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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.

The Library of Congress’s Recorded Sound Division is currently digitizing more than 5,000 of Studs Terkel’s 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

April 3, 2015

GOOD FRIDAY (4/8/1966)

It was in April 1966 that Studs Terkel offered WFMT listeners this evocation of Good Friday through music.

April 10, 2015


In June 1993, when Kathy Cowen, Tom Orf, and David Sobol were Studs Terkel's guests on WFMT, they performed a musical program of songs set to poems by William Butler Yeats.

April 17, 2015


As poet, playwright, publisher, and activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti helped to spark the San Francisco literary renaissance of the 1950s and the subsequent “Beat” movement. In October 1959 he was Studs Terkel's guest on WFMT.

April 24, 2015

MAYA ANGELOU (3/13/1970)

Dr. Maya Angelou -- the celebrated American poet, novelist, educator, dramatist, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist -- spoke with Studs Terkel in March 1970. The topic was the story of her life as portrayed in her recently-published memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

May 1, 2015

MAY DAY (5/1/1973)

Tonight on THE BEST OF STUDS TERKEL we bring you a program of songs and voices commemorating May Day. Studs offered this sound portrait in 1973 and it has been heard on WFMT many times.

May 8, 2015

MOTHERS DAY (5/8/1981)

Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day, and so tonight THE BEST OF STUDS TERKEL rebroadcasts this Terkelian tribute from 1981.