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Published on September 12th, 2011 | by Peter


The Podcast Sessions #4: This American Life

this american life podcast

  • Podcast name: This American Life
  • In Short: weekly podcast of the award-winning radio show “This American Life.” First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. Updated Mondays.
  • Host: Ira Glass

Their Description: 

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.

Culch.ie Says:

The one thing that makes podcasting really great [?] is on one hand the ability to tell stories and record that. When you know it really, really works and when you know you are good at doing that [?] is when you watch someone listen to yours and they start finishing your sentences, they anticipate the punchline and equally they have physically anticipated the laugh that is just on the horizon. More than that, one empathises with the audio, the feeling and the emotion – the picture has in short been painted in ones imagination and it is a wonderful feeling as the receiver and the giver when that happens.

This American Life –  does all of that and more. There is a sort of Freakonomics style [if one has to to choose] of editing to it but more it is Ira Glass, your host and his ability to raise a question and then allow the voice of the interviewee to tell the story. Even greater than that it is so very clear that the team behind the scenes have a goal that matches their self penned description, in that it is so very easy to see why they have over 650,000 downloads per week.

I cannot rate it highly enough. One of my favourites – #323 The Super – Story telling at its absolute finest.

Find it on:

Note of thanks: Thanks to Naomi for email that introduced me to this podcast.

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About the Author

Horticulturist. Yapper. Gardener. Human. Landscaper. Loves coffee. Dublin. Makes gardens. Radio Podcasts The @Sodshow. Lives in a tree in Dublin @DoneganGardens or www.doneganlandscaping.com

2 Responses to The Podcast Sessions #4: This American Life

  1. Naomi says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been listening for a year and a half and just cannot miss an episode. Even less interesting topics become entertaining in their professional hands… like the whole concept of toxic assets episode #418. They even wrote a song about it if I remember correctly.

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