A Good Thing You Can Listen to on Streaming: This American Life
What is It?: A radio program that first launched in 1995, This American Life was really podcasting before podcasting was a thing.
Produced and narrated by nerd-favorite Ira Glass, This American Life, is a weekly exploration of a single theme surrounding day-to-day life, often exploring the typically ignored aspects of the world around us. Glass in particular seems to be a huge fan of digging into the kinds of stories that push back against the narratives we have constructed about our modern world.
Why You Should Listen?: As mentioned above, This American Life is really the ur-podcast, the show that set the template for so much of what came after, including launching podcasting’s first real blockbuster hit, Serial. As well as being the training ground for much of the talent that makes up the Gimlet Media team.
In the show’s 20-plus year history, it has told a huge range of stories, that have included the whimsical, the sad and often the insightful. In addition, the show has done some of the best investigative journalism in current American media landscape. And, one time, it was taken in by a fairly elaborate hoax.
But the best reason to listen to This American Life is how much of an education it is in the world we live in. It is at its best a series of stories that utterly rejects simple or common narratives, while practically demanding that the listener engage with the complexities of the world.
Where Can You Listen?: This American Life is Streaming on Stitcher and Apple Podcast.