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WFMT Best of Studs Terkel

The Best of Studs Terkel

Fridays at 11:05 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 Ė and everything cultural Ė 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.

The Library of Congressís Recorded Sound Division is currently digitizing more than 5,000 of Studs Terkelís original WFMT radio shows and interviews. This effort has enriched our weekly rebroadcasts of those historical programs, and has been instrumental in the creation of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive website,

Program Schedule

Friday, February 19, 2016

TERVALAN PORCHE (12/10/1980)

In December 1980, Studs Terkel discussed Creole music and culture with musican Tervalan Porche.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Blues musicians Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim and Big Mama Thornton were Studs Terkel's guests in 1970, and tonight on THE BEST OF STUDS TERKEL we bring you that hour of exhuberant music and conversation.

Friday, March 4, 2016

BONNIE KOLOC (2/7/1996)

When American singer-songwriter and visual artist Bonnie Koloc visited with Studs Terkel in February 1996, she shared some of her music with Studs, and talked with him about her creative process.

Friday, March 11, 2016

MUSICAL MEMORIES OF THE 1930's (1/18/1980)

Studs Terkel often utilized his extensive record collection in his radio shows, and in January 1980, he wove together a program he called "Musical Memories of the 1930's."

Friday, March 18, 2016

GLORIA STEINEM (6/17/1982)

Writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer,Gloria Steinem, spoke with Studs Terkel in June 1982. The occasion was the tenth anniversary of Ms. Magazine, which she founded. We bring you that program this evening in honor of Ms. Steinemís 80th birthday, on March 25.

Friday, March 25, 2016

EASTER (3/24/1988)

With a mix of materials, both sacred and secular, Studs Terkel presented this Easter program on March, 24, 1988.

Friday, April 1, 2016


In 1984, the self-proclaimed, world-reknowned musicalologist, Professor Peter Schickele, spoke with Studs Terkel about previously unknown works by PDQ Bach, the last, and the most odd, son of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Friday, April 8, 2016

COME IN AT THE DOOR (2/20/1960)

Come In At The Door is a radio program that James Unrath and Studs Terkel put together back in 1958. It's a dramatized compendium of Nelson Algren's writings, and a loving portrait of urban life in a mid-century American city: Chicago. It's enacted by Herman Kogan, Studs Terkel, Helen Malone, Jamie Gilson and others.

Friday, April 15, 2016


The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachessets on April 19, 1775. In the 1970's, Studs Terkel wove the tale in his customary, impressionisitic fashion. Words and music on the American Revolution... tonight on the BEST OF STUDS TERKEL.

Friday, April 22, 2016

PASSOVER (4/11/1960)

Studs Terkel begins this program about Passover with Heinrich Heine's description of the Jewish holiday: "It thrills the heart as though one heard the lilt of some sweet lullaby."

Friday, April 29, 2016


Russian-born composer and pianist Alexander Tcherepnin visited with Studs Terkel in April 1965. A musical citizen of the world who was born to a cultured family, he is the son of composer Nikolai Tcherepnin.

Friday, May 6, 2016

MOTHER'S DAY (5/8/1981)

Thirty-five years ago this Mother's Day, Studs Terkel presented this WFMT favorite: his music-based tribute to mothers, and fathers, too.