Best of Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel

Enjoy these rebroadcasts of the late great oral historian Studs Terkel’s longstanding interview program on WFMT.

For 45 years (1952-1997), WFMT was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel, who operated 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.

Learn more about the Studs Terkel Radio Archive by visiting its website.

There are no upcoming broadcasts at the moment.

Presenting The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Recorded c. June 1965)

June 30, 2017

Fifty years ago, in June 1967, the Beatles released their seminal album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not long after, Studs wove together a program in his free-associative style. We’ll hear excerpts from the recording, Studs reciting some of the songs’ lyrics, and interviews with young people in Chicago. These may not all be directly related to the Beatles, but as Studs ...

A Summer Salad (Recorded June 22, 1988)

June 23, 2017

On June 22, 1988, Studs Terkel broadcast an hour of words and music he dubbed “a summer salad.” He began by recalling Joe Louis’ triumphant boxing win over Max Schmeling, and went on to include songs performed by Anita O’Day, Mahalia Jackson, Pearl Baily, Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith, as well as Paul Robson’s 1941 recording of “King Joe” by ...

Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis (Recorded in 1966)

June 16, 2017

The great American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne and her husband, conductor Henry Lewis, visited with Studs Terkel in June 1966.

Gwendolyn Brooks (Recorded July 21, 1964) and Janos Starker (Recorded c. 1965)

June 9, 2017

Gwendolyn Brooks: Born on June 7th a century ago and raised in Chicago, Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most highly regarded, influential, and widely-read of American poets. In 1950, she became the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1985, the first black woman named as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress.  She also served ...

Rachel Barton Pine (Recorded March 18, 1997)

June 2, 2017

Rachel Barton Pine began playing the violin at the age of 3 ½ and debuted with the Chicago Symphony at age 10. She continues to perform and record prolifically, as an international orchestral soloist and chamber musician, and in a heavy metal rock band. Rachel has just released her latest album, Bel Canto Paganini 24 Caprices and other Works for Solo Violin.  ...

Michael Babatunde Olatunji (Recorded November 2, 1960)

May 26, 2017

One November morning in 1960, Studs Terkel’s guest was Michael Babatunde Olatunji of Nigeria. Olatunji brought along some of his drums, as well as some recordings. This lively hour from WFMT’s archives features the rhythms, music and lore of West Africa and the continent itself.

Mihalia Jackson at the Hotel Morrison (Recorded September 20,1957)

May 19, 2017

Tonight on Best of Studs Terkel, we bring you an archive favorite and one of the programs that Studs loved best. This broadcast took place in 1957 at the old Hotel Morrison on the near west side of Chicago, where WFMT’s studios were first located. We’re in the ballroom, which is filled to capacity. Studs is in his element, hosting ...

The World According to Studs

May 12, 2017

From Alan Hall of Falling Tree Productions comes this two-part audio mosaic built from many of Studs Terkel’s interviews. Crafted from Alan’s own conversations with Studs and excerpts from many of Studs’s WFMT programs, this beautiful free-form program explores the themes of liberty and creativity.  We bring it to you in  honor of WFMT’s resident Free Spirit; Studs was born on ...

Laurie Anderson (Recorded December 4, 1984)

May 5, 2017

Dateline: 1984. Multi-instrumentalist and Glen Ellyn native, Laurie Anderson, explained to Studs Terkel how her music expresses aspects of the human experience. She said it’s about “people who live with technology, people who have a lot of phones and computers and television sets and how do you stay human with all those machines.”  We bring you that conversation tonight on ...

FOURTH OF JULY (7/3/1972)

July 1, 2016

Studs Terkel offered WFMT’s listeneners this Fourth of July program in 1972.

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