gavel awards from the American Bar Association, and the Unity Award. Her ARW documentary Wanted: Parents, co-produced with Ellen Guettler, won the Casey Medal. No Place for a Woman, co-produced with Stephanie Hemphill, won the Gracie Allen Award. She contributed to the series The Promised Land with Majora Carter which won the Peabody Award in 2010. Previously, she was legal affairs correspondent for Minnesota Public Radio and covered rural issues for MPR’s Mainstreet Radio team. Catherine has a masters in English and linguistics from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley. She writes for and edits the Ask a Master Gardener column for the Duluth News Tribune.

Associate Producer Suzanne Pekow has worked with every daily news program on Minnesota Public Radio and the national programs MarketplaceMarketplace Tech ReportAmerican RadioWorks, and Word for Word. Suzanne has produced live events for Minnesota Public Radio and enjoys producing reported features for air. Her work has appeared on American RadioWorks’ Eppy-winning web site; Thrive NYC; NYU’s Pavement Pieces, and other publications. Suzanne has an M.A. in journalism from NYU. She is also a proud graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she received a bachelor’s degree in choral music education. Follow Suzanne on Twitter: @suzannepekow.

Coordinating Producer Ellen Guettler has worked on more than 40 documentaries with American RadioWorks since 2003. Her own documentary work includes stories on international adoption, online social networking and the adoption of teenagers. Guettler has worked at National Public Radio and the Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Geography from Middlebury College.

Contributing Producer Michael Montgomery has worked in national radio, television, and newspapers. He joined American RadioWorks as a correspondent in July, 1999. Prior to that, Montgomery was an associate producer at CBS Reports and 60 Minutes, where he covered national and international stories, including an extensive investigation into Mexican drug trafficking. From 1989 to 1995, Montgomery was a Balkans correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph, covering the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the break up of Yugoslavia. He reported extensively on the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, including the siege of Sarajevo. Montgomery also covered the region as a freelance reporter for Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Montgomery was a Fulbright scholar in Belgrade from 1987 to 1989, researching Serbian nationalism. He graduated from Macalester College with a degree in International Studies. Montgomery is the recipient of an Alfred E. Dupont-Columbia Gold and Silver Baton and Overseas Press Club Award.

Contributing producer Laurie Stern has covered poverty and education for American RadioWorks since 2007. Her work has also aired on Marketplace, NPR, The World and other public radio programs. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she has also been an adjunct instructor. Her background is in television news and video documentary.

Contributing Producer Kate Ellis comes to American RadioWorks with extensive expertise in American race relations. She began working with American RadioWorks in 2001, when her research on white and African American memories of segregation was featured in the program Remembering Jim Crow. She is the recipient of the ABA’s Silver Gavel Award, the Unity Award for public affairs/social issues reporting, and the first place Headliner Award for documentary work. Ellis is the co-editor of two books, Say it Plain, A Century of Great African American Speeches, and Say it Loud, Great Speeches on Civil Rights and African American Identity. Ellis entered public radio as a college DJ in Santa Cruz, CA. She holds a B.A. from UC, Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.

The American RadioWorks audio signature was created by Ochen Kaylan.