This American Life

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The latest news from Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life." Hosted by Ira Glass, "TAL" is an award-winning radio program and was also an Emmy-winning series on the Showtime network. The weekly radio show features first-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. Regular contributors include David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman, Dan Savage, Jonathan Goldstein, and Chris Ware.
Updated: 53 min 3 sec ago

This Week on the Radio: "Origin Story 2014"

September 21, 2014 - 8:00pm
This week we bring you little-known and surprising stories of how all sorts of institutions began. An updated version of a 2009 episode.

Broadcast September 20 to September 22

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A Brand New Series! From the Creators of This American Life!

September 19, 2014 - 11:32am

Ira writes:

For weeks now I’ve been sitting in on edits of our new podcast and it’s killing me that we have to wait another two weeks before we release it to the world. It’s so good! It’s made by two of our longtime producers here – Sarah Koenig hosts and Julie Snyder produces – and it feels like the greatest stories we ever do on This American Life and it also feels like something totally new.

I’m writing today to say it premieres on Friday October 3rd. It’s called Serial. We’re releasing not just one episode, but two episodes that day. You can subscribe to the series and hear a preview here.

Wait, did I bury the lede? Yes, this is our very first spinoff show! We have a spinoff! We’re making two shows, not one! That’s news, right? It’s the first brand new show from the staff of This American Life since 1995. And yes – we’re old. Sorry about that. And yes, this is not going to be on the radio. Podcast only!

We’ve tried to continually reinvent how we tell stories on our show and this is the next step. Instead of bringing you a new theme and a new set of stories each week the way we do on This American Life, Serial brings you back every week to the same story, to tell you the next chapter. Our hope is to give you the same experience you get from a great HBO or Netflix series, where you get caught up with the characters and the thing unfolds week after week, and you just have to hear what happens next, but with a story that’s true. And no pictures. Like House of Cards or Game of Thrones but you can enjoy it while you’re driving.

Each season of Serial will be a different story and the first season is about a murder. Sarah Koenig is – no question – the best radio reporter in the world for this job. Did you happen to catch the hour-long story she did, where she re-investigated a murder committed by this doctor named Gilmer? I felt like every ten minutes, I learned something that changed my whole idea of the case and the story and in the end, she found exculpating facts nobody at the trial on either side knew about. It was perfect radio. It’ll be amazing to hear Sarah do this once a week.

Subscribe now, while you’re thinking of it. Listen to the preview. You won’t be sorry.

Serial staff: Dana Chivvis, Emily Condon, Sarah Koenig, Ira Glass, and Julie Snyder.
Photo by Meredith Heuer.

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This Week on the Radio: "A Not-So-Simple Majority"

September 14, 2014 - 8:00pm
We take it for granted that the majority calls the shots. But in one NY school district, that idea — majority rules — has led to an all-out war. School board disputes are pretty common, but not like this one. This involves multimillion-dollar land deals, lawyers threatening to beat up parents, felony criminal charges, and the highest levels of state government. Meanwhile, the students are caught in the middle.

Broadcast September 13 to September 15

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Update: "Kim Possible"

September 11, 2014 - 4:13pm

We ran a story last year about former police detective Jim Trainum and how his first major homicide investigation went horribly wrong. He and his colleagues in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police pinned the crime on the wrong woman. Her name was Kim Crafton. It took Trainum ten years to realize that the confession he got from her was actually false. And that some of the interrogation techniques he used had caused it.

Crafton says she'd never heard him admit that his interrogation techniques led to a false confession before that story and last week, she filed a $5-million lawsuit against Trainum and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for coercing her confession and false imprisonment. The Washington City Paper covered has more on the suit here: "District Sued Over This American Life Revelations of False Confessions."

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We Want Your Video Ideas!

September 11, 2014 - 3:23pm

Hi friends,

We’re trying out an experimental video project, and we need your help.

The project goes like this:

You send us an idea for a message you’d like to send to one specific person. Then we’ll interview you and make a video to help you convey that message.

It could be something small and mundane: you want to tell your parents how to use the internet, you want to tell your friend their breath is bad, you want to tell your kid to stop screaming...

Maybe you need to confess something or apologize. You got away with something you shouldn’t have. Maybe you need to level with your parents about something. Maybe you’ve loved someone for a long time in secret?

If you have an idea, email us at Tell us where you live, your relative age, and keep your idea brief. If we think it could work, we’ll write you back.

Thank you so much!

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New York Premiere Tonight!

September 10, 2014 - 11:44am

NYC: Come to the New York premiere tonight! Dress rehearsal killed (see photos). Tickets are still left for tonight, tomorrow and Friday! The show's like a great episode of the radio show, live, onstage, with dancers. 30% discount with this code: IRABWY. Student rush tickets too!

Images by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

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