I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that before a couple of weeks ago I had never listened to an episode of This American Life. TAL is produced and hosted by Ira Glass, who’s endearing, almost matter of fact style seems to draw you in. Basically he’s like audible crack.
Maybe it’s just because it’s public talk radio but the show has some sort of quality that makes you feel like it’s been around for a hundred years. Like you can almost imagine your great-grandparents huddled around an old-timey radio every week for the one thing that brought a glimmer of joy into their otherwise hard lives, the This American Life program. Only really, it’s only been around since 1995 and your great-grandparents have likely passed on.
I was introduced to it with the release of iPhone’s 2.2 firmware update which allowed over-the-air (OTA) downloading of podcasts. I’ve only been able to listen to a few episodes so far but I find it fascinating and, for the moment, can’t seem to get enough of it.
Some of the stories are jaw dropping, some are heart wrenching, some are hilarious, some to seem to have a message, others seem lighthearted. No matter what the subject matter I am absolutely glued to my in-ear ear buds. TAL gives you a glimpse into lives you may have never otherwise had the chance to stumble upon. A chance to view the world, if only for a moment, while walking in someone else’s shoes.
For a long time, This American Life was only a radio show, one with a hard-to-describe sound, millions of listeners, and a bunch of awards. Then, after more than a decade on the radio, we started the television show, mostly because it seemed like it might be fun. We continue to produce the weekly radio show, which can be heard on more than 500 public radio stations around the country (find a station near you) as well as on this website, through our free podcast. The television show is on the Showtime network.
And by reading their about page I found out they have a television show too. I’m definitely going to have to check out the first two seasons on DVD.