Blog

Tonight on This American Life TV: "John Smith"

Mar 25, 2011

On Monday March 28th at 10/9c, Current TV will air "John Smith," the sixth episode of our second season of television. It's as good as anything we've ever put on the radio. If you watch only one episode, this is the one to check out. It follows seven people, all named John Smith, from a baby to a man in a nursing home - telling the story of a life cycle through several individual lives. It's our only hour-long episode, was a marathon of filming and editing, and ended up winning an Emmy for our editor Joe Beshenkovsky. Here's a clip:

If you have digital cable, you likely have Current TV:

DIRECTV: 358
Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

Ira Glass and others discuss storytelling

Mar 16, 2011

Update 3/18: You can watch a video of the discussion here.

Tonight at 7PM EST Ira Glass joins several other journalists for an event organized by ProPublica, titled "Long-Form Storytelling in a Short Attention Span World."

Also featuring:

David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
Raney Aronson-Rath, Series Senior Producer, Frontline
Stephen Engelberg, Managing Editor, ProPublica
And moderated by Alison Stewart, Co-Anchor, Need To Know

On The Media: The Bias Bias

Mar 14, 2011
Ira writes:

"I was on On the Media this weekend, saying that public radio is mainstream news and that the charge of liberal bias is nonsense.

"Yes, NPR exec Ron Schiller said some things about the Tea Party that violated the core principles of our journalistic mission: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect. I crib those phrases, by the way, from the open letter our colleagues at NPR issued last week condemning his comments. But Ron Schiller is not a journalist, and what he said is very different from the reporting on the Tea Party and everything else you hear on our air every day.

"Since I said all this on On The Media, I've gotten a number of very thoughtful emails from conservative listeners saying they like public radio a lot, and listen all the time, but they hear a bias. I've asked for examples and I hope to get permission from them to post the emails they've sent in response.

"Does public radio have a left-wing bias? Am I wrong about all this? I think the best source of information on the subject is probably our own conservative listeners, who make up roughly a third of our audience (another third calls themselves middle of the road and a third is liberal). Conservatives: what do you hear that makes you wince? Can you think of specific examples of a public radio news story you found biased? On The Media is coming back to this next week, hoping to evaluate whether public radio is biased and if so, how biased, and they might find your comments useful.

"Please comment on our Facebook page, or join the conversation at On the Media, or, if you prefer a less public forum, send your thoughts to press@thislife.org."

May the Best Band Win

Mar 9, 2011

Ira writes:

Earlier this month I interviewed Damian Kulash of OK Go at this all day confab at the Ford Foundation, talking about the forces that might kill the Internet utopia we live in today (replacing it with what I call the Job Killing Non-Neutral Net). We were the novelty act in amongst big thinkers and Bill Clinton. TAL and Daily Show contributor John Hodgman shows up around ten minutes into this and then just won't leave.

Session 3: May the Best Band Win from Ford Foundation on Vimeo.

Tonight On TV: Going Down In History

Mar 7, 2011
Tonight on Current TV, stories of people trying to make—and remake—history, while others go down in history in ways they never intended.

If you have digital cable, chances are you have Current TV. Here's a cheat sheet:

DIRECTV: 358
Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

This American Life marathon, Sunday on Current TV

Mar 4, 2011

This Sunday, March 6th, Current TV will air the first season of our TV show in its entirety, starting at 9:30 PM/8:30 Central. And the six episodes will be totally uncut (normally Current cuts them a bit to make room for commercials). If you've never seen the TV show, now's your chance to fire up the popcorn maker and knock out a whole season in one sitting.

And then on Monday at 10/9C, Season Two continues, with "Going Down in History," stories of people trying to make — and remake — history, while others go down in history in ways they never intended. A clip:

Here's a cheat sheet to find Current TV on your dial:

DIRECTV: 358
Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

The Georgia Rambler & The Recipe

Mar 3, 2011
Remember our episode Georgia Rambler, modeled after an old Atlanta newspaper column featuring stories about interesting people from little towns all over the state? Well it was the Georgia Rambler himself, Charles Salter, who in 1979 came across Everett Beal's notebook containing what we believe to be the original recipe for Coca-Cola. Charles' son Chuck - also a writer, and the reporter who told his dad's story in the Georgia Rambler episode - has written an article about all these connections, for the magazine Fast Company. It's among the more entertaining stories coming out of this whole cola recipe saga.

Coca - Continued

Mar 1, 2011


We've received a lot of fun correspondence since airing our cola recipe story, including the note above from a listener in Missouri named Gary Tash. We have no idea if the glycerine was a sweetener - likely not - but we enjoy the mental image of Uncle Harold painting the Coke factory.

We also heard from a listener in Chicago, Michael Shoshani, who pored over the various columns of the recipe and came up with some helpful suggestions for anyone attempting to make it. If you do try, email us at recipe@thislife.org to tell us how your cola turns out!

We're still astounded at how much interest this story generated.

Tonight on TV: "Two Wars"

Feb 28, 2011

Tonight on Current TV, two foreigners try to make sense of life in the U.S. in the aftermath of two very different wars.

If you have digital cable, chances are you have Current TV. Here's a cheat sheet:

DIRECTV: 358
Comcast: 107 (125 Dallas and Seattle)
Time Warner: 103 NY and 142 LA
Dish Network: 196
AT&T U-Verse: 189
Verizon FiOS: 192

Rakoff and Birbiglia - on stage March 2nd

Feb 22, 2011

On Wednesday, March 2nd, This American Life contributors David Rakoff and Mike Birbiglia will participate in Selected Shorts: Stories from Electric Literature, at Symphony Space in NYC. John Lithgow is also performing. They'll read stories by Rick Moody, Lydia Millet and Joy Williams.

Selected Shorts, of course, is the public radio show and stage show where notable folks perform classic and new short fiction. Electric Literature is a new-ish endeavor that aims to distribute short stories via new technology.