This American Life

This American Life documents and describes contemporary America, but it is, quite literally, a special kind of radio storytelling. Built around the innovative personal vision of host Ira Glass, the program explores a weekly theme — fiascos, conventions, the job that takes over your life — through a playful mix of radio monologues, mini-documentaries, "found tape," short fiction, and unusual music. Usually the program applies the tools of journalism to everyday life. But sometimes it tackles news stories, leading to some of its most distinctive and acclaimed shows. "This American Life" did an hour documenting life on an aircraft carrier that was flying missions over Afghanistan during the war there. It spent another hour with mercenary soldiers fighting in Iraq. One show followed school reform at a Chicago public school over a decade. Another was about the most successful informant in FBI history, and how he double-crossed his employer, Archer Daniels-Midland, and then the FBI. The stories presented are engaging, intimate, surprising, funny, disturbing, bittersweet. Glass and his staff have an unusual knack for finding writers and performers whose work hasn't been heard on radio, and producing their stories alongside his own disarming commentary in a way that listeners praise as "riveting," "mesmerizing." Breakout stars from the show include David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.
Schedule:

Saturday 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on WUSF 89.7

Contact Info:

Contact the Show

Host:
Ira Glass

Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR's Washington headquarters. Over the course of the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: he was a tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing every week or two for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in November of 1995.

From This American Life

  • #612: Ask a Grown-Up
    Stories from people who need a grown-up. Featuring teenage girls asking for advice about their love lives and Ira's tribute to his his very grown-up friend Mary.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/VDZTjkZN6cc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #579: My Damn Mind
    The brain! It's powerful! We have the story of how one man's delusions lead him to a situation that's just as strange as the worst thoughts his mind is cooking up. That story's <a href="http://nyti.ms/1Qw4buA">a collaboration with the New York Times</a>. <br><br> <em>Pictured: Alan Pean, with visible scar from a bullet wound. Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times.</em><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/sWTRijDINr4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #611: Vague and Confused
    A show about rules and what happens when they’re vague and randomly enforced.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/O3jv-7OzKrw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #360: Switched At Birth
    On a summer day in 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The infants were accidentally switched, and went home with the wrong families.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/PIUgko-mTNY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #610: Grand Gesture
    This week we have stories of people going to very extreme measures to demonstrate their feelings. Elna Baker makes a questionable trip to Africa, while a man in Florida commits a series of disturbing acts in the name of love. Ira also goes to a high school to talk to kids before a dance.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/uGCSaTDWYmo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #582: When the Beasts Come Marching In
    We human beings think we run the world, that we’ve got things under control. And then an animal shows up, and things don’t go as planned. We have stories this week where seals, wolves and a moose drop in and show us who isn't boss.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/6QKSGPl1PKY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #609: It's Working Out Very Nicely
    This week we document what happened when the President’s executive order went into effect temporarily banning travel from seven countries, and we talk about the way it was implemented. A major policy change thrown into the world like a fastball with no warning. It’s hard not to ask: “What just happened? What was that all about?”<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/ofjVy8LnDeI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #489: No Coincidence, No Story!
    We asked listeners to send us their best coincidence stories, and we got more than 1,300 submissions! There were so many good ones we decided to make a whole show about them. From a chance encounter at a bus station to a romantic dollar bill to a baffling apparition in a college shower stall. See more of your coincidence stories &mdash; with photos &mdash; <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/page/web-extra-coincidence-photo-stories">here</a>.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/JR0MXw0vHFs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #608: The Revolution Starts At Noon
    Some people are super-stoked for the political changes that are coming. We hear from them. And others.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/Q_ih4rLwYvo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #577: Something Only I Can See
    When you’re the only one who can see something, sometimes it feels like you’re in on a special secret. The hard part is getting anyone to believe your secret is real. This week, people trying to show others what they see—including a woman with muscular dystrophy who believes she has the same condition as an Olympic athlete.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/zkUnLBEcE14" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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