WNYC Studios and OSM Audio’s “Dolly Parton’s America” Wins 2019 Peabody Award
(New York, NY – June 10, 2020) – WNYC Studios and OSM Audio’s nine-part series “Dolly Parton’s America” has been recognized with a George Foster Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious honors in broadcast media, the University of Georgia’s Grady school of Journalism announced today.
The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors selected 30 winners from nearly 1,300 entries, representing the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media during 2019. Peabody judges said of the podcast: “Exploring how and why everyone loves Dolly Parton, the show’s host, Jad Abumrad, and producer, Shima Oliaee, offer superb pop cultural, political, and artistic analysis that is as engaging as it is insightful.”
The critically acclaimed podcast series from Jad Abumrad, creator of the two-time Peabody Award-winning podcast and radio show Radiolab, retraces the steps to Dolly’s near-universal appeal, and turns the mirror around to discover what America’s collective adoration reflects and reveals about us. “Dolly Parton’s America” was culled from over 12 hours of interviews with Dolly herself, and features commentary from 50+ voices including Jane Fonda, Nashville legend Ralph Emery, folk singer Rhiannon Giddens, Dollyologists Sarah Smarsh and Helen Morales, Dr. Naji Abumrad, Parton family members, Lynn Sacco and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville students, among many others.
“I’m so humbled and honored that our trip through the Dollyverse caught the attention of the Peabody judges,” said Jad Abumrad. “Eternally grateful to my dad, to the amazing Shima Oliaee, everyone at WNYC Studios and most of all to Dolly herself, for living such an epic life and for so generously embracing our slightly crazy thesis—that Dolly is America, in all its crazy contradictions.”
“Dolly’s story of radical inclusivity is one that unites so many people—from around the world—who believe in love over hate,” said Shima Oliaee. “I’m thankful to all the incredible people who shared their stories with us, the gracious Peabody jury, my comrade Jad Abumrad, Dr. Naji Abumrad, and especially, Dolly Parton!”
“We are extremely proud of Jad and Shima for their innovative approach to an American icon, going beyond traditional biography and bringing audiences a textured portrait that tells us as much about America as it does about Dolly Parton,” said Goli Sheikholeslami, President and CEO, New York Public Radio, which includes WNYC Studios. “The series reflects and gives voice to a diverse and divided country, and provides a much-needed spot on the media landscape where listeners can come together across their many differences. We are grateful to the Peabody judges for honoring Dolly Parton’s America.”
The winners of the 79th Annual Peabody Awards were announced online today, in lieu of its annual ceremony, which was postponed from the previously announced date of June 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In past years, WNYC has also won Peabody Awards for programs including Radiolab, The Brian Lehrer Show, On The Media, and Radio Rookies.
ABOUT WNYC STUDIOS
WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio, and home to some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts, including Radiolab, On The Media, Trump, Inc., The New Yorker Radio Hour, Death, Sex & Money, and The United States of Anxiety. WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with podcasts and national radio programs that inform, inspire, and delight millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. Programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, revealing interviews, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit wnycstudios.org.
ABOUT OSM AUDIO
Osm Audio is the production company of Jad Abumrad, host and creator of WNYC Studios’ Radiolab, one of the most influential and downloaded podcasts, and More Perfect, hailed by The New York Times as “possibly the most mesmerizing podcast.” Osm is an incubator of new podcasts and audio projects. Shima Oliaee (Osm producer/production manager) reported and produced Dolly Parton’s America, and can be heard on several of the episodes.