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.

The Rhos Welsh Choir (08/23/88)

March 6, 2020

Tonight on the Best of Studs Terkel we return to 1989 and the warm hour the Rhos Welsh Choir shared their voices and stories with WFMT.

Bill Crofut and Benjamin Luxon (01/14/81)

March 13, 2020

This musical hour from 1981 showcases the songs and reflections of American folk singer, composer, and master banjo player, Bill Crofut, and his long time collaborator, British baritone Benjamin Luxon.  

Celebrating Bach (03/21/80)

March 20, 2020

Andrés Segovia, Dame Myra Hess, Pete Seeger, Bidu Sayão, Pablo Casals, and Jean-Pierre Rampal… These are some of the eclectic musicians whose discs Studs Terkel presented in this joyful, Bachian celebration from 1980.

Dalton Baldwin (03/16/92)

March 27, 2020

Dalton Baldwin reflected on the secrets of collaborating with great singers, including Jessye Norman, in this Studs Terkel program from 1992. The pianist the New York Times praised as “an eminence among accompanists” died in December 2019.

Billy Collins (09/20/94)

April 3, 2020

Billy Collins shares his poetry and stories with Studs Terkel in this literary hour from 1994. One of the poems is “Forgetfulness,” an ode to memory from his fourth collection, Questions about Angels.

Easter (03/24/88)

April 10, 2020

In 1988, Studs Terkel presented this  improvised Easter program. Pulling together “something sacred, something secular to commemorate this season,” Studs gave us a beautiful hour of musical variety.

Ben Heppner (2/20/1997)

April 17, 2020

While in Chicago for the Lyric Opera’s 1997 production of Puccini’s Turandot, the esteemed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner visited with Studs Terkel for this WFMT encore broadcast.