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

  • 652: Crime Scene 2018
    Every crime scene hides a story. In this week's show, we hear about crime scenes and the stories they tell.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/XE8wGrVnkZE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 651: If You Build It, Will They Come?
    A young preacher opens a new church. A new restaurant reopens old wounds. This week, stories of people trying to build something that will last.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/IzWLTLLwyko" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 617: Fermi’s Paradox
    Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/nGqLQiUKpuI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 650: Change You Can Maybe Believe In
    An innocent man forgives the cop who framed him. An Argentinian talk show that usually treats women as objects suddenly gets really interested in feminism. This week, stories about changes that seem too tidy to be true.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/c94-xFldCOM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 649: It's My Party and I'll Try If I Want To
    Democrats are desperate to retake part of Congress. Their best shot is the House. This fall, they’ll be slugging it out with Republicans—but in the meantime, they’re slugging it out with each other. The progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic party are going head-to-head in Democratic primaries all over the country right now, wrestling over what the party should be and stand for. This week, we have the story of a candidate in one primary like that.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/LFsTymgYyq4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 560: Abdi and the Golden Ticket
    A story about someone who's desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.  Abdi has a memoir out on Tuesday called "Call Me American." He's also going on a short book tour.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/_E10hwXzs7s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 648: Unteachable Moment
    Stories about people trying to learn something when no one is clear what the lesson is supposed to be. <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/s964JUZcTA4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 233: Starting From Scratch
    Stories of people starting over, sometimes because they want to, other times because they have to.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/nIB4uZrXKKY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 647: LaDonna
    A security guard at the airport notices something going wrong on the tarmac, and takes it upon herself to fix it. It’s way harder than she expects. <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/talpodcast/~4/YieA6EtLkcw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
  • 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=""/>