This American Life

Personal Journals

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.

713: Made to Be Broken

9 August 2020

From the moment we wake up in the morning there are a trillion rules — big and little — governing our lives. But sometimes, we encounter one we just can't abide by. In a pitched moment of rule-questioning, a show about rules and the people who break them. 

712: Nice White Parents

2 August 2020

Years ago, producer Chana Joffe-Walt started reporting on one school in New York. She thought the story was about segregation and inequality in public schools. But the more she looked into it, the more she realized she was witnessing something else. She was seeing the inordinate power of white parents at this school. This is the first episode of Chana’s new mini-series: Nice White Parents. 

443: Amusement Park

26 July 2020

This week, we celebrate pre-coronavirus summertime fun: at amusement parks! Ira Glass takes us behind the scenes at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, where the young staff – coached by a funny, fun-loving boss just a little older than they are – truly seem to love their jobs.  

711: How to Be Alone

19 July 2020

In space, in the ocean, by ourselves, or with others—we’re all just figuring out how to be apart.

710: Umbrellas Down

12 July 2020

As China's new national security law tightens its control over Hong Kong, we return to our episode about last fall's anti-government protests and check in to see how people are responding.

513: 129 Cars

5 July 2020

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.

709: The Reprieve

28 June 2020

The number of Covid-19 patients is dropping and Michigan has started opening up. But it’s still been intensely difficult for the staff in the ICU at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. We've embedded with them over the past few months, and tracked how this pandemic has changed them and their city.

684: Burn It Down

21 June 2020

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, people everywhere are demanding that police departments change not just their rules, but the culture inside that leads to these deaths. But those things are notoriously hard to change. As a case study, here's the story of a fire department that gets a new boss who starts a war with his own firefighters, to change their macho, racist culture. They fight back hard.

708: Here, Again

14 June 2020

An exhaustingly familiar story. Maybe it’ll have a different ending this time, but maybe not. We hear what different people said and did one weekend in reaction to the killing of George Floyd.