Radio Archive by Date

  • 47: Christmas and Commerce 12.20.1996

    Stories about the intersection of Christmas and retail, including David Sedaris's story "Santaland Diaries," which was first broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition many years ago in a much shorter ...

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  • 46: Sissies 12.13.1996

    Though being gay no longer has much of a stigma in some parts of the country, being a sissy still does — even among gay men. In this show we have a number of surprising and unusual stories of ...

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  • 45: Media Fringe 12.06.1996

    Four stories about people struggling at the fringes of our nation's media/music/infotainment industry.

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  • 44: Poultry Slam 1996 11.29.1996

    In the midst of the five biggest poultry-consumption weeks of the year—the five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when Americans consume one-fourth of all the turkey they eat in a ...

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  • 43: Faustian Bargains 11.22.1996

    Inspired by a spate of new Chicago stage adaptations of the Faust story, This American Life brings you stories of people who made a deal with the devil.

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  • 42: Get Over It! 11.15.1996

    Three stories of people trying to forget the past and move on.

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  • 41: Politics 11.08.1996

    More stories of the election you can't hear anywhere else.

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  • 40: Lessons 11.01.1996

    Stories from acclaimed storyteller Spalding Gray and others.

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  • 39: Halloween 10.25.1996

    This week: A show for Halloween. Stories of things that are supposed to be scary, but aren't.

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  • 38: Simulated Worlds 10.11.1996

    Simulated worlds, Civil war reenactments, wax museums, simulated coal mines, fake ethnic restaurants, an ersatz Medieval castle and other re-created worlds that thrive all across America. (4 minutes)

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  • 37: The Job That Takes Over Your Life 09.27.1996

    Radio producer Scott Carrier quit his job at a low moment in his life. His wife left him and took the kids. And he got a job interviewing schizophrenics for some medical researchers. After doing ...

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  • 36: Letters 09.20.1996

    Host Ira Glass and playwright David Hauptschein took out advertisements in Chicago inviting people to come to a small theater with letters they've received, sent or found.

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  • 35: Fall Clearance Sale 09.06.1996

    Evocative, funny, emotional stories collected over the last few months that haven't fit into any of our regular "theme" shows.

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  • 34: Democratic Convention 08.30.1996

    Unusual stories from the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, with scenes and moments not documented elsewhere.

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  • 33: A Night at the Wiener Circle 08.23.1996

    Host Ira Glass spent a Saturday night — from 9:00 p.m. until dawn the next morning — at one of the most frenetic, joyous, efficient, angry, boisterous hot dog stands in the nation: Chicago's own ...

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  • 32: Republican Convention 08.16.1996

    Unusual stories about day-to-day life at the Republican Convention.

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  • 31: When You Talk About Music 08.09.1996

    Stories of people whose lives are transformed by music.

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  • 30: Obsession 07.26.1996

    Stories of obsession and compulsion. What happens when a little idea starts to control you. Co-hosted by Paul Tough.

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  • 29: Bob Dole 07.19.1996

    Unusual perspectives on the presumptive Republican nominee.

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  • 28: Detectives 07.12.1996

    Writer David Sedaris recalls the days when his mother and sister played armchair detective — until a very odd crime wave hit within their own home. Plus, host Ira Glass goes out on surveillance ...

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  • 27: The Cruelty of Children 06.21.1996

    Stories about kids being mean to each other... including a mysterious handbook for bullies, a surprising experiment conducted by a teacher who wants to make kids be nice, and a story of youthful ...

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  • 26: Father's Day '96 06.14.1996

    Ira's own father Barry Glass co-hosts this special father's day edition of the show.

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  • 25: Basketball 06.07.1996

    A set of documentary stories, radio essays and monologues about basketball, the Chicago Bulls, and their grip on Chicagoans' hearts and lives during the NBA Playoffs.

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  • 24: Teenaged Girls 05.24.1996

    Stories of girls who have to figure out how they're going to act when the ground rules are constantly shifting.

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  • 23: Drama Bug 05.10.1996

    Stories of the people who fall for a life in the theater.

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  • 22: Adult Children 05.03.1996

    Stories of the difficult relationships between parents and their grown children, including two long stories from Sandra Tsing Loh about her father.

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  • 21: Factions 04.26.1996

    A show about something most people have gone through. Friends get together to start a business, start a church, do political action together. And after a while, they start fighting and split up. ...

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  • 20: From A Distance 04.19.1996

    Stories of hero worship, of people admiring someone from afar, and trying to get closer to them.

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  • 19: Rich Guys 04.12.1996

    Men who had comfortable, decent lives, yet decided to do something wild and eccentric with their lives instead.

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  • 18: Liars 03.28.1996

    April first is the one day of the year when we're allowed to enjoy deceiving others. But April Fools' Day is for amateur deceivers. The real pros are the people who can't control their lying, who ...

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  • 17: Name Change / No Theme 03.21.1996

    Our first show as This American Life.

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  • 16: Economy 03.14.1996

    Stories of politics, the economy, and the big picture.

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  • 15: Dawn 02.28.1996

    Writer Jack Hitt goes on a search for a mysterious neighbor from his childhood in Charleston, South Carolina, and stumbles onto an epic story of the Old South, the New South, gender confusion, ...

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  • 14: Accidental Documentaries 02.21.1996

    What unites these stories on the surface is that they're all made from old tapes, recordings found in attics and thrift stores. What unites them under that surface — and not far under it — is that ...

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  • 13: Love 02.07.1996

    Explorations of the dream of true love ... and the difficulties with achieving and maintaining that dream.

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  • 12: Animals 01.31.1996

    Stories about the animalness of animals, the irreducible ways in which they are not human.

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  • 11: Enemies 01.24.1996

    A story of a friendship between two adolescent boys that was destroyed through the manipulative acts of one of them.

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  • 10: Double Lives 01.17.1996

    People living their lives, just like the rest of us. Plus an extra life.

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  • 9: Julia Sweeney 01.10.1996

    When comedienne Julia Sweeney and her brother both got cancer, she decided to tell the story the best way she knew how: in a comedy club. It might seem like a strange choice, but what resulted is ...

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  • 8: New Year 01.03.1996

    Stories that reflect back on 1995.

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