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Susan Burton

Susan was a producer at our show. After she left, she created two diary-style radio stories with an Afghan teenager (shows 230 and 254) and co-wrote a book with him, Come Back to Afghanistan. Her essay in episode 175 was turned into the feature film Unaccompanied Minors.
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Act 1: Kabul Kabul Kabul Kabul Chameleon

Hyder Akbar was a teenager living with his family in the Bay Area when president Hamid Karzai asked Hyder's dad to return to Afghanistan and become an official in the new government. Hyder recorded audio diaries that became two episodes of our show, in 2002 and 2003, both produced by Susan Burton.

Act 1: Shots In The Dark

Measles cases are higher in the U.S. than they've been in a decade, mostly because more and more nervous parents are refusing to vaccinate their kids. Contributing Editor Susan Burton tells the story of what happened recently in San Diego, when an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy returned home from a trip to Switzerland, bringing with him the measles.

Act 1: Part One

Hyder notices changes in Kabul in the year since he visited Afghanistan. Then he heads to Kunar, near the Pakistan border, one of the remote regions where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and local warlords are still fighting the new Afghan government and the U.S. military.

Act 2: Part Two

Hyder's story continues. He and his convoy of American soldiers run into trouble on their way back home.

Act 4: The Cinema Of Upward Mobility

Home movies usually don't have much of a plot—one of the many ways they differ from Hollywood movies. But reporter Susan Burton has a lifetime of home movies, which together describe a very Hollywood plot, about how she remade herself from a friendless nerd into a popular girl.

Act 1: Cowboys And Indians, Part 1

Reporter Susan Burton tells the story of a high-speed chase in South Dakota. An incident at a high school basketball game escalated to the point where a group of Native American girls from one town found themselves being chased down the highway by a group of white boys from another town.

Act 2: Cowboys And Indians, Part 2

Susan Burton's story continues. She investigates the effect the high-speed chase had in the town where it happened—Miller, South Dakota, one of the top ten most racially homogeneous places in the country.

Act 1: Tornado Prom

Susan Burton reports on Prom Night 2001 in Hoisington, Kansas, a town of about 3,000. While the seniors danced, a tornado hit the town, destroying about a third of it.


In this act we hear several stories that happened during the daylight hours of the diner's operation. The first is from Nancy Updike, who talks with several early morning customers, including one guy who comes in mornings to play his accordion, and another who at the age of 8 was the youngest butcher in Illinois.

Act 1: Sleeping In Mommy And Daddy's Room

This is a story of people wanting to change and not wanting to change at all. A Minnesota family builds the same 1970s-era suburban house three times, and moves it once, just so they don't have to live in a house that's different than the house that contains all their memories.

Act 1: Thank Heaven For Little Girls — Made Of Plastic

The story of a company trying an experiment at marketing dolls to little girls:A new kind of doll store near Chicago's Magnificent Mile called "American Girl Place." The company has figured out all the ways little girls love dolls and they're trying to sell to nearly every one of those desires. Susan Burton reports that it's as if they've settled into a perch inside little girl's dreams and are selling from there.