There’s few things in life I will obsessively chatter about, which may surprise some of you who know me well enough to know I’m a bit of a fan girl, but in reality my obsessive column is fairly small. One of those things is This American Life.
Now, I know technically This American Life isn’t strictly a podcast, it’s a radio show that’s also released as a podcast. But not all radio shows are and there’s a large percentage of folks out there that I know ONLY listen to the podcast. Therefore, for our purposes, it’s a podcast.
This American Life is an hourly, slice of life, interview/journalistic program that also features essays, memoirs, field recordings, short fiction, and found footage. The real draw for this program is that it touches on real people who are living real lives all over the United States. The topics are universal (recent topics included infidelity, starting over, the recent economy crisis, and more) and the stories are emotional, compelling, and passionate.
Tying every episode together is the host, Ira Glass, whose radio voice is unmistakable and enjoyable to listen to. I believe I could just listen to Ira read a menu and be enthralled. Ira is a lovable, relatable host and when he interviews folks you have the feeling that he truly is fascinated with their stories.
The charm of the episodes is hard to explain. This American Life has the simple charm of an old-time radio show, but with the modern sensibility that makes listening to the episodes timeless. Do beware, the stories are incredibly impactful. I’ve laughed, cried and chewed on episodes I’ve listened to for weeks later. The show is so inspiring that some of my favorite ideas for stories have come from stories on This American Life.
If you’re looking for a podcast to keep you entertained on your commute, you should subscribe to This American Life. Unfortunately, due to the popularity and bandwith costs they only offer one episode on their feed at a time.
Subscribe via their website – http://thisamericanlife.org/
If you are a fan already of This American Life, please consider making a donation to keep the podcast going! It costs about $130,000 a year to host the podcast!
(Photo: Douglas Barnes/Showtime)