This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. Another 2.5 million people download the weekly podcast. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.


  • 682: Ten Sessions

    Nov 22 2020

    What if someone told you about a type of therapy that could help you work through unhealed trauma in just ten sessions? Some people knock through it in two weeks. Jaime Lowe tried the therapy—and recorded it.

  • Americans In Paris

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2000. Many Americans have dreamy and romantic ideas about Paris, notions which probably trace back to the 1920s vision of Paris created by the expatriate Americans there. But what's it actually like in Paris if you're an American, without rose-colored glasses?

  • 24 Hours at the Golden Apple

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2000. We document one day in a Chicago diner called the Golden Apple, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 5 a.m. the next morning. We hear from the waitress who has worked the graveyard shift for over two decades, the regular customers who come every day, the couples working out their problems, assorted drunks, and, of course, cops.

  • Act V

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2002. We devote this entire episode to one story: Over the course of six months, reporter and This American Life contributor Jack Hitt followed a group of inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act—Act V—of Hamlet.

  • Break-Up

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2007. 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.

  • Switched at Birth

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2008. On a summer day in 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The infants were accidentally switched, and went home with the wrong families. One of the mothers realized the mistake but chose to keep quiet. Until the day, more than 40 years later, when she decided to tell both daughters what happened. How the truth changed two families' lives—and how it didn't.

  • 129 Cars

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2013. We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don't make it, it'll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops.

  • Three Miles

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2015. There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.

  • Rom-Com

    Nov 20 2020

    For our 25th Anniversary, a favorite episode from 2018. 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.

  • 724: Personal Recount

    Nov 15 2020

    Stories of people changing their minds.

  • 723: Squeaker

    Nov 08 2020

    Stories of people grappling with this endless presidential election.

  • 722: The Unreality of Now

    Nov 01 2020

    Ahead of the election, we have stories about people trying to live in the unreality that defines this moment. Election officials combat a contagion among their very own workers; people who've never owned guns suddenly go buy them; and two women who allege they were sexually assaulted by the president compare notes.

  • 721: The Walls Close In

    Oct 25 2020

    Stories of people who find themselves stuck in small spaces—an elevator, an attic, an orchestra pit—trying to make sense of their new surroundings. 

  • 720: The Moment After This Moment

    Oct 18 2020

    Stories about people who are worried — or not worried enough! — about what's hurtling unstoppably towards them.

  • 719: Trust Me I’m a Doctor

    Oct 04 2020

    A doctor who breaks the law might go to jail like anybody else. But who decides if that doctor gets to keep their medical license? On today’s show, the not-often-talked-about realm of licensing boards, and the disturbing decisions they sometimes make. 

  • 718: Same Bed, Different Dreams

    Sep 27 2020

    In this moment when our country is so deeply divided, we have stories of people who are tied together, but imagine radically different futures. In one case, a movie star and her ex-husband plot against Kim Jong-Il. In another, a woman stalks her doppelgänger. And sometimes, one bed is the basis for an entire relationship, even for a man who almost never sees the person who shares his bed.

  • 717: Audience of One

    Sep 13 2020

    At a time when going to the movies is mostly out of the question, we bring the movies to you.

  • 716: Trail of Tears

    Sep 06 2020

    For the holiday weekend, a roadtrip through history. In this moment when Americans are tearing down monuments and rethinking how to address the shameful parts of America’s past, we return to a story from the early days of our radio show that took that on, in a vivid and complicated way. Sarah Vowell and her twin sister Amy headed out on the road to retrace the Trail of Tears – the route their Cherokee ancestors took when expelled from their own land – and reflected on the question, what are we s...more