State of the Re:Union was a nationally aired public radio show created and hosted by playwright and performance artist Al Letson. State of the Re:Union was distributed by the Public Radio Exchange and National Public Radio, airing five seasons and 56 episodes on its networks from 2010 to 2015. The show won the Peabody Award in 2014.[1]

State of the Re:Union
Running time60 Minutes
Country of originUnited States
Home stationWJCT-FM
Hosted byAl Letson
Created byAl Letson
Written byVarious
Produced byTina Antolini, Laura Starecheski, Brie Burge, Jan Bennett, Creative Empire LLC.
Executive producer(s)Al Letson and Ian DeSousa
Senior editor(s)Taki Telonidis
No. of series5
No. of episodes56



State of the Re:Union was a concept created by Al Letson as an entry in the Public Radio Talent Quest, which started with more than 1,400 hopefuls. The contest aimed to identify a new generation of Public Radio on-air talent. After four rounds and voting from both a select panel of judges and the public at large, three winners were selected. For his pilot episode, Letson and team created "Welcome to D.C.". Two of the three winning shows were awarded with a year's worth of funding to produce new episodes, including State of the Re:Union.[citation needed]



The stated mission of State of the Re:Union is to "show listeners how we are more alike than we are different and the many ways our differences are celebrated". The additional underlying premise is to show "how a particular city, town or area creates a community."[citation needed] Each hour-long episode centers on a particular area and typically poses a question with which to explore the area. For example, the Jacksonville episode asks the question, "Is Jacksonville the Bold New City of the South?" as it is advertised. Typically, the show centers on three to four segments that feature stories that try to answer the proposed question. Letson narrates the program and conducts most of the interviews, but stories are also heard from first-person narratives. The main segments are accompanied by listener-written and read letters to the city, music, lighter fare and Letson's spoken word pieces.[2]

Chosen topics are typically selected from current events, cultural happenings and out-of-the-ordinary business ventures. Due to such a wide range of features, the tone ranges from serious, investigatory and at times somber to happy, hopeful and humorous.[citation needed][peacock prose]

Part of the show is the "Dear City Letters" section, where people who are making a difference are asked if they'd be willing and able to write a letter TO their city.[3]



Pilot season


Four episodes were grouped as Pilot Season.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title[4] Featured location Release date
P0P0"Welcome to D.C."Washington, D.C.TBA
Unknown Aspects of the Nation's Capitol, Go-Go Music, Shaw District's Gentrification Challenges, Interview with Ian MacKaye
P1P1"Motor City Rebound"Detroit, MichiganAugust 14, 2010 (2010-08-14)[5]
Detroit Artist Broken Window Glass Project, Activist Grace Lee Boggs, Avalon Bakery, Inner City Agricultural Revolution, Baker's Keyboard Lounge
P2P2"Bold New City of the South?"Jacksonville, FloridaTBA
Church of Jacksonville Takes on Racial Issues, Operation New Hope Paves the Way for Recitivism Programs and the Controversy surrounding the Name of Local High School Nathan B. Forrest High School
P3P3"Heart of the Heartland"Des Moines, IowaTBA
Al Obeidi on His Story and New Home, The Des Moines Social Club, The Envy Corps and their music, a personal voyage on Gay Marriage in Iowa and innovative, yet simple Pig Farming methods used by one creative farmer to prevent being squeezed out by bigger factory farms

Season 1


Season 1 is composed of 12 total episodes including a Black History Month special "Who is this man?", five Spring 2010 season episodes, and six Fall 2010 season episodes and specials.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[6]
11"Who is this man?"Bayard RustinApril 5, 2010 (2010-04-05)
22"Change Happens"Brooklyn, New YorkMay 1, 2010 (2010-05-01)
33"To the Stars through Difficulties"Greensburg, KansasMay 3, 2010 (2010-05-03)
44"City of Vision"Milwaukee, WisconsinMay 3, 2010 (2010-05-03)
55"A Work in Progress"Oakridge, OregonMay 3, 2010 (2010-05-03)
66"The Big Easy"New Orleans, LouisianaMay 4, 2010 (2010-05-04)
77"Growing Pains"Austin, TexasAugust 20, 2010 (2010-08-20)
88"Appalachia Rising"Appalachia (West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky)August 21, 2010 (2010-08-21)
99"World Within Twin Cities"Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MinnesotaSeptember 16, 2010 (2010-09-16)
1010"Home, Sweet Home"Los Angeles, CaliforniaSeptember 17, 2010 (2010-09-17)
1111"Veterans Day Special"N/ANovember 11, 2010 (2010-11-11)
1212"The Land Remembers"Española, New MexicoAugust 16, 2011 (2011-08-16)

