Week 2 – Ira Glass and the Radio Revival

[This American Life clip]: “From Chicago Public Radio, it’s This American Life, I’m Ira Glass.”
Announcer: With these words, Ira Glass has opened over five hundred episodes of what may be the most popular radio program of all time.

[Overlaid clips of Glass saying “It’s This American Life, I’m Ira Glass” repeated / overlapping a number of times.]

Announcer: Distributed on public radio stations throughout North America, and consistently the most popular downloaded show on iTunes, This American Life has redefined what we expect from the radio medium. But where exactly did it come from?

[Clips, ~50 of Glass saying “Stay with us” overlaid in parallel]

Ira Glass began his career in radio at the age of 19, serving as an intern at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, DC, and working on such iconic programs as Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation. But Glass wouldn’t get his own show until 1990, when he co-hosted The Wild Room on Chicago Public Radio.

[Clip of The Wild Room]

Announcer: The Wild Room was not a huge hit, but Glass remained with WBEZ, the public radio affiliate in Chicago. In 1995, he launched Your Radio Playhouse, which he co-created with Torey Malatia. Initially limited in scope to works by Chicago artists, Your Radio Playhouse eventually broadened its scope to include personal stories from all over the country, and its name was changed to reflect this shift, to

[Clip: Glass saying “This American Life.“]

Announcer: Today, the show is downloaded over seven hundred thousand times per episode, and broadcasts to one point seven million people throughout the country. National distribution has helped raise awareness, and online distribution has helped grow the show’s audience substantially.

Today, the show is produced out of New York, and Ira Glass remains the program’s producer and host. The program has two spinoffs in Serial and Mystery Show, but This American Life — and its creator — show no signs of slowing down.