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.
Stories of when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so awry that normal social order collapses.
The coronavirus has now fully arrived in the United States. This week, stories of people trying to rise to that challenge, in some pretty extreme situations.
This week, as the staff creates the episode from their apartments and houses, with our host in quarantine, in this moment when everyone’s reaching out to the people they love, we put together a collection of family stories, with some timely stuff at the top.
Things do not seem fine at all, but it’s hard to say why.
People squirming in a world where everything is rated and reviewed.
People looking everywhere to find a place—any place—where, for once, they don't have to be the odd man out.
We return to our story about Abdi Nor from 2015, with some big news about his life today. When we first broadcast the story, Abdi was a Somali refugee living in Kenya desperately trying – against long odds – to get to the United States. Then he got the luckiest break of his life: he won a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. But before he could cash in his golden ticket, the police started raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.
In these dark, combative times, we attempt the most radical counterprogramming we could imagine: a show made up entirely of stories about delight.
Stories of other universes that are just like our own, but with one small difference.
For the holidays, stories of families finally addressing the thorny thing they’ve never really talked about.