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.

  • Sep 15

    This Week on the Radio: "A Not-So-Simple Majority"

    We take it for granted that the majority calls the shots. But in one NY school district, that idea — majority rules — has led to an all-out war. School board disputes are pretty common, but not like this one. This involves multimillion-dollar land deals, lawyers threatening to beat up parents, felony criminal charges, and the highest levels of state government. Meanwhile, the students are caught in the middle.

    Broadcast September 13 to September 15

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  • Sep 11

    Update: "Kim Possible"

    We ran a story last year about former police detective Jim Trainum and how his first major homicide investigation went horribly wrong. He and his colleagues in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police pinned the crime on the wrong woman. Her name was Kim Crafton. It took Trainum ten years to realize that the confession he got from her was actually false. And that some of the interrogation techniques he used had caused it.

    Crafton says she'd never heard him admit that his interrogation techniques led to a false confession before that story and last week, she filed a $5-million lawsuit against Trainum and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for coercing her confession and false imprisonment. The Washington City Paper covered has more on the suit here: "District Sued Over This American Life Revelations of False Confessions."
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  • Sep 11

    We Want Your Video Ideas!

    Hi friends,

    We’re trying out an experimental video project, and we need your help.

    The project goes like this:

    You send us an idea for a message you’d like to send to one specific person. Then we’ll interview you and make a video to help you convey that message.

    It could be something small and mundane: you want to tell your parents how to use the internet, you want to tell your friend their breath is bad, you want to tell your kid to stop screaming...

    Maybe you need to confess something or apologize. You got away with something you shouldn’t have. Maybe you need to level with your parents about something. Maybe you’ve loved someone for a long time in secret?

    If you have an idea, email us at personalvideo@thislife.org. Tell us where you live, your relative age, and keep your idea brief. If we think it could work, we’ll write you back.

    Thank you so much!
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  • Sep 10

    New York Premiere Tonight!

    NYC: Come to the New York premiere tonight! Dress rehearsal killed (see photos). Tickets are still left for tonight, tomorrow and Friday! The show's like a great episode of the radio show, live, onstage, with dancers. 30% discount with this code: IRABWY. Student rush tickets too!

    Images by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
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  • Sep 08

    This Week on the Radio: "It's Not the Product, It's the Person"

    Starting a business is not for the self-doubting. Or even usually the self-deprecating. The first thing you have to sell is yourself — like dating, but with a greater chance of landing in debt. Alex Blumberg tells the incredible, sweat-stains-and-all saga of a man fumbling through starting a new business, and the man is: himself. Plus, new stories from Mike Birbiglia and Love + Radio.

    Broadcast September 6 to September 8

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  • Sep 05

    Ira to Broadway: Stop the Lies!!!

    Ahead of their radio/dance show at Town Hall in NYC, Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass have an important message about "Broadway."

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  • Sep 05

    NYT Names Our Dance Show One of the Most Exciting Cultural Events in NYC

    Ira writes:

    The New York Times just named our dance show one of the most exciting cultural events in NYC this fall. We're #5 in their list of 100. I wish I could say this means we're the fifth best event in NYC but it just means we're coming up soon. They're in order of date. Still: an honor! The full list is here.

    Most important thing about this: You only have a week to get your tickets, New York City. It's Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 10, 11 & 12 at Town Hall. Move fast to purchase before they're sold out here.

    NYT story explaining the show here.

    New Yorker rave here.
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  • Sep 02

    New Yorkers: One Week Till Ira’s Dance Show


    Image by Julieta Cervantes for the New York Times

    Ira writes:

    Hi everyone! So next week we premiere this show at Town Hall that combines radio stories and dance. Let me say first of all, I know that sounds awful. Radio stories and dance. But it’s a show that's designed as this very funny entertainment, and it kills everywhere we take it.

    You may have seen the dancers – Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass – at some of our live This American Life shows. The New York Times today describes their style as "refreshingly relatable ... equal parts theater, movement, comedy, vaudeville, clowning and spectacle. Think of Buster Keaton in Vegas."

    The show has stories about love and middle school and marriage and losing what you love, but as an interviewer suddenly thrown into the world of dancers, some of my favorite parts of the evening are these pieces which combine interviews I did with Monica and Anna about the job of being a dancer ... and dance. So we see Monica and Anna move and glide and turn as we hear them talk about what goes on in their heads while they’re onstage.

    The show’s unlike anything else, and a total labor of love. You get only three chances to see it: Wednesday Thursday and Friday next week. Then … that's it! Never again! You'll have to live your life knowing you missed this very rare, fun thing we invented.

    Today’s New York Times does a better job explaining the show than I’m doing right now. The story's here.

    Tickets are here.

    I'm very happy that our media partner for these shows is WNYC.
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  • Sep 01

    This Week on the Radio: "How I Got Into College"

    Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer tells us the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man — Emir Kamenica — into his dream school. (Photo: Emir as a Harvard undergrad. Credit Terri Wang.)

    Broadcast August 30 to September 1

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  • Aug 25

    Public Radio Tagger Strikes Again

    A listener writes:

    "I'm a fan of the show, ran across this in Iowa and had to share."

    (We've actually gotten a couple of emails over the past few years from people seeing public radio inspired graffiti. )
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  • Aug 25

    This Week on the Radio: "Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde"

    Dr. Benjamin Gilmer (left) gets a job at a rural clinic. He finds out he’s replaced someone — also named Dr. Gilmer (picture) — who went to prison after killing his own father. But the more Benjamin’s patients talk about the other Dr. Gilmer, the more confused he becomes. Everyone loved the old Dr. Gilmer. So Benjamin starts digging around, trying to understand how a good man can seemingly turn bad.

    Broadcast August 23 to August 25

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