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

  • 646: The Secret of My Death
    Cryptic messages on a cell phone and a teeter totter at a construction site: these are clues people found, trying to make sense of a death.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/aPdy2RSA5-I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 339: Break-Up
    Writer Starlee Kine on what makes the perfect break-up song and whether really sad music can actually make you feel better. Plus, an eight-year-old author of a book about divorce, and other stories from the heart of heartbreak.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/eEBMDgocx2M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 645: My Effing First Amendment
    Conservative students don't feel like their ideas are welcome on campus. So they're fighting back. We go to Nebraska, where one skirmish spins out of control. <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/KmuW-dUJyaY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 644: Random Acts of History
    Stories about people who accidentally bump into unsettling facts of history in settings meant to teach them history. What they end up learning is very different from what they’re supposed to.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/f6LgTugVSo0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 304: Heretics
    The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a rising star in the evangelical movement, who cast aside the idea of hell, and with it everything he'd worked for over his entire life.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/H7uuXcJ2vzU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 643: Damned If You Do…
    It’s one thing to weigh pros and cons. But sometimes all you have is con and con. This week, stories of people having to make a choice, when no good options exist.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/S6wfHJiEsyU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 642: The Impossible Dream
    Before he leaves the Senate for good, Republican Jeff Flake is trying to get a bill passed. He has his work cut out for him, with a Senate that barely brings anything to the floor, a party he feels estranged from, and a president who seems to hate his guts. Producer Zoe Chace hung out with him for four months.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/jW0K3KA2gvA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 289: Go Ask Your Father
    Sons and daughters get to find out the one thing they've always wanted to know about their father. The answers aren't always what they hope for.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/f2WmILXRSdI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 306: Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time
    A girl signs up for a class. A couple hires an accountant. A group of co-workers decides to pool their money and buy a couple of lottery tickets. In the beginning, they're full of hope and optimism...and then something turns. Stories of good ideas gone bad.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/8uTNDftAomc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 641: The Walls
    Stories from border walls around the world, where one place ends and another begins. And the strange ecosystems that arise.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/_gX46zmQxOs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

 

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