Viewers Like Us, a new podcast co-produced by LeeLee Films and StudioToBe, documents the growing disconnect between PBS’s founding mission and the increasingly diverse public it was created to serve.
This series unearths the rhyming history within the public broadcasting system, explores who gets to tell America’s stories, and envisions what the future could look like if PBS centered a diversity of experiences and perspectives. Following 2020’s intersecting racial and social reckonings across all corners of the country, Viewers Like Us aims to break a decades-long cycle of inertia when it comes to advancing and sustaining true equity and inclusion throughout public media.
The podcast stems from provocations raised by series host Grace Lee, a Peabody-winning independent filmmaker who called out PBS’s overreliance on documentarian Ken Burns in a fall 2020 essay for the Ford Foundation, and raised the necessity of more than one lens on America’s multitude of stories.
Thank you to our current fiscal sponsor IDA, The International Documentary Association.
Thank you to AIR, Association of Independents in Radio, for fiscal sponsorship support during the project’s research and development phase.
Viewers Like Us Production Team
Co-Executive Producer and Series Host
Grace is a Peabody award-winning filmmaker who most recently directed and produced the two-part series for POV, And She Could Be Next, as well as two of the five episodes for PBS’s Asian Americans. Additional credits include: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (POV); MAKERS: Women in Politics (PBS); and K-Town’92 Reporters (WORLD). Lee is also co-founder of the Asian American Documentary Network and on the board of the International Documentary Association.
Joaquin is the former SVP for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Public Media. As CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting, he founded Reveal, the Peabody Award-winning investigative radio program and podcast, along with this project’s investigative consulting editor, Susanne Reber.
Ken is a founding partner of the strategy and production company, Studiotobe, and Executive Producer of Viewers Like Us. As former CEO of AIR, Executive Director of BAVC, head of Public Media Company and architect of what is now NPR Live Sessions, his network and experience in public media is unique in its breadth and focus. Through Board service via entities with meaningful contributions and aspirations for public media- the Center for Asian American Media, Youth Speaks, Greater Public, KALW, and Color Congress- and as an independent producer unapologetically pushing for greater representation and equity for BIPOC voices- e.g., Self Evident- Ken is committed to a public media that is more inclusive, courageous and reflective of the world than it currently is.
As a veteran storyteller in sound, images and words, Cheryl has reported and edited with National Public Radio and for newspapers in Boston, Chicago, Miami and beyond. Cheryl has worked on nationally distributed public radio programs and public stations throughout the U.S. She’s an independent story editor for audio documentaries and podcasts on subjects ranging from civil rights-era cold cases to California’s effort to change the standard for police use of deadly force to the gospel music roots of rock and soul.
Investigative Reporter and Series Co-Host
Akintunde (Tunde) is an Oakland-based multimedia journalist, who served as a 2020 Ida B Wells fellow with Type Investigations, and a 2019 Delacorte Fellow with the Columbia Journalism Review. In addition to contributing to this project as investigative reporter, he currently works as a documentary film producer for Pete Nicks and Proximity Media. Akintunde’s freelance work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Guardian, andThe Appeal.
Investigative Consulting Editor
Susanne is an award-winning investigative editor, executive producer, and author who currently leads the podcast team at Scripps Washington Bureau. She is the creator and Executive Producer of Verified, a serialized documentary podcast and the co-founder and former Executive Editor of Reveal, the Peabody Award-winning investigative radio program and podcast.
Audio Mixer, Sound Designer, Composer, and Editorial Consultant
Claudia is a multimedia producer and reporter at OPB, which she joined in 2018 as a producer and co-host for the weekly radio arts magazine, State of Wonder. Her Emmy-nominated videos have won accolades in film festivals internationally, and she’s won two Murrow awards for her audio storytelling. Claudia also produced the limited series podcast, Relative Fiction, which broke the one million download mark within three months of launch.
About Beyond Inclusion
Viewers Like Us builds upon the organizing work of Beyond Inclusion, a Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led documentarian collective that rallied nearly 700 non-fiction makers, executives, and field builders to sign an open letter and call to action to PBS in March 2021. Beyond Inclusion organizes for a more racially just and equitable media landscape and holds an unapologetically large vision for ecosystem-wide change. Learn more about their work at www.bipocmakers.com