Notes From America 220

The public radio show and podcast The United States of Anxiety is getting a rebrand this weekend as producer WNYC Studios relaunches the New York Public Radio show as nationally-syndicated program for public radio stations around the country. What is now called Notes from America will debut Sunday (Sept. 25) on more than 40 public radio stations.

The name charge is designed to reflect its new national audience as well as to appeal to a broader audience for the call-in show, says WNYC Studios. What won’t change, it says, is the show’s commitment to facing the unfinished business of American history and its grip on our future — but with a fresh focus on finding solutions.

“We launched Kai’s WNYC call-in show in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic and a reckoning with structural racism that radically changed our lives and livelihoods, our culture and discourse, and our sense of personal identity and understanding of shared history,” said Kenya Young, Senior VP at WNYC Studios. “While the pandemic is diminishing, what hasn’t changed is a yearning in an often distressing news environment to go beyond the headlines and process the news together.”

Host Kai Wright will remain in front of the microphone for Notes from America. He has earlier hosted several national radio specials, including a 2022 Juneteenth celebration produced in partnership with Texas public radio stations. In 2017, Wright was one of the hosts of “Indivisible,” a national pop-up call-in show produced by WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, and The Economist that aired during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. He earlier worked in print and digital media, including editorial positions at ColorLines, TheRoot, and The Nation.

There is not a lot of live call-in competition on Sundays – it airs live at 6pm ET -- and that has likely helped WNYC Studios secure clearance for the show on more than 40 public radio stations, including flagships WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio, as well as Minnesota Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio, WUIS Springfield, IL; WJFF Catskill, NY; and WSKG Binghamton, NY; among others.

“We think of Notes from America as a Sunday evening dinner party, where you stumble into a conversation that sticks with you for the rest of the week,” said Wright. “We’re inviting listeners to pull up a chair at our table, bring only their open ears and open hearts, and join us in an honest, intimate, and always good faith discussion about what kind of society we want to create together.”