Things I Love: This American Life

Each week’s show loosely centers on a particular theme. The theme of the show is explored in several “acts,” usually two to five.

Since 1995, radio host Ira Glass has been hosting possibly the best thing on the radio (and made available with weekly podcasts) : This American Life. Every episode has something similar to the quote above, framing the acts for that episode. these podcasts fit perfectly within my 70-minute commute home, where I can tune out the noisy tourists and awful brake sounds and listen in on stories of americans around the nation.

What stands out about this show is that the journalists go out and get first-hand accounts from the people involved in the story. They conduct first person interviews with people to get their stories for TAL. The stories can range from funny and lighthearted to soul crushingly heartbreaking. I admit there have been a couple episodes where I will tear up – keen commuters would think I’m about to have some kind of mental breakdown. What is very consistent about the show is TAL always seems to find interesting stories, even though the topic may not be extraordinary at all. Some favorites they’ve listed are:

#396 – #1 Party School on Penn State and its status of being the #1 party school in the nation, and how it is perceived internally and externally and who it affects.

Original Recipe on the original Coca-Cola recipe and other Coca-Cola lore.

#419 – Petty Tyrant on how a maintenance worker in Schenectady, NY slowly moves up the ladder to become a manager of Lord of the Flies proportions.

you can listen to these episodes a number of ways, I use the android app for older episodes, and google listen for the current ones. you can stream all of them on the app, which would be great for road trips. I have to download my episodes because my subway doesn’t have great service. Enjoy!

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