10 episodes

This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

This American Life WBEZ

    • Personal Journals
    • 4.6, 66.3K Ratings

This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

    713: Made to Be Broken

    713: Made to Be Broken

    From the moment we wake up in the morning there are a trillion rules — big and little — governing our lives. But sometimes, we encounter one we just can't abide by. In a pitched moment of rule-questioning, a show about rules and the people who break them. 

    • 59 min
    712: Nice White Parents

    712: Nice White Parents

    Years ago, producer Chana Joffe-Walt started reporting on one school in New York. She thought the story was about segregation and inequality in public schools. But the more she looked into it, the more she realized she was witnessing something else. She was seeing the inordinate power of white parents at this school. This is the first episode of Chana’s new mini-series: Nice White Parents. 

    • 1 hr 5 min
    443: Amusement Park

    443: Amusement Park

    This week, we celebrate pre-coronavirus summertime fun: at amusement parks! Ira Glass takes us behind the scenes at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, where the young staff – coached by a funny, fun-loving boss just a little older than they are – truly seem to love their jobs.  

    • 1 hr
    711: How to Be Alone

    711: How to Be Alone

    In space, in the ocean, by ourselves, or with others—we’re all just figuring out how to be apart.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    710: Umbrellas Down

    710: Umbrellas Down

    As China's new national security law tightens its control over Hong Kong, we return to our episode about last fall's anti-government protests and check in to see how people are responding.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    709: The Reprieve

    709: The Reprieve

    Michigan has passed its Covid-19 peak, and the state has started opening up. But it’s still been intensely difficult for the staff in the ICU at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. We've embedded with them over the past few months, and tracked how this pandemic has changed them and their city.

    • 1 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
66.3K Ratings

66.3K Ratings

Murrrrrrry ,

Beware Of This Show!

Oh sure, This American Life almost always begins with some rollicking, humors piece directly related to its theme. You’ll hear Ira interview someone to a backdrop of fun, upbeat or whimsical music….You can’t help but get sucked in.

But know this, and know it well: Ira Glass is an insidious and manipulative genius. Sure you’ll start out the hour laughing (maybe harder than you’ve ever laughed at a public radio show) but inevitably and seamlessly, in a completely unconscious manner your emotions will be turned inside out and you’ll end the hour sobbing in your car, in the Target parking lot you’ve been parked in for the last 40 minutes. And sometimes you won’t even know why you’re crying, all you’ll know is that some sort of emotional release is needed before reintegrating yourself into the outside world.

Remember how the television show The Outer Limits began with the warning, “We have taken control of your TV….” well, Ira Glass and Co. take control of your emotional state with full reign to raise you to dizzying heights of euphoric happiness or plung you down, down into unsettling depths of despair.

So beware. The stories within have the ability cling to you for days, weeks, month, or even a lifetime. That’s why I never miss a show.

Callipygian ,

The Last Remaining Reason to Own a Radio is Gone

The podcast itself is evidence of the producers' dedication to their art. I've purchased this program for the last couple of years from Audible. I held on to an XM Radio subscription only because they added TAL to their lineup. I've streamed it online. I even offered to help my local public radio station raise money to carry the program JUST so they could carry TAL. The fact that it is now available as a free podcast is a great public service. Since Audible will be refunding this year's subscription price, I plan to send the money to my local public radio affiliate. Thanks, Ira and Gang!!

wurdNinja ,

Wish I could give it six stars, because it outshines SO MUCH of radio.

I don't know if it's true for you, but I am SO very tired of listening to ridiculous, air-headed, disingenuous disc jockeys handing me "life trivia" stories of "public interest." Most of the time their false giggles make me want to puke.
This American Life is so very different from any other radio experience I've probably ever had or will have. It captures, as well as it can, in audible form, the human condition, in all its delicious and uncanny glory. Glass may well be suited to manipulate his audience into convulsive laughter or tears, but I have never finished broadcast feeling as though I were duped into feeling anything. Each one of the participating storytellers edits his or her tale brilliantly and with individual flourish. I would be loathe not to admit that it sometimes can be geekily playful, but really, my friends, if you're telling yourself you've never been a geek about anything, you need to check your pulse. You're downloading podcasts for goodness' sake. Regardless, this is an excellent, moving and already blazingly popular radio program, so if you don't listen to it already, you should at least give it a try. I have NEVER heard an unsatisfying show yet from Glass and his crew.

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