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Alumni Profile: Tina Antolini Collects America’s Stories

Tina Antolini 01F travels the United States gathering some of the most important stories in our nation: those of everyday people building community despite obstacles, finding creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems, and connecting with each other across divides.

Antolini produces the new National Public Radio show, State of the Re:Union (SOTRU), hosted by Al Letson, which is released in two six-episode seasons each year. Each episode of SOTRU blends in-depth journalism, oral history, and spoken word to deliver a one-hour glimpse into what builds community in a different town or city across the United States.

In the episodes Antolini produces, she works “behind the scenes making everything you hear happen, from researching story ideas to collecting sound to editing that sound.” 

“I always had a dream about work I’d like to do and then [this job] came along,” says Antolini, who was a reporter, producer, and host at local NPR-affiliate WCFR for several years after graduating from Hampshire. “If you keep going for your dream, it keeps evolving with you as you figure out what you’re good at and what satisfies you. It’s an evolving thing, dream jobs.”

Though each episode takes weeks to put together, the crew only spend one week in each location. Antolini would be happy to spend even more time. “I am drawn to immersing myself in a place,” she says.

Antolini joined SOTRU in fall 2009 after the show received one of the largest grants ever given to a project from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to produce a year of episodes.

“Building a show from the ground up is a huge undertaking,” she says. “There’s no set protocols or structure for how to do what you’re doing—you make it up as you go along.

“So much of what I do for the show happens only because of my ability to get things going on my own. I feel like that’s a skill I honed at Hampshire and that it’s something I need in my life on a daily basis.”
 
To date, Antolini has produced shows on locations Greensburg, Kansas, and New Orleans, and on activist Bayard Rustin. She is currently producing an episode on the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

You can listen to the show on the website
Podcasts are available on iTunes

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