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 IDAThe 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

Grace Lee

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 Alvarado

Co-Executive Producer

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 Ikeda

Co-Executive Producer

Prior to coming onboard as CEO of AIR (Association of Independents in Radio) in 2019, Ken was Executive Director of indie film and training center, BAVC. As Managing Director of Public Radio Capital and Public Media Company, he oversaw the merger and acquisition of stations across public television and radio with insight into content, revenue and audience strategies.

Cheryl Devall

Story Editor

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.

Olivia Aylmer

Development and Editorial Producer

Olivia is a Brooklyn-based freelance arts & culture writer and producer with a background in print and digital media, book publishing, communications, and programming, including prior staff roles at Vanity Fair and Little, Brown. Most recently, she worked with AIR (Association of Independents in Radio), where she helped tell the organization’s story to partners, prospective funders, and public supporters as they expanded their work in support of independent & freelance audio makers. A 2015 graduate of Barnard College, she is also the co-founder of Constellation, a digital platform created in 2017 to amplify emerging and established creatives of marginalized genders across the globe.

Akintunde Ahmad

Investigative Reporter

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.

Susanne Reber

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. 

Claudia Meza

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

Credits

Host, Executive Producer

Grace Lee

Executive Producers

Joaquin Alvarado

Ken Ikeda

Story Editor

Cheryl Devall

Consulting Editor

Susanne Reber

Investigative Reporter

Akintunde Ahmad

Development and Editorial Producer

Olivia Aylmer

Audio Mixer, Sound Designer, Composer and Editorial Consultant

Claudia Meza

Production Assistance

Sonia Paul

Research

Linda Miller

Audio Production and Editing

Chloe Behrens

Fact Checking

Andy Becker

Production Research

Marina Castellanos

Project Manager, Studiotobe

Mihae Jung

Website Design, Logo Design, and Branding

Archer & Hound

Fiscal Sponsor

IDA, The International Documentary Association

r&d phase: AIR (ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENTS IN RADIO)

Funding Support

Perspective Fund

Ford Foundation’s JustFilms

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

Special Thanks

Don Young, Marjan Safinia,
Michèle Stephenson, Maria Agui Carter, Chi-hui Yang, Kathy Im, Poh Si Teng, Geeta Gandbhir, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, David Welsh, May Ying Welsh, Kristi Jacobson, Bernardo Ruiz, Luis Aldana, Haydee Rodriguez, Jon Abbott, Renee Tajima-PeÑa, Julianna Brannum, Myrton Running Wolf, Callie Crossley, Dacia Mitchell, Darnell Hunt, Richard Jean So, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon,
U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, Jihan Robinson, Kristi Jacobson, Sonya Childress, Sarah Childress, Raney Aronson, Louise Rosen,
Sara Archambault, Chris Hastings, Randall Pinkston,
Tracy Heather Strain,
Leslie Fields-Cruz, Mark Wheaton,
Catasonic Studios

Archival Credits

The New York Times, C-SPAN, GBH, CBS, NPR, The Hollywood Reporter

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