Best of Studs Terkel

Fridays at 11:00 pm
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.

Christmas Memories (12/22/1961)

December 21, 2018

Tonight’s “Christmas Memories” broadcast with Studs Terkel was first offered on WFMT in 1961, so this is our annual broadcast of that perennial favorite. Here then, voices and memories of childhood Christmases.

New Year’s Eve, 1988 (12/29/1988)

December 28, 2018

In the waning days of 1988, Studs Terkel was in a nostalgic mood as he assembled his final show of the year.  It’s a free-association hour infused with music and memories of his youth.

Born To Live (7/6/1962)

January 4, 2019

The Best of Studs Terkel presents a WFMT favorite and long-time New Year’s broadcast tradition. It’s “Born to Live,” a program of interviews, spoken word, and musical responses to the nuclear age that Studs produced in 1961 with colleague Jim Unrath. “Born to Live” won the Prix Italia, an award Studs described as “the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for ...

Brother John Sellers (7/2/1982)

January 11, 2019

Brother John Sellers (1924-1999) was friend of Big Bill Broonzy, godson of Mahalia Jackson, and an inspired singer of gospel, folk, and work songs. This conversation with Studs Terkel dates from 1982 and includes many recordings and remembrances.  

It’s Like A Dream To Me: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (c. 1970)

January 18, 2019

The Best of Studs Terkel presents “It’s Like A Dream to Me,” Studs Terkel’s 1970 birthday tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please be advised that in addition to the hope, optimism, and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, this historical program includes an interview containing strong language of an offensive nature which conveys the harsh reality of the time ...

Celebrating Mozart (1/25/1974)

January 25, 2019

Warm up your January with Studs Terkel’s annual birthday tribute to Mozart, the prolific and influential composer who was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756. Studs first offered this program of music and stories in January 1974.

Sweet Honey in the Rock (8/21/1986)

February 1, 2019

Vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock has been named the collective artist in residence at the University of Chicago. In 1986, Bernice Johnson Reagon and her colleagues shared stories and songs in a musical hour with Studs Terkel.

Abraham Lincoln in Words and Music (2/10/1958)

February 8, 2019

Abraham Lincoln – the 16th president of the United States, who held the country together during a bloody Civil War and engineered the end of slavery – was born in a log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. Studs Terkel created this tribute in 1958.

Paul Badura-Skoda (3/6/1989)

February 15, 2019

When the Austrian concert pianist Paul Badura-Skoda visited WFMT in 1989, he and Studs Terkel discussed technology, Mozart, Mr. Badura Skoda’s extraordinary career.

Celebrating George Washington (2/1/1959)

February 22, 2019

On February 22, 1732 George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. At that time his home was part of British America. In this musical tribute from 1959, Studs Terkel tells the tale of the first president and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.