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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

November 28, 2014

THANKSGIVING (11/21/1973)

Some reminicenses, writings and songs comprise Studs Terkel's 1973 tribute to Thanksgiving.

December 5, 2014


Studs Terkel's career as the Free Spirit of WFMT began in 1952 when WFMT was just a year old. He stayed for half a century. And so who better to honor the station's 45th anniversary than Studs? This journey back in history was first heard in 1996.

December 12, 2014


Every year WFMT honors Ludwig van Beethoven on his birthday. With the 16th of December just a few days away, we bring you Studs Terkel's annual tribute. As he put it, "all of the variety and variations on the theme of Ludwig's birthday."

December 19, 2014

HANUKKAH (12/5/1988)

It was in December 1988 that Studs Terkel presented this musical tribute to Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. The hour begins with songs of Martha Schlamme and Theo Bikel, and some klezmer music, too. In the second half, Studs reads Grace Paley's short story, "Good-bye and Good Luck".

December 26, 2014


Tonight on the Best of Studs Terkel, something of an annual tradition, and the rebroadcast of Studs Terkel's compendium of voices, story and music on the theme of the Christmas season.