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

  • 542: Wait—Do You Have The Map?
    Stories about people feeling lost and trying to figure out how to move ahead: two brothers take a doomed road trip through Mexico and a couple from radically different backgrounds draw up a contract for their unlikely romance.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/XfIvn9-rC5g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 638: Rom-Com
    The one thing you know for sure when you're watching a romantic comedy is that it's going to turn out okay in the end. When you're living one? Not so much. This week for Valentine's Day, stories that unfold like rom-coms.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/pQRVMINMDhA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 637: Words You Can't Say
    In this politically charged climate, it feels like you have to be super careful with your language, no matter who you are or what side you're on. Stories about people who say the “wrong” thing and suffer the consequences, including a very conservative Republican from Louisiana who's lambasted for being too liberal.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/QzZxxF5yj0k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 352: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
    In 1912 a four-year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing in a swamp in Louisiana. Eight months later, he was found in the hands of a wandering handyman in Mississippi. In 2004, Bobby Dunbar's granddaughter discovered a secret beneath the legend of her grandfather's kidnapping, a secret whose revelation would divide her own family, bring redemption to another, and become the answer to a third family's century-old prayer. <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/XmT1zpT_d6o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 636: I Thought It Would Be Easier
    A year into Trump’s presidency, stories chronicling the sometimes hard, often bad, decisions politicians from both parties are making.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/qjkP93mcwBQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 635: Chip in My Brain
    A boy who can’t dribble gets a coach, a new best friend, and something to believe in.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/5SG1_9qDj20" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #550: Three Miles
    There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/AYckBLk0lJI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 550: Three Miles
    There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better. <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/EcOc4AdCIRU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • #596: Becoming a Badger
    This week, stories about people trying their best to turn themselves into something else—like a badger. Or a professional comedian, in a language they didn’t grow up speaking.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/mUDrfX8dc3Y" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 596: Becoming a Badger
    This week, stories about people trying their best to turn themselves into something else—like a badger. Or a professional comedian, in a language they didn’t grow up speaking.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/RCWHUUkbqmA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

 

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