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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 19 July 2009

Matt Frei presents an insider guide to the people and the stories shaping America today. Combining location reports with lively discussion and exclusive interviews, the show provides new and surprising insights into contemporary America.

Matt talks to Jane Roe; she gave her name to the most famous legal decision in American history, Roe versus Wade. But now Norma McCorvey is a full-time anti-abortion activist, and she was arrested in the Senate for protesting at the hearings to select Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sottormayor. We hear about her extraordinary journey.

It has stopped raining in Texas, in the worst drought since 1885. Cattle farmers fear they will soon have to slaughter their herds. Why has the rain stopped falling in the Lone Star State?

And how would you like to be told you are a genius and handed half a million dollars? The programme examines the secretive MacArthur Foundation and their 'genius grants'.

  • Roe Versus Wade

    This week in Washington D.C., judicial nominee for U.S. Supreme Court, Sonya Sotomayor had her confirmation hearings disrupted by anti-abortion protestors. Matt Frei talks with the famous woman behind those disruptions. She used to go by the name of Jane Roe - as in the plaintiff who helped legalize abortion for women in America through the Roe Versus Wade Supreme Court case. Roe, whose real name is Norma McCorvey, tells Americana why she has become a supporter of the pro-life cause.

  • Roe Versus Wade Supreme Court case

    Roe Versus Wade Supreme Court report
  • Roe Versus Wade Supreme Court case

    Roe Versus Wade Supreme Court summary
  • Pro-Choice

    Planned Parenthood
  • Pro-Life

    Roe No More Ministry
  • Drought in Texas

    Drought in Texas

    The state of Texas is facing an intense drought. The dry weather in the southeast is losing the state billions of dollars and leading climatologists, farmers and ranchers alike to keep their fingers crossed for a rain, even a hurricane. Host Matt Frei speaks with rancher Debbie Davis and national drought monitor Mark Svoboda about the challenging conditions in the Lone Star State.

    U.S. Drought Monitor
  • Morgan Watson

    On the 40th anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon, Americana takes a look at how the space industry helped racial integration.

    As humanity took its first steps on the moon, Watson was one of the first African Americans to integrate the ranks of those working for NASA.

    Independent producer Richard Paul introduces Morgan Watson.

  • MacArthur Genius Grants

    Among the many qualifications of President Obama’s new Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is the title “genius”. She is one of the handful of winners of the MacArthur Genius Grant- an award of $500,000 with no strings attached.

    It’s not everyday that people get a phone call letting them know that they are officially a genius. Matt Frei talks with “genius” professor Jim Collins about how one phonecall can change your life.

  • MacArthur Genius Grants

    MacArthur Foundation
  • MacArthur Genius Grants

    Professor James Collins - Boston University Applied BioDynamics Laboratory


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  1. Image for Americana: inside the USA

    Americana: inside the USA

    An insider’s guide to the stories and people shaping the USA today. Discussion and insight from…

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