This American Life Isn’t Just Great Radio—It’s Also a Thriving Business

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
July 3 2013 8:35 AM

The Real Future of Journalism? Radio.

Ira Glass on why This American Life is thriving as a business.

Ira Glass used to worry This American Life would never be as strong as it was in its first few years on the air. But almost 18 years later, the founder and host of the weekly radio documentary program insists the show has never been better. And he says that contrary to what people may think about radio journalism, TAL is thriving as a business, thanks in no small part to an expanding digital and podcast audience.

Glass recently sat for an interview with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg and discussed, among other things, why he and his team abandoned a foray into television and how that has helped them focus on what they do best.

You can watch Part 1 of our Glass interview, which focuses on the art of the interview.  In the second segment, Glass reflects on a major milestone: the upcoming 500th episode of TAL. And in the third part, he talks about what he believes is the essence of his show and how his parents helped bring that out.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.