Blog

iPad app!

Apr 5, 2011

We're very excited to unveil our brand new This American Life iPad app. It has all the features of our iPhone and Android apps, plus some exciting new stuff. It costs five bucks.

You can stream our entire 430+ episode archive on demand, listen to the live show, and get a bunch of audio and video extras. The coolest new feature—which you can't even do on our website—is single button play for each individual story within an episode. No more shuttling through audio to get to the part you want. Also pretty exciting: you can download THREE episodes at a time for offline listening.

Other new things include:

* "My Dashboard" section tracks your favorites, bookmarks, and shows you've heard

* Full episode descriptions

* Extras like our how-to-make-radio comic book, behind the scenes photos and producer journals from our TV show, essays by Ira Glass, strange maps and more.

* Live Twitter feed

* Optimized audio playback and scrubbing

* More generally, the app just has a super intuitive interface where you can easily browse the archive, flip through episodes, view shows by your favorite contributors, and discover stories you haven't heard before. It's getting a nice response from people who have downloaded. The app was built by our friends over at PRX.

Some screen shots:

Home screen


Episode detail


All Shows, landscape view


David Rakoff's contributor page


Dashboard that stores your favorites, shows you've heard, and shows downloaded for offline listening


Sample extra: our 'how to make radio' comic book

Here's the app on iTunes.

Ira hosts a “movie night” in Baltimore

Apr 4, 2011
Ira writes:

"I grew up in Baltimore and am a big fan of Civic Works, which was started by a high school friend, Dana Stein. It began as a program to give job skills to young people and has grown to the point where they even operate a middle school/high school inside the Baltimore City school system.

"We tried to think of a fun event we could do as a fundraiser for Civic Works and came up with what is basically a movie night of stories from our This American Life TV show. I've done versions of this event three times now, most recently this weekend in DC, and each time it's amazing to see the stories on a big screen. Our cinematographer shot them like a movie, and they're kind of gorgeous up there.

"I know most of our radio fans have never seen the TV show, so if you're in the area I hope you'll come out. We'll talk a little about Civic Works that night too: if you don't know about them, I think you'll be as impressed as I am. It's a good cause. If you want to really help them out, we're doing a reception before the show too, which will not be as good as sitting down with each and every one of you for a crab cake/shrimp salad club sandwich at Miss Shirley's, but hopefully will come close.

Tuesday night, May 3rd, 7:30
College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles Street in Baltimore

Tickets and more info: here.

Thanks to WYPR for partnering on all this too!"

Monday: Current TV airs our final Television episode

Apr 1, 2011

On Monday April 4th at 10/9c, Current TV will air "No Respect," the seventh and final episode of our second season of television. It's is all about stand-up comedy, and features radio favorites Jonathan Goldstein and Mike Birbiglia. A clip:

Here's where to turn your digital 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 Talent Show" - featuring This American Life contributors - March 30

Mar 28, 2011

TAL contributors Dave Hill and Shaina Feinberg are performing in The Talent Show on Wednesday, March 30, at Littlefield in Brooklyn. The theme of the show is "Your Mom" -- comedians, writers and musicians performing with, or about, their own mothers. Co-hosted by TAL contributor Elna Baker.

$5. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8. TICKETS.

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