Best of Studs Terkel

Fridays at 11:00 pm
Studs Terkel

Archival gems from historian Studs Terkel’s longstanding WFMT interview program

For 45 years (1952-1997), WFMT was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel. 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. Studs was remarkable in his depth of knowledge and in his ability to get others to share in spirited and insightful discussion.

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

Rachel Barton Pine, violin & Wendy Warner, cello (03/18/1997)

April 19, 2024, 11:00 pm

Chicagoan Rachel Barton Pine performs and records prolifically, as an international orchestral soloist and chamber musician.

Yeats in Words and Music (06/03/1993)

April 26, 2024, 11:00 pm

As National Poetry Month draws to a close, we bring you a special Studs Terkel hour from June 1993. That day, Studs welcomed some wonderful Chicago musicians to WFMT. Kathy Cowan, Tom Orf, Joseph Sobol, and John Floeter performed songs set to poems by William Butler Yeats.  We conclude the hour with a musical interpretation of another poetical sort. It’s ...

Pete Seeger (11/12/1955)

May 3, 2024, 11:00 pm

Tonight’s joyful rebroadcast of WFMT’s Studs Terkel Program reaches back almost 70 years, to 1955. On this occasion, Studs’ guest was his old friend, the American folk legend and banjo virtuoso Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014). The hour ends with their mutual appreciation of one another, and of WFMT, too, as Studs thanks the station’s founders, Bernie and Rita Jacobs, ...

Martha Graham (05/10/1963)

May 10, 2024, 11:00 pm

Martha Graham (1894-1991), the trailblazing American choreographer, was Studs Terkel’s guest on WFMT on May 10, 1963. Founded in 1926, the Martha Graham Dance Company, remains a world leader in the evolving art form of modern dance.

Peter Schickele (02/27/1984)

May 17, 2024, 11:00 pm

In 1984, Professor Peter Schickele (1935 – 2024) spoke with Studs Terkel on WFMT. The prolific American composer, parodist, and self-proclaimed “world-renowned musicalologist” told tales of his most notorious discovery – PDQ Bach, the hitherto unknown, and most unusual, son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Peter Schickele died in January 2024, and we fondly remember him with tonight’s rebroadcast on the ...

Memorial Day (05/30/1960)

May 24, 2024, 11:00 pm

From time to time, Studs Terkel dedicated his daily WFMT radio program to exploring a theme or topic through music and poetry. And so it was, on May 30, 1960, that Studs presented WFMT listeners with this show about Memorial Day.

Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis (1966)

May 31, 2024, 11:00 pm

The great American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne (1934 – ) and her husband, conductor Henry Lewis (1932 – 1996), were Studs Terkel’s guests on WFMT a number of times. Tonight’s archive broadcast dates from 1966.

Holly Near (08/20/1990)

June 7, 2024, 11:00 pm

For 50 creative years, singer and songwriter Holly Near has celebrated the human spirit through music and activism. In August 1990, she was Studs Terkel’s guest on WFMT. Holly Near was born in Ukiah, California on June 6, 1949, and we wish her a very happy 75th birthday.

Moms Mabley (06/13/1961)

June 14, 2024, 11:00 pm

Comedy pioneer Moms Mabley (1894 – 1975) was Studs Terkel’s guest in 1961. Loretta Mary Aiken was born in 1894 and became a trailblazing performer known for her warm yet edgy stand-up routines and popular albums.

Jean Pierre Rampal (06/30/1989)

June 21, 2024, 11:00 pm

Among his many accomplishments, the French flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal (1922-2000) popularized the flute as a solo instrument. It was in 1989 that he spoke with Studs Terkel about his autobiography, Music, My Love.

Composer William Russo (02/13/1997)

June 28, 2024, 11:00 pm

Chicagoan William Russo (1928 – 2003) was a Jazz composer, arranger, educator, and band leader whose remarkable international career spanned the second half of the 20th century. He wrote for Stan Kenton and the New York Philharmonic. His collaborators ranged from Duke Ellington to Yehudi Menuhin. And he originated the music department at Columbia College, establishing the long-running Chicago Jazz ...