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WFMT Best of Studs Terkel

The Best of Studs Terkel

Fridays at 10:00 pm

For 45 years (1952-1997), WFMT was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel. Operating from a tiny room overstuffed with papers, books, and an antique typewriter, Studs’s career and everything cultural unfolded before our eyes. Over the years, the guests on his daily radio show ranged from ordinary Chicagoans to international figures: political leaders, writers, performers, social activists, and labor organizers. Covering wide-ranging topics, Studs was remarkable in his depth of knowledge, and in his ability to get others to open up and talk. Most of all, he modeled a quality that became his job title at WFMT: Free Spirit.

To explore the new, in-progress Studs Terkel Radio Archive website which will eventually feature 5,000 plus interviews and radio programs, click here.

Program Schedule

January 30, 2015


American writer and educator Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) devoted his life to exploring the myths and religions at the core of human experience. He was Studs Terkel's guest on January 31, 1973.

February 6, 2015


From his earliest WFMT programs, Studs Terkel told stories by weaving together a tapestry of words and music. So it was in February 1958 and this program celebrating Abraham Lincoln.

February 13, 2015


In February 1971 Studs Terkel presented this birthday program honoring abolistionist Frederick Douglass, who rose from slavery to become the leading African-American voice of the nineteenth century.The program includes conversation with Lerone Bennett Jr.

February 20, 2015

A JAZZ SHOWCASE (7/17/1991)

One of Studs Terkel's greatest musical passions was Jazz. Tonight on the BEST OF STUDS TERKEL we go back to July 1991, and this program featuring sounds he loved so well.

February 27, 2015


Friedelind Wagner was an author and the daughter of German opera composer Siegfried Wagner and his English wife, Winifred Williams, and the granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner. This program, from November 1964, was her second conversation with Studs Terkel. And it begins with an Indian raga.

March 6, 2015

TAD HIDAKA (c. 1960)

During the great Chicago snow-in of 1960, Studs Terkel brought his portable tape recorder to the Old Town School of Folk Music where he spoke with the Japanese folk singer, Tad Hidaka.

March 13, 2015

LIL ARMSTRONG (4/28/1981)