January 11, 2002

Recordings for Someone

Personal recordings one person made for just one other person, including what some have called the greatest phone message ever.


We hear a tape that a man named David Cossin made for a woman in Italy named Allesandra whom he'd met during a week he spent there, and with whom he'd fallen in love. He sent her a dozen tapes, including one where he tries to convince her to move to New York and be with him. Ira explains that hearing this tape - made by one person for one other - is different than other things you hear on the radio. Most radio stories are for an audience of many. This week, an audience of many listens in on tapes intended for an audience of one. (3 minutes)

Act One

Buddy Picture

Jonathan Goldstein with a story about friendship, mothers and sons, and what some have called the greatest phone message in the world. Jonathan is the host of the podcast Heavyweight. (19 minutes)

Act Two

Special Effects Story

Kevin Murphy is a college student in Idaho who stutters. Using the power of radio editing, he and the production staff of This American Life removed his pauses, stutters and repeats so that he could record a message the way it seems the rest of the world would like to hear him sound. His recording is for one person...a pizza guy, in Idaho. (6 minutes)

Act Three

War Story

During the first Gulf War, John Brasfield was an army scout. He went on dangerous missions, in which he was exposed often to enemy fire with little protection. On most missions, he took along a cassette recorder and taped the action for his wife.  He did it so that if something did happen to him, she'd at least know the circumstances. At one point he recorded, by accident, what may have been the unnecessary killling of Iraqi soldiers who'd already surrendered. (18 minutes)