Season 2


Season 2 is composed of 10 episodes including the Spring 2011 season and Fall 2011 season.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[7]
131"The Long Story Short"Birmingham, AlabamaMay 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
142"Bright Lights, Big City, Small Town"Las Vegas, NevadaMay 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
153"Bridging the Divide"Miami, FloridaMay 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
164"The Self-Made City"Oakland, CaliforniaMay 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
175"City with a Warm Heart"Utica, New YorkMay 1, 2011 (2011-05-01)
186"Defending the Gulf"Mississippi Gulf CoastAugust 17, 2011 (2011-08-17)
197"Still Rising from the Ashes"The Bronx, New YorkAugust 18, 2011 (2011-08-18)
208"The New Old West"WyomingAugust 19, 2011 (2011-08-19)
219"Entrepreneurs at Work"Cleveland, OhioAugust 20, 2011 (2011-08-20)
2210"All Hands on Deck"Sacramento, CaliforniaSeptember 10, 2011 (2011-09-10)

Season 3


Season 3 is composed of 13 episodes including the Fall 2012 season and the Spring 2013 season.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[8]
231"The Unlikely Perfect Place"Southern WashingtonJune 1, 2012 (2012-06-01)
242"The Small Town State"VermontJune 1, 2012 (2012-06-01)
253"Outsiders In"Baltimore, MarylandJune 3, 2012 (2012-06-03)
264"Full Circle"OzarksJune 4, 2012 (2012-06-04)
275"With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"ComicsJune 5, 2012 (2012-06-05)
286"Summer in Sanctuary: A Graduation Special"DropoutsOctober 29, 2012 (2012-10-29)
297"Borderlands"Tucson, Arizona[9]October 29, 2012 (2012-10-29)
308"Grinding the Gears"Jacksonville, FloridaNovember 1, 2012 (2012-11-01)
319"Virtual Reality"Internet communitiesNovember 24, 2012 (2012-11-24)
3210"As Black as We Wish to Be[10]"East Jackson, OhioNovember 28, 2012 (2012-11-28)
3311"Coming Home: Stories of Veterans Returning from War"War veterans from Iraq and AfghanistanJune 7, 2013 (2013-06-07)
3412"Dropouts to Graduates: The Story of the Care Center"The Care Center, Holyoke, MassachusettsJune 17, 2013 (2013-06-17)
3513"Back to Basics: An American Graduate Special"DropoutsSeptember 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)

Season 4


Season 4 includes the Fall 2013 season and the Spring 2014 season. It also includes some Black History Month specials.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[11]
361"The Hospital Always Wins[12]"Creedmoor Psychiatric CenterOctober 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)
372"A Tale of Two Cities"Portland, OregonOctober 7, 2013 (2013-10-07)
383"Reconciliation Way"Tulsa, OklahomaOctober 15, 2013 (2013-10-15)
394"The Southwestern Range"TBAOctober 22, 2013 (2013-10-22)
405"Re:Defining Black History"Black History MonthFebruary 4, 2014 (2014-02-04)
416"Leadership from the Bottom Up"African-American leadersFebruary 29, 2014 (2014-02-29)
427"When Words Matter: A National Poetry Month Special"National Poetry MonthApril 9, 2014 (2014-04-09)
438"The Legacy of Sugar"Sugar plantations in HawaiiMay 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)
449"Contested"Durham, North CarolinaMay 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)
Shorts from the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, in Durham.
4510"Updating Tradition"Salt Lake City, UtahMay 27, 2014 (2014-05-27)
4611"The Sorting of America"TBAJune 3, 2014 (2014-06-03)
4712"Frontier Community"Interior AlaskaJune 10, 2014 (2014-06-10)

