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Act 3: Ode to Joy

Ira Glass' friend Lucy used to love listening to the radio psychologist Joy Browne, who she thought always had the best advice. But is it possible for someone's advice to just be too good? Ira Glass talks to Lucy to find out.

Ira at Google

Google sometimes invites people in to give little talks or Q&As. Ira was asked, while he was visiting California. 


Ira Glass talks with Senior Producer Julie Snyder about how it feels to get to the 500th episode. And he explains what we're doing on today's show: the producers of the program are picking their favorite moments from the previous 499 shows, which tend to be very different sorts of moments than listeners choose.

Act 1: Act One

Julie Snyder talks about a favorite passage from Sarah Vowell's story in episode 107: Trail of Tears: Then she talks about Alex Blumberg's interview with Griffin Hansbury in episode 220: Testosterone: Producer Robyn Semien talks about Ira's interview with Denise Moore, who was trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center after Hurricane Katrina.

Act 2: Act Two

Several producers talked about the first stories they ever heard on the show, before they worked here. Former producer Jonathan Goldstein, now host of WireTap, remembers the prologue to episode 27: The Cruelty of Children: Then producer Brian Reed talks about the first time he heard the show, when Ira spoke at his college and played a story by Jack Hitt from episode 188: Kid Logic: Alex Blumberg talks about an early story by Adam Davidson, Alex's current colleague at Planet Money, from episode 94: How To.

Act 2: Mike's Account

Host Ira Glass has a lot of questions for Mike Daisey, beginning with why Daisey lied to Ira and This American Life producer Brian Reed about how they could fact-check his story with Cathy Lee. Ira also explains This American Life's fact-checking process, in general.

Act 1: Cathy's Account

Rob Schmitz, a Shanghai-based reporter for Marketplace, tracks down and interviews Cathy Lee, Mike Daisey's interpreter on his trip to Shenzhen, China, and the Foxconn factory. In her interview with Rob, Cathy disputes much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio.

Act 3: A Sense Of Place

Filmmaker Tony Hill took his friend Sally Goode, who was born blind, to a place she'd never been before, then taped her trying to figure out where she was. We first heard Hill's story care of our colleagues at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.


Host Ira Glass talks to Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, about one of the men in his book, a guy named Stetson Kennedy. In the 1940s, Kennedy, a Southerner, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.


Writer Thomas Frank went on the radio show On Point to talk about his book What's the Matter With Kansas? The book is about how people in his home state keep voting for Republicans even though Republican policies aren't helping them economically. But the people who called in to the radio show didn't exactly see it his way.


Host Ira Glass discusses Howard Stern, who claims that current action by the FCC will take him off the air. We hear from Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan who heads the House committee passing new FCC fines, and from Brent Bozell who heads the Parents' Television Council.


Host Ira Glass talks with Alex Meyer, high school sophomore in Seattle and host of the Alex Meyer Show, which he produces in his bedroom, on a castoff home stereo of his dad's. When it became clear that no radio station would ever give him a job, he simply took charge and created his own show to learn what he needed to learn.

Act 1: Dave Knows

The story of a man who might have a better grip on what's going on in the economy of middle-class America than all the experts you ever read in the paper or see on TV. Dave Ramsey hosts a call-in radio show about personal finance, but he ends up answering questions about more than money.


Ira tells the story about how Scott first got into radio. He was listening to a story on the radio one day, thought "I can do that," and promptly hitchhiked across the country to Washington, to the headquarters of NPR.


Ira talks about those ephemeral, thrilling radio moments that you happen to catch in passing on stations far away that you never find again. Flipping through the channels.