History

Even as changes in the publishing industry are creating pressures on university and academic presses to cut back on the number and size of scholarly books, interest in the depth and breadth of academic books is increasing.

We are responding to this trend by discussing a wide range of books with their authors for broadcast on media like the Internet, television, and radio.

Unlike other programs that discuss books in general, Riprap is interested in discussions with intellectual depth, handling them in ways that are also interesting and informative to people in the wider community.

Accomplishments

Produced the first television program series in the United States
to focus only on academic books and their authors.

Completed a new half-hour program for broadcast every month since
December 1997.

Increased the size of the potential audience from 260,000 viewers
on 1 cable system to more than 4 million viewers on 70 cable systems,
with even more significant increases planned when distribution is
expanded to include New York, Boston, Chicago, and other major metropolitan
areas.

Produced more than 140 individual shows using a variety of on-location
settings, with more interviews scheduled for production.

Interviewed authors such as William Bowen, head of the Mellon Foundation;
Robert Haas, the former U.S. Poet Laureate; Harry Harootunian, New
York University; Margaret Abraham, Hofstra University; Norma Field,
University of Chicago; and William Ian Miller, Law School, University
of Michigan.

Riprap has been a community partner of the Ann Arbor Reads initiative
and the Ann Arbor Book Festival since 2004.

Riprap broadcast an interview with Beverly Daniel Tatum,
on her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.

In 2003, Riprap aired the interview with Philip Reilly, author of
Abraham Lincoln's DNA, for 15 times during February and March on
WFUM-TV (the University of Michigan's PBS station) and CTN the Community
Television Network). That initiative was coordinated that year by
the University of Michigan's Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program:

Created the first selective Internet global ratings of academic
books for scholars around the world.