Season 4 shorts

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[11]
S11"Soteria[13]"TBAOctober 18, 2013 (2013-10-18)
S22"Dear Voices"TBAOctober 18, 2013 (2013-10-18)
S33"Move by Bike"TBANovember 19, 2013 (2013-11-19)
S44"Dear Tulsa"Tulsa, OklahomaDecember 3, 2013 (2013-12-03)
S55"The Possibilities of the Stars"TBAJanuary 8, 2014 (2014-01-08)
S66"In East Portland, Soccer Helps Make a City Home"TBAJanuary 22, 2014 (2014-01-22)
S77"The Life of a Big Idea"TBAMarch 18, 2014 (2014-03-18)
S88"Thrashing in the Woods"TBAApril 1, 2014 (2014-04-01)
S99"The Friendship of Ross and Stardust"TBAApril 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)

Season 5


Season 5 includes the Fall 2014 season and the 2015 season.[4]

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[14]
481"Trans Families"Transgender familiesSeptember 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)
492"American Justice"American prison systemOctober 6, 2014 (2014-10-06)
503"Truckers of the High Seas"Cargo shipOctober 13, 2014 (2014-10-13)
514"Travelogue: Volume 1"SOTRU teamOctober 13, 2014 (2014-10-13)
Al Letson and the SOTRU team share their favorite stories and interviews
525"The Power of African-American Art"African-American artFebruary 13, 2015 (2015-02-13)
SOTRU covers African-American art in the Black History Month special
536"Power to the People"Ithaca, New YorkApril 21, 2015 (2015-04-21)
Producer Jonathan Miller goes to his hometown of Ithaca to see how the city's citizens are activists in climate change
547"The Poems, The Poets, the Power"National Poetry MonthApril 24, 2015 (2015-04-24)
558"Small Town, Global City"San Gabriel Valley, CaliforniaMay 4, 2015 (2015-05-04)
569"Travelogue: Volume Two"SOTRU teamMay 19, 2015 (2015-05-19)
Al Letson and the SOTRU team share more stories and interviews.

Season 5 shorts

No. in series No. in season Title Featured subject/location Release date[14]
S101"The Whistler"TBADecember 3, 2014 (2014-12-03)
S112"A New Orleans Church Memorializes Murder Victims"TBAJanuary 14, 2015 (2015-01-14)
S123"Dear Salt Lake City"Salt Lake City, UtahJanuary 28, 2015 (2015-01-28)
S134"A Couple Twice Born"TBAMarch 3, 2015 (2015-03-03)




  1. ^ a b "State of the Re:Union (NPR and PRX)". Peabody Awards. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ "State of the (Re)Union: In Search of the Red, Blue and Every Other Color".
  3. ^ "State of the Re:Union's requests "Dear City" Letters from West Virginia | West Virginia Writers, Inc".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "PRX » State of the Re:Union".
  5. ^ "State of the Re:Union: Motor City Rebound". 9 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Season 1". State of the Re:Union.
  7. ^ "Season 2". State of the Re:Union.
  8. ^ "Season 3". State of the Re:Union.
  9. ^ Roth, R. (October 29, 2012). "State of the Re:Union examines TUSD's Mexican American Studies". Arizona Daily Independent.
  10. ^ "State of the Re:Union with Al Letson: East Jackson, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be". WXXI. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Season 4". State of the Re:Union.
  12. ^ Rosenthal, Rob. "The Hospital Always Wins". Transom. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  13. ^ Cole, Kermit (October 18, 2013). ""State of the Re:Union Short: Soteria"".
  14. ^ a b "Season 5". State of the Re:Union.
  15. ^ "'WSJ,' 'Miami Herald' and 'Seattle Times' Score at National Press Club Journalism Awards". Editor & Publisher. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Bayard Rustin Service Award 2013". Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Post and Courier, 'State of Re:Union' win notable awards".
  18. ^ a b c "WJCT's State Of The Re:Union Wins Third National Edward R. Murrow Award In a Row". 24 June 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  19. ^ "RTDNA has announced the winners of the 2015 Kaleidoscope Awards". Retrieved 4 January 2020.