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

  • #632: Our Town
    The man whose views on immigration are a cornerstone of Trump administration policy—Attorney General Jeff Sessions—apparently came to his opinions on the issue from seeing what happened in the poultry plants of Alabama. He believes undocumented workers showed up in those plants, stole American jobs, and drove down wages. Was he right? We have an economist <a href="https://www.thisamericanlife.org/blog/2017/12/our-town-the-economist%E2%80%99s-report">crunch the numbers</a>, and visit to see for ourselves.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/ArAI23s-0Ek" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #598: My Undesirable Talent
    San Francisco’s Spider-Man burglar was remarkable. He dropped into buildings from skylights, leapt 10 feet from one roof to another. But mostly, his talent got him into trouble. This week, his story, and stories of other undesirable talents.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/zL_8v34oivM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #84: Harold
    The story of Harold Washington, the greatest politician you've probably never heard of, and the white backlash that was set off when he became Chicago's first black mayor. This weekend is the 30th anniversary of his death.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/fbGjwBIBiK8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #603: Once More, With Feeling
    Stories of people who decide to rethink the way they’ve been doing things, or try to get others to do that. Including a woman who decides to confront the men who catcall her, and get them to give it up forever.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/idIlJCIHqUQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #631: So a Monkey and a Horse Walk Into a Bar
    This week, blurring the line between animal and human.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/RfjRSH7nHr4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #513: 129 Cars
    We spend a month at a <a href="http://www.towncountryjeepchryslerdodge.com/index.htm">Jeep dealership on Long Island</a> as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don't make it, it'll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/j_-Q8qIFYME" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #630: Things I Mean to Know
    There are so many facts about the world that we take for granted—without ever questioning how we know them. Of course the earth revolves around the sun. Of course my dog loves me. But how exactly do we know things like that are true? This week, stories of people trying to unspool some of life’s certainties, and what they find.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/Fb9HGLuYoHA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #629: Expect Delays
    We all love to travel to different places, but not many of us like the stressful, banal process of the journey. This week, stories about delays—including a town known entirely for its speed trap, and a woman who comes up against bureaucratic nightmares every time she wants to go just a few blocks away.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/UZVPf1wmlQY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #628: In the Shadow of the City 2017
    Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/5PqMpQCIxtg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #627: Suitable for Children
    This week we ask: who thought that would be a good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/VAtH6YQuUck" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

 

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