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.

In his 45 years on WFMT radio, Studs Terkel talked to the 20th century’s most interesting people. Browse our growing archive of more than 1,200 programs in the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.

Dr. Evan Davies (03/08/1988)

December 2, 2022

In this time capsule from 1988, Dr. Evan Davies of Chicago’s Neon Street Center speaks candidly with Studs Terkel about living with AIDS and his advocacy for others.

Jennie Tourel (11/08/1970)

December 9, 2022

American operatic mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel (1900-1973) discussed her career with Studs Terkel in 1970. Pianist Simon Sargon joined them in conversation in this WFMT archive program.

Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

December 16, 2022

On December 19, 1986, Studs Terkel observed Hannukah, the Jewish festival of lights, with this jubilant musical performance by Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer band.

Christmas Memories

December 23, 2022

Studs Terkel first presented his Christmas Memories program on WFMT in 1961. Since then, this holiday compendium of voices and memories of childhood Christmases has become a perennial favorite.

Gary Karr (c. 1991)

December 30, 2022

Preeminent bass player Gary Karr treated Studs Terkel to stories of his life and career as a seventh-generation virtuoso instrumentalist.