This American Life

  • Monday 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
  • Monday 10 p.m.–11 p.m.
  • Sunday 8 a.m.–9 a.m.

This American Life is best described as a movie for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun. This American Life is hosted by Ira Glass and produced by Chicago Public Media.

  • Nov 26

    There will be a Serial Season Two! Thanks to everyone who donated.

    Last week, we asked people who’ve been listening to Serial to chip in if they wanted a second season. This American Life funded the bulk of Season One, but for Serial to continue, it needs to pay for itself. Today, we have good news: between the money you donated and sponsorship, we’ll be able to make a second season. We don’t know yet what the story will be or exactly when we’ll be airing Season Two, but we’ll be working on it as soon as this season ends.

    If you need any information about whether your donation is tax-deductible (it is) or gift-matching, please contact

    Thanks so much to everyone who gave.

    - the Staff of Serial
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  • Nov 24

    Ira Interviewed on Alec Baldwin's "Here's The Thing"

    Ira writes:

    I've been a fan of Alec Baldwin's show Here's the Thing since it began. He's a surprisingly good interviewer, and a different sort of interviewer than Terry Gross. He's IN there, telling lots of stories of his own, comparing experiences. After all, he's just as famous as many of the guests. It makes for unusual and often very compelling listening. Some of my favorites: Herb Alpert, Letterman (who admits to Alec he doesn't work hard any more on his show, and who so loves the interview at the end he says something like "Wait, it's over? So soon?"), Billy Joel (a Long Island on Long Island gabfest at the piano). Archive here.

    Glad he's making more of them. You can listen to the episode I'm on here.
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  • Nov 24

    This Week on the Radio: "A Front"

    Stories about people and places that are fronting in order to hide the truth. We visit a bizarre store in Milwaukee called Fearless Distributing, government checkpoints scattered on highways out west, and a front in a doctor's office.

    Broadcast November 22 to November 24

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  • Nov 17

    This Week on the Radio: "129 Cars"

    We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island 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. Photo gallery here. NOTE: the Internet version of this episode includes un-bleeped curse words. Bleeped version here.

    Broadcast November 15 to November 17

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  • Nov 10

    This Week on the Radio: "The Leap"

    Most of us go from day to day just coasting on the status quo. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? But when routines just get too mundane or systems stop making sense, sometimes you just have to hold your breath…and jump. This week, stories of people who leap from their lives, their comfort zones…even through time.

    Broadcast November 8 to November 10

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  • Nov 07

    iOS App Update Fixes Crashing

    Dear users of our iOS app (iPhone, iPad). The newly released version 3.0.4 of the app fixes the majority of crashing that people are experiencing.

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  • Nov 06

    Area Man Featured in Onion Article

    Ira writes:

    Wow. Someone at The Onion is really familiar with our old shows!
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  • Nov 04

    Tom Magliozzi Remembered

    Ira writes:

    Bad news today. One of the Car Talk guys, Tom Magliozzi, is dead at 77. I only ever met Tom and Ray a few times, mostly in the first year or two of our show. They had no reason to be nice to me but they were lovely and supportive. When they announced their retirement two years ago, I wrote an essay for the public radio newspaper Current, which included this section, explaining how important their show has been to public radio. They were the single most popular hour on public radio for years. Here's an excerpt:

    I enjoy Car Talk. I like those guys. And as a public radio lifer, I'm grateful for what Tom and Ray Magliozzi did to bring a vast audience to public radio, year after year.

    They made our stations a destination for millions of radio listeners on Saturday mornings. They shoved public radio's sound away from stuffy and towards chatty. They loosened everyone's notion of what is possible or appropriate for a national show and — just as important — what could be a hit with our audience.

    Car Talk, shows like mine would have had a much harder time getting onto stations, no question. The Car Guys and Garrison Keillor proved you can sound different, you can organize huge swaths of what you're doing around just being funny, you can think of your program first and foremost as entertainment, and audiences will show up in big numbers.

    What they did was huge. Doug Berman does a canny, brilliant job producing them. Tom and Ray — like great ballplayers — are so phenomenally surefooted at what they do that they make it seem effortless. And they wear the mantle of success as lightly and gracefully as anyone could.

    Tom and Ray were kind enough to make appearances on our show three times. In 1997 and 1998 we were still a pretty unknown show, and they were titans, iconic, one of the biggest shows on public radio. It helped us seem legit to have them on, and I was grateful they made the time. I recommend those appearances if you're a fan, because you hear a slightly different side of them than you do on their own show, especially the first time they came onto our program. Those appearances:

    In our 1997 Fiasco! episode, they explained how hard it was to get their hit show onto the radio in Wisconsin.

    In a 2002 show, they explained how they screwed up repairing their own former employee's car, but maybe got him a girlfriend in the process. That ex-employee btw is Joe Richman, the guy who went on to create the great Radio Diaries series.

    They helped me teach Sarah Vowell to drive a car in 1998.

    Image from Car Talk.
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  • Nov 03

    This Week on the Radio: "My Pen Pal"

    Stories of very unusual pen pals, people whose relationship could not exist without the help of the postal service.

    Broadcast November 1 to November 3

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  • Nov 01

    Ira Dressed as a Dog Dressed as Ira

    Ira writes:

    Elna Baker who does stories for our show, dropped by the office today with this costume she made out of fake fur from the fabric store. "I'm great with a glue gun" she explained. This is me, dressed as the dog who won a costume contest in Brooklyn last weekend, dressed as me. Happy Halloween!

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