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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 – 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

May 29, 2015

JOSEF KRIPS (c. 11/1964)

In November 1964, conductor Josef Krips spoke with Studs Terkel about his life in music, and about Mozart.

June 5, 2015

GORDON BOK (c. 1980)

June 12, 2015

THE MAGNA CARTA (6/15/1965)

On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” Although written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king, the Magna Carta became an important part of the protracted historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in England and beyond. On June 15, 1965, Studs Terkel told the tale through words and music.

June 19, 2015

LIL ARMSTRONG (2/27/1957)

Lil Hardin-Armstrong reigned among the most prominent woman in early jazz. She played piano, composed, and arranged for most of the important Hot Bands from New Orleans to Chicago to Paris. And, for a good while, she was married to Louis Armstrong.

June 26, 2015

DALE CLEVENGER (10/18/1989)

We honor former long-time Chicago Symphony principal horn Dale Clevenger who celebrates his 75th birthday on July 2nd.