Originally released in 2017, What’s The Story? is the passion project of host Ray Elliott, a former magazine fact-checker, who quit his thankless job upon learning that the most popular episode of his favorite show – This American Life – was based on a fabrication. He decides that, at the end of the day, stories are more important than facts, and recruits three other reporters to join him in his effort to uncover “the best version of the truth.”
Focusing on a new theme in each episode, the reporters take turns introducing and playing their pre-recorded segments, followed by in-studio discussions that develop into overarching series plot lines – such as one character's mysterious backstory, another's unrequited love, and everyone's frustration over not getting paid.
In short, it’s a work of fiction about truth, and the sometimes extreme measures we take to find or avoid it. Although we began production long before entering this so-called era of post-truth, we can’t help but note the connection. Nevertheless, we don’t claim to make any profound statement (though if you find one, let us know).
Ray assembles his team, and interviews the founder of the humanitarian organization Doctors Without MDs. Stacey helps a helicopter pilot tell his story of overcoming discrimination in the workplace. Phil explores the hobo life. And Blair profiles a mediocre basketball player who has found success abroad.
Ray visits a podcasting convention, where he meets a subway conductor with his own show and a tech entrepreneur trying to make audio go viral. Stacey experiments with whisper therapy and learns something new about herself. Phil probes the essence of the universe by taking mushrooms on an empty stomach. And Blair uncovers the secrets of a sovereign community in the Shenandoah Valley.
Ray uncovers some of his early forays into radio, and begins to doubt his abilities as a host. Phil rebounds with a bombshell at the worst possible moment. Blair returns to the scene of a crime, and attempts to correct an old wrong. And Stacey finally finds her voice.
Ray returns to his soul-crushing office job and is forced to reconsider the importance of facts. Stacey sends a dispatch from her post-podcast life. Phil finds a new worldview thanks to a no-nonsense self-help guru. And Blair embraces Destiny.