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.

  • Oct 20

    This Week on the Radio: "Is This Working?"

    Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.

    Broadcast October 18 to October 20

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  • Oct 13

    This Week on the Radio: "Secret Identity"

    A bank robber on an undercover mission. A teenage girl with the powers of a tiger. A vigilante seeking vengeance in Ciudad Juarez. All have secret identities. But not all of them chose those identities for themselves.

    WEB EXTRA: A drawing by Alice Leora Briggs accompanies the text of "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers."

    Broadcast October 11 to October 13

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  • Oct 09

    VIDEO: Ira Glass on Fallon

    Ira Glass was on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, talking about a Shakespeare "conTRAHversy," halloween costumes, and our new show Serial.

    Part One:

    Part Two:
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  • Oct 06

    This Week on the Radio: "The Alibi"

    Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a bright teenager disappears after school one day. Six weeks later her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed is arrested for her murder. He says he's innocent — though he can't remember what he was doing that afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School claims to know exactly where Adnan was. Trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found. This week features a pilot of our new podcast, Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig.

    Broadcast October 4 to October 6

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  • Oct 03

    Our New Show is Up! It’s Launched!

    Ira writes:

    Hello everyone! The second series from This American Life is now officially not a dream but a thing that exists in the world. We have a spinoff! In fact, there are not one but two episodes, ready for you to hear.

    To reiterate the facts in case you’ve missed them till now: The new show is called Serial and it’s hosted by Sarah Koenig, who’s done some of the most memorable stories ever on our show.

    What’s different about Serial is that it’s a story that takes a dozen or so episodes to tell. So each new episode brings you the next chapter of this amazing, unfolding story. Serial’s a podcast, not a radio show, because a podcast seems like a better place for a long story that you need to hear from the beginning. With podcasts, you can download everything and binge listen.

    And yes, we know lots of people still aren’t so clear what podcasts are or how to get them. If that’s you – if you’re an older person and the whole idea of learning about podcasts just makes you feel tired – have no fear! We have made an instructional video. It stars me and an actual older person, a friend of mine from the dog park, Mary Ahearn, who’s in her eighties. She listens to our show every week on her iPad and in a minute and a half in this video, she explains everything you need to know.

    To listen to the first two episodes of Serial, go to Serialpodcast.org.

    We’re all super-excited to finally be premiering our new show. It’s been in the works for a year. Sarah is just fantastic in this new role. We truly and sincerely hope you like it.
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  • Sep 29

    This Week on the Radio: "The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra"

    An unprecedented look inside one of the most powerful, secretive institutions in the country. The NY Federal Reserve is supposed to monitor big banks. But when Carmen Segarra was hired, what she witnessed inside the Fed was so alarming that she got a tiny recorder and started secretly taping. ProPublica's print version.

    Broadcast September 27 to September 29

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  • Sep 26

    Our Questions for the New York Fed and Goldman Sachs

    In the course of reporting our story "The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra" with ProPublica, we sent lots of questions to the New York Fed and Goldman Sachs. We wanted to share those with you, along with the institutions' responses.

    Our questions to the New York Fed are here.

    The New York Fed responded with a statement and later this email.

    Our questions to Goldman Sachs are here.

    Goldman Sachs' response is here.

    And one last document that plays an important role in our story: the confidential report Columbia professor David Beim wrote for the New York Fed in 2009, as it was trying to figure out why it failed to anticipate the financial crisis and what it should do to make sure it wouldn't fail to catch the next one.

    You can listen to our story here, and read ProPublica's story too.
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  • Sep 26

    "The Ray Rice Video for the Financial Sector Has Arrived"

    Ira writes:

    Michael Lewis — the author of Moneyball, Flash Boys and The Big Shortwrites about this weekend's episode of our show.

    Morning Edition led today's show with a story about the revelations in our episode.

    The episode is up today! You can listen now!


    Image of Carmen Segarra by Nabil Rahman for Pro Publica
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  • Sep 22

    This Week on the Radio: "Origin Story 2014"

    This week we bring you little-known and surprising stories of how all sorts of institutions began. An updated version of a 2009 episode.

    Broadcast September 20 to September 22

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Ryan Adams