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Ira interviews Ryan Knighton, a blind guy who had a very peculiar experience with a hotel room telephone. Then Ira introduces the rest of the show, which was recorded live on stage in New York City and beamed to movie theaters in the US, Canada and Australia.


Ira Glass hands off the show to guest host Nancy Updike, via a quick cell phone call, as he heads out of town to report a story. Nancy isn't quite sure how how she feels about being given this new role... ambivalence not uncommon for the receivers of gifts.


We hear the eerily calm answering machine message that Brita Bonechi leaves for her husband, Rob, after she's had an accident and is trapped upside down in her car.

Act 2: Dial "S" For Sorry

Tapes from The Apology Line, a phone line connected to an answering machine where people leave anonymous apologies—but not to the people they actually hurt. Also, an interview with "Mrs. Apology," a.k.a.


Host Ira Glass explains why some old answering machine messages from a decade ago have such power for him: there's a special power to recordings of phone conversations. The phone is intimate — more intimate than a photograph.

Act 2: When The Telephone Is Your Medium

Sure you can try to get your pop songs onto records, or on the radio, or onto MTV. But what happens if your medium of choice is ... the telephone? Before they had record contracts, the band They Might Be Giants distributed their songs through the medium of Answering Machine.

Act 3: Phone As History

We think of our phone calls and phone messages as so transient. We have another example of phones recording personal history: this story from Barrett Golding in Bozeman, Montana, comprised of telephone messages about his father.