Short Take: The President Calling

Sharon Carson

This week NDQ is very pleased to give a nod to our neighbors at Minnesota Public Radio,  specifically to producers Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis of American RadioWorks/American Public Media Reports for their fascinating documentary “White House Tapes: The President Calling,”  which aired over the Presidents Day holiday weekend.

Here’s the nutshell, from the documentary website: “Three of America’s most compelling presidents – Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. They left behind thousands of secretly recorded conversations, from momentous to mundane. In this documentary project, American RadioWorks eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history.”

The program includes archival sound samples from the tapes themselves and compelling analysis by the producers and historians, iincluding Taylor Branch, Robert Dallek, and Bill Doyle.

You can listen to the full documentary here.

And you can find the current archive of the presidential phone tapes at the Presidential Recordings Program digitalized open access project at the Miller Center, University of Virginia.

After listening to this documentary, we also recommend that you visit the documentary podcast archive for American Public Media Reports, for more outstanding investigative and public interest journalism delivered via well-crafted audio documentary art.

Sharon Carson, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of English, University of North Dakota


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