This American Life

Friday - 7:00 pm / Saturday 9:00 am
  • Hosted by Ira Glass

This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 2.1 million listeners. There's a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There's lots more to the show, but it's sort of hard to describe. Probably the best way to understand the show is to start at our favorites page, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/favorites , though we do have longer guides to our radio show and our TV show. If you want to dive into the hundreds of episodes we've done over the years, there's an archive of all our old radio shows and listings for all our TV episodes, too.

Ira Glass Host and Executive Producer

Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR's headquarters in DC. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing stories for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.

www.thisamericanlife.org

We asked listeners to send us their best coincidence stories, and we got more than 1,300 submissions! There were so many good ones we decided to make a whole show about them. From a chance encounter at a bus station to a romantic dollar bill to a baffling apparition in a college shower stall.

A bunch of teenagers go missing from a town in Long Island. For months, the police treat them as runaways, ignoring the kids' parents, who keep trying to tell them otherwise. They keep trying to tell them that something much worse might have happened.

Yes, youʼve heard about the family separations. Youʼve heard about the travel ban. But there are dozens of ways the Trump administration is cracking down on immigration across many agencies, sometimes in ways so small and technical it doesnʼt make headlines. This week, the quiet bureaucratic war that’s even targeting legal immigrants.

Terrytoons studios

Stories about one person single-handedly taking charge of a situation gone wrong—including one man's mission to rescue two kids who were kidnapped by alleged murderers and taken to Mexico, and another about a professor's mission to keep the educators of a liberal arts college from extinction.

Photo by Terri Wang

Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer tells us the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man — Emir Kamenica — into his dream school.

An athlete prepares to leave home for a place he's never seen. An astronaut goes where no one has gone. On this week's show, stories of people who confront uncertainty in unexpected ways.

This American Life is heard every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / Streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / On-demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes App Store & Google Play!

Avrajyoti Mitra

We answer the following questions about superpowers: Can superheroes be real people? (No). Can real people become superheroes? (Maybe). And which is better: flight or invisibility? (Depends who you ask).

A flute player breaks into a British museum and makes off with a million dollars worth of dead birds. 

This American Life is heard every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / Streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / On-demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes App Store & Google Play!

Oli Scarff / AFP/Getty Images

This week on This American Life: Sometimes criminals return to the scene of their misdeeds to try to make things right, to try to undo the past. Bobby, a former addict, returned to the scene where he robbed and conned people...to coach little league.

Just a few years before he got the internship at NPR that started him in radio, our host Ira Glass had another career. He performed magic at children's birthday parties. A powerful sense of embarrassment has prevented him from ever doing an episode on the subject, but when he learned that producer David Kestenbaum was also a kid conjurer, they decided to dive in together.

A young preacher opens a new church. A new restaurant reopens old wounds. This week, stories of people trying to build something that will last.

This American Life is heard every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / Streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / On-demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes App Store & Google Play!

Paul Balfe

If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we heard from the extraterrestrials yet? Producer David Kestenbaum explains The Fermi Paradox to host Ira Glass. The possibility that we are alone in the universe makes David sad.

Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”

Andrew Collins was a crooked cop. Over 60 cases of his were overturned when the truth came out. He was thrown in prison, where he turned over a new leaf. But he lives in such a small town, that now that he's out, it’s hard to avoid bumping into people whose lives he ruined. What that's like for him and the people in that town, this week on This American Life

Sam Hodgson / This American Life

Democrats are pretty united in how they feel about President Trump. But they’re wrestling with each other over what their party is, and what it stands for. In this year's pivotal midterms, before Democrats slug it out with Republicans, they’re slugging it out with each other.

Leo Hornak

A story about someone who's desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.

Edmund D. Fountain

Stories about people trying to learn something when no one is clear what the lesson is supposed to be.

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / on demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play!

Molly FitzSimons tells the story of her father starting over. After 25 years in the same zip code, as an executive in the same company, he moved to Los Angeles and tried to start over in a new life with a new venture: A cable channel, with no people, no talking, no plots, but lots and lots of puppies.Molly FitzSimons tells the story of her father starting over.

Adam Maida

Cryptic messages on a cell phone. A teeter totter at a construction site. These are some of the clues people find when they revisit scenes to try and make sense of a death. “Forensics for Beginners” 

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / on demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play! 

Anna Parini

Writer Starlee Kine on what makes the perfect break-up song and whether really sad music can actually make you feel better. Plus, an eight-year-old author of a book about divorce, and other stories from the heart of heartbreak.  

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / on demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play! 

Leigh Guldig

This week on This American Life: Conservative students don't feel like their ideas are welcome on campus. So they're fighting back. We go to Nebraska, where one skirmish spins out of control. 

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / on demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play!  

Michelle Kondrich

A bunch of high school students are taken to see a movie that’s supposed to teach them about history. They don’t learn the history. But they learn a lot of other stuff instead.  

You can hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am - on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play!  

The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of hell, and with it everything he'd worked for over his entire life.  

Update: In this show, The United Church of Christ is cited as the only denomination to openly accept gay marriage. Since this show first aired, several more denominations have officially adopted that position.

It’s one thing to weigh pros and cons. But what about when all you have is con and con? This week, people choose between two bad options, when no good options exist.  

Hear This American Life, with host Ira Glass, every Friday night at 7:00 pm, repeating Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91 / streaming @ radio.krcb.org / Comcast Cable channel 961 all over the Bay Area / and on-demand with the FREE KRCB App @ iTunes & Google Play!

Before he leaves the Senate for good, Republican Jeff Flake is trying to get a bill passed. He has his work cut out for him, with a Senate that barely brings anything to the floor, a party he feels estranged from, and a president who seems to hate his guts. Producer Zoe Chace hung out with him for four months.

Listen to This American Life with host Ira Glass every Friday night at 7:00 pm, and Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

This week on This American Life - sons and daughters get to find out the one thing they've always wanted to know about their father. The answers aren't always what they hope for.  

Hear This American Life Fridays at 7:00 pm and Saturdays at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

William Warby

Inspiration for this week's show came from the Neo-Futurists, whose long-running Chicago show promises 30 plays in 60 minutes every single weekend. 

You can hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm, and repeating every Saturday morning at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

A different kind of #MeToo story, about several women who worked for the same man. They tell us not only about their troubling encounters with him, but also about their lives beforehand. Who were they when they entered the workplace, and how did their personal histories shape the way they dealt with his harassment?

You can hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; and repeating Saturday mornings at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

Stories of dogs and cats and other animals that live in our homes. Exactly how much are they caught up in everyday family dynamics? We answer this question and others.

You can hear This American Life with host Ira Glass every Friday night at 7:00 pm, and repeating Saturday mornings at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

Friday on This American Life: 

Stories about people feeling lost and trying to figure out how to move ahead: two brothers take a doomed road trip through Mexico and a couple from radically different backgrounds draw up a contract for their unlikely romance.  

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating Saturday mornings at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

The one thing you know for sure when you're watching a romantic comedy is that it's going to turn out okay in the end. When you're living one? Not so much. This week for Valentine's Day, stories about surviving the mishaps of love.

Hear This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating Saturday mornings at 9:00 am on KRCB-FM Radio 91!

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