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

  • #626: White Haze
    Right-wing groups like the Proud Boys say they have no tolerance for racism or white supremacist groups. Their leader Gavin McInnes disavowed the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. But the Proud Boys believe “the west is the best,” which, one of them points out, is not such a big jump from “whites are best.” And one of the Proud Boys organized the Charlottesville rally. (The group now claims he was a spy.) What should we make of groups like this?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/jKsoQ43S9-0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #597: One Last Thing Before I Go
    Words can seem so puny and ineffective sometimes. On this show, we have stories in which ordinary people make last ditch efforts to get through to their loved ones, using a combination of small talk and not-so-small talk.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/Qb77ES_3h14" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #625: Essay B
    In the fall of 1967, two black freshmen arrived at an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. They were the first black students ever to attend the school. One of the main reasons they were there? To benefit the white kids. This week, we hear their story, and others about being enlisted to benefit another person’s educational experience. A version of this story appears in <a href="http://nytimes.com/integration">The New York Times Magazine</a>.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/Xu3I4nloVNc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #624: Private Geography
    Everyone walks around on their own private map of the world. The places we’re from and how they made us, whether we like it or not.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/6Wmi5pxQLW4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #282: DIY
    After four lawyers fail to get an innocent man out of prison, his friend takes on the case himself. He becomes a do-it-yourself investigator. He learns to read court records, he tracks down hard-to-find witnesses, he gets the real murderer to come forward with his story. In the end, he's able to accomplish all sorts of things the police and the professionals can't.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/VU7uQvWgrsE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #623: We Are in the Future
    One of our producers, Neil Drumming, has recently become fascinated with Afrofuturism. It's more than sci-fi. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic, creative, and oddly hopeful—which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism. <br><br>Featuring the new song <a href=https://www.youtube.com/embed/zT1ujfuXFVo>"The Deep"</a> by <a href="http://www.clppng.com/">Clipping.</a> Original artwork by <a href="http://www.mattahan.com/">Paul Davey</a>. Click to enlarge.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/2slQaInADRI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #472: Our Friend David
    Favorite stories by our longtime contributor and friend David Rakoff.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/vDFuvW0j1Zo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #622: Who You Gonna Call?
    When everything goes wrong, one of the first things we think is, "Who do I call?" This week, stories of lucky people who have found the exact right person to ring up for help.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/RD9bbVPr4AY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #175: Babysitting
    Stories of babysitters, and what goes on while mom and dad are away that mom and dad never find out about. Including the story of two teenagers who decide to invent children to babysit, as an excuse to get out of their own house.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/tN4n1pMu-2c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #621: Fear and Loathing in Homer and Rockville
    This week we look at two different towns grappling with a question the country is trying to make sense of – who do we let in? One town has immigrants that became the focus of national news. The other, a small town in Alaska, hardly has any immigrants at all.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/dKUJykkT3cM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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