This American Life began in 1995 and is one of the most popular radio shows and podcasts in the US, heard by more than 1.8 million people on radio and downloaded up to a million times a week. One of our problems from the start has been that when we try to describe This American Life in a sentence or two, it just sounds awful. For instance: each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. That doesn't sound like something we'd want to listen to on the radio, and it's our show.

So usually we just say what we're not. We're not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We're not really formatted like other radio shows at all. Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun. Each episode has a theme, and we present several stories on that theme. Lately, we've been tackling the news, with a personal style of reporting.

Latest Podcasts from thislife.org

This week, stories of people being threatened and punished with public shame. Including the story of someone who was literally tarred and feathered. It happened a lot more recently than you'd guess.
A Native American tribe is doing exactly the opposite of what you'd think they'd do: they're kicking people out of the tribe, huge numbers of them, including people whose ancestors without question were part of the tribe. And the story of a white guy who only wants to date Asian women, who then has...
They're small. And they're cuddly. But sometimes it feels as though our babies were replaced with demon replicas — controlling, demanding, or just downright awful. This week, stories of infants and children who dominate the adults around them with their baditude, or whom adults have painted...

Ira Glass

Ira Glass is the host and producer of the public radio program "This American Life," from Chicago Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International. He began his career as an intern at National Public Radio's network headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1978, when he was 19 years old.