American Icons: A Radio Series from Studio 360

American Icons

Tuesday, June 10
The Disney Parks
Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping our imaginations. In 1955, Disney mixed up some fairy tales, a few historical facts, and a dream of the future to create an alternate universe. Not just a place for fun, but a scale model of a perfect world. “Everything that you could imagine is there,” says one young visitor. “It's like living in a fantasy book.” And not just for kids: one-third of Walt Disney World’s visitors are adults who go without children. Visiting the parks, according to actor Tom Hanks, is like a pilgrimage — the pursuit of happiness turned into a religion.

Futurist Cory Doctorow explains the genius of Disney World, while novelist Carl Hiaasen even hates the water there. Kurt tours Disneyland with a second-generation “imagineer” whose dead mother haunts the Haunted Mansion. We’ll meet a former Snow White and the man who married Prince Charming — Disney, he says, is “the gayest place on Earth. It’s where happy lives.”

Tuesday, June 17
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
How do you build a monument to a war that was more tragic than triumphant? Maya Lin was practically a kid when she got the commission to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. “The veterans were asking me, ‘What do you think people are going to do when they first come here?’” she remembers. “And I wanted to say, ‘They’re going to cry.’" Her minimalistic granite wall was derided by one vet as a “black gash of shame.” But inscribed with the name of every fallen soldier, it became a sacred place for veterans and their families, and it influenced later designs like the National September 11 Memorial. We’ll visit a replica of the wall that travels to veterans’ parades around the country, and hear from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel how this singular work of architecture has influenced how we think about war.

Studio 360

Studio 360

Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.


Studio 360 looks at the places "where art and real life collide," exploring the creative influence and transformative power of art in modern life through richly textured stories and insightful conversation. Hosted by novelist and journalist Kurt Andersen, Studio 360 touches listeners' feelings and challenges their perceptions of the world by presenting a weekly collection of ideas that are provocative and moving, from comic books to Wagner, Swiss Army Knives to the legacy of Woody Guthrie. Program segments include:

Kurt Andersen

  • "Commentary" —Kurt Andersen's weekly musings on culture, from the new TV season to politics as entertainment.
  • "Cover Story" —a weekly collection of features exploring a central idea, from Shakespeare's enduring influence on popular culture to our urge to ornament everything from Christmas trees to architecture and music.
  • "Design for the Real World" — designers and artists talk about everyday items, from the stop sign to the Post-it Note.
  • "Portraits" — profiles of famous artists and people behind the scenes.
  • "How Art Works" — an exploration of how we perceive the world and how artists play with those perceptions, from why certain songs stick in your head to how color affects your emotions.


WBHM Interviews

UAB Faculty Senate Could Vote For Reassessment of Sports And "No-Confidence"on Watts
INTERVIEW: Big-Picture Perspective On Colleges Ending Football Programs
Protestors Demand Assurances UAB Football Will Not Be Cut
A College For Inmates, And An Interview With Its President
INTERVIEW: Inmate And Horticulture Student Timothy Brown
INTERVIEW: Trisha Powell Crain On Alabama's Low NAEP Ranks
INTERVIEWS With "Make Them Listen" Anti-Illegal-Immigration Protesters
Interview: Nick Patterson, Author of "Birmingham Foot Soldiers: Voices from the Civil Rights Movement"
INTERVIEW: New Jefferson County Schools Chief Craig Pouncey
Life After Prison: Interview With Robin, Student And Tutwiler Inmate
Interview: U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance on Alabama's Heroin Problem
Interview: Reporter Alex Walsh on Alabama's Prison Budget
"Coming Back With Wes Moore" Explores the Struggles of Returning Combat Veterans
Interview: Mark Crosswhite, Alabama Power's New CEO
INTERVIEW: James Willig On The "Gamification" Of Medical Education
AL.com, WBHM Event Yields Frank Talk On Hoover School Bus Fees
INTERVIEW: Rick Vest, Counseling Coordinator Of Two-Year College For Prisoners
Interview: Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Biologist and Alabama Native
Tornado Slams Small Alabama Town
Interview: Reporter Brian Lawson Discusses Inmate Healthcare
Interview: Birmingham Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson
INTERVIEW: Arnold Shober On The Importance Of School Board Leadership
Folk Singer Willie Watson Brings Classic Folk and Blues to Birmingham
Going Natural: It's Not Just a Hairstyle, It's a Lifestyle
Birmingham Native Callie Courter's New Album 'Love is for the Brave'
Interview: Reporter Kelsey Stein on Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women
Interview: Michael Saag, M.D., Discusses His New Book
Sustainability: Birmingham Mayor William Bell
SUSTAINABILITY: Grant Brigham Of Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Our live stream webcast is authorized by our agreement to abide by the terms of the license issued by the Recording Industry Association of America. Among the limitations set out in the federal law that created the compulsory license to distribute sound recordings over the internet, we agreed that the webcast would not be distributed on a subscription basis; that it cannot be interactive or "on-demand'; and that we not publish or distribute a program schedule or list of the titles of the specific sound recordings that will be transmitted in advance.


WBHM eNEWS