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.

Leonard Bernstein (8/24/1985)

August 24, 2018

In 1985, Studs Terkel and Leonard Bernstein discussed life, American culture, and a diverse range of music. The great American composer and conductor was born 100 years ago, on August 25, 1918, and we wish him and his enduring legacy the happiest of centennials.

Working (9/5/1960)

August 31, 2018

In Studs Terkel’s book Working, he celebrates everyday people in their own words and the way they make their living. Tonight on the Best of Studs Terkel we bring you this rebroadcast of his 1960 tribute to Labor Day.

This Train, Part 1 (c. 1963)

September 7, 2018

Tonight The Best of Studs Terkel presents Part 1 of WFMT’s annual remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studs Terkel was there, joining hundreds of Chicagoans on the train bound for Washington, D.C., and recording their thoughts and experiences on his portable tape recorder. This Train is the radio sound-scape through which ...

This Train, Part 2 (c. 1963)

September 14, 2018

Tonight The Best of Studs Terkel presents Part 2 of WFMT’s annual remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studs Terkel was there, joining hundreds of Chicagoans on the train bound for Washington, D.C., and recording their thoughts and experiences on his portable tape recorder. This Train is the radio sound-scape through which ...

The Brothers Gershwin

September 21, 2018

Studs Terkel examines the life and work of composer Geroge Gershwin and his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.

Anna Deavere Smith

September 28, 2018

Author and multifaceted actress Anna Deavere Smith creates one-woman stage shows featuring her evocative portrayals of real people confronted with difficult life issues. She frequently credits Studs Terkel’s book “Working” for revealing to her to her the dramatic power of spoken Language, and for inspiring her plays such as “Fires in the Mirror” and “Let Me Down Easy”.

Maya Angelou

October 5, 2018

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

Oliver Knussen

October 12, 2018

Composer Oliver Knussen passed away earlier this year at the age of 66. He spoke with Studs Terkel in 1988, around the time Chicago Opera theater presented Where the Wild Things Are, Knussen’s opera based on the children’s book by Maurice Sendack.

Corky Siegel

October 19, 2018

Harmonica virtuoso and composer, Corky Siegel, was born in Chicago in 1943. In honor of his platinum jubilee on October 24, and the half-century he’s devoted to the harmonic convergence of blues and classical, we bring you a musical hour he shared with Studs Terkel in 1976.

George Nakashima

October 26, 2018

A Japanese American born in Spokane, Washington, George Nakashima created some of the most beautiful and ironically organic furniture of the twentieth century. The master craftsman and M.I.T-trained architect spoke with Studs Terkel in 1977.