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.

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.

Margaret Atwood (3/13/1986)

November 2, 2018

Shortly after publishing her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tail, Canadian author Margaret Atwood visited WFMT to speak with Studs Terkel.

Bryn Terfel (11/30/1995)

November 9, 2018

The great Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel was born on November 9, 1955. He was a young singer at the beginning of a meteoric rise into operatic stardom when he was Studs Terkel’s guest in 1995.

Armistice Day (11/11/1960)

November 16, 2018

Tonight we hear one of Studs Terkel’s favorite programs, one in which he wove together stories and remembrances of war as described through words and music. He first presented this commemoration in November 1960 and we rebroadcast it in honor of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the end of World War I.

Jean Pierre Rampal (6/30/1989)

November 23, 2018

The French flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal (1922-2000) was credited with popularizing the flute as a solo instrument. He spoke with Studs Terkel about his autobiography, Music, My Love.

Placido Domingo (12/14/1979)

November 30, 2018

Opera icon Placido Domingo has sung 150 different roles, more than any other tenor in the annals of music, with more than 3900 career performances.  In 1979, many knowledgeable critics considered him  to be the finest, most powerful tenor since Caruso.  That was the year WFMT listeners heard his voice – his singing and his reflections – in a musical ...

Hanukkah (12/5/1988)

December 7, 2018

It was in December 1988 that Studs Terkel presented this musical tribute to Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. The hour begins with songs of Martha Schlamme and Theo Bikel, and some klezmer music, too. In the second half, Studs reads Grace Paley’s short story, “Good-bye and Good Luck”.

Celebrating Beethoven (12/16/1968)

December 14, 2018

Beethoven’s birthday has always been something of holiday around here at WFMT, and on December 16, 1968 Studs Terkel celebrated accordingly. Here is that radiophonic tribute, filled with what Studs described as “all of the variety and variations on the theme of Ludwig’s birthday.”

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 ...