This American Life

This American Life

Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago. read less

Our Editor's Take

The world is a complex place full of personal and powerful stories. All it takes is a little effort and curiosity to reveal their potent magic. This American Life is a radio show and podcast that excels at that—discovering and telling compelling, captivating stories.

With a storied history beginning in 1995, This American Life is a legendary public radio show. It's journalistic in nature but so much more in practice. It's storytelling with a flair for the funny, the fascinating, and the meaningful.

Full of gripping drama, larger-than-life people, and compelling concepts, this podcast is striking. Its 2.3 million downloads per episode are a testament to its provoking production and wide-reaching appeal. With an enormous collection of episodes in the books, there's no shortage of content to enjoy.

With Ira Glass as longtime host, This American Life is entertaining yet philosophical. It tells intimate true stories while asking timeless and pertinent questions. The profound impact of the program is evident. It has won prestigious awards, including the first Pulitzer Prize for a podcast or radio program.

This show remains cutting-edge and fresh despite its impressive longevity. Perhaps it is the unique approach to storytelling that maintains the appeal. It is unafraid to try new things and push the limits of what a show can be, both in content and form.

This American Life has spawned a myriad of related shows, TV included. Whether a diehard lover of podcasts or a newcomer to the format, every listener should have this show on their radar. With a reputation for excellence and standard-setting history, this is podcast gold.

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Society & CultureSociety & Culture
816: Poultry Slam
1w ago
816: Poultry Slam
During the highest turkey consumption period of the year, we bring you a This American Life tradition: stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds—real and imagined—and their mysterious hold over us. Prologue: Ira Glass talks with Scharlette Holdman, who works with defense teams on high profile death row cases, and who has not talked to a reporter in more than 25 years. Why did she suddenly end the moratorium on press? Because her story is about something important: namely, a beautiful chicken. (2 minutes)Act One: Scharlette Holdman's story continues, in which she and the rest of a legal defense team try to save a man on death row by finding a star witness — a chicken with a specific skill. (10 minutes)Act Two: Yet another testimony to the power chickens have over our hearts and minds.  Jack Hitt reports on an opera about Chicken Little.  It's performed with dressed-up styrofoam balls, it's sung in Italian and, no kidding, able to make grown men cry. (14 minutes)Act Three: Ira accompanies photographer Tamara Staples as she attempts to photograph chickens in the style of high fashion photography. The chickens are not very cooperative. (15 minutes)Act Four: Kathie Russo's husband was Spalding Gray,  who was best known for delivering monologues onstage—like "Monster in a Box," and "Swimming to Cambodia." On January 10, 2004, he went missing. Witnesses said they saw him on the Staten Island Ferry that night. Two months later, his body was pulled out of the East River. Kathie tells the story of the night he disappeared, and about how, in the weeks following, she and each of their three children were visited by a bird, who seemed to be delivering a message to them. (9 minutes)Transcripts are available at
807: Eight Fights
Aug 6 2023
807: Eight Fights
Nadia's family is split between Russia and Ukraine, which is pretty common. And when Russia invaded Ukraine, it didn’t just start fighting on the battlefield. It sparked family conflict, too. An intimate story of the war from writer Masha Gessen.  Prologue: An extended family, and eight fights. (1 minutes)Fight #1: Luka’s parents – Nadia and Karen – try to figure out where to take him once war breaks out. (6 minutes)Fight #2: Nadia and Karen have been arguing over Russian-ness since they needed to pick a school for Luka. (10 minutes)Fights #3 and #4: Nadia remembers the times that Luka’s father would suggest going to Crimea for vacation, as if it wasn’t Ukrainian land occupied by Russia. And she remembers a present that Karen once gave Luka––the sort which had to be smuggled into the country. (6 minutes)Fight #5: Nadia tells the story of her father, Alex, who lives near Bucha, and how differently he and she view the Russian atrocities there. (10 minutes)Fight #6: Nadia tells the story of her mother, who lives in Russia, and how she won’t do the one thing Nadia keeps asking her to do. (2 minutes)Fight #7: Karen sends Nadia a photo which drives them to a final showdown. (12 minutes)Fight #8: Nadia’s step-father works for the Russian government. How to manage that? (4 minutes)Epilogue: Nadia and Karen’s son, Luka, who most of these fights are about, gets the last word. (3 minutes)Transcripts are available at