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.

Arditti Quartet (3/7/1988)

June 28, 2019

Studs Terkel often welcomed musical guests to WFMT’s studios. On a Spring day in 1988, the English contemporary classical ensemble, the Arditti Quartet, spoke with Studs about their career as champions of new music.

Mel Brooks (12/10/1970)

June 28, 2019

Mel Brooks, one of the nimblest of wits, was Studs Terkel’s guest in 1970 shortly after the release of his film, The Twelve Chairs. The iconic American filmmaker, comedian, actor, writer, and composer was born on June 28, 1926.

Fouth of July (7/3/1972)

July 5, 2019

Celebrating America’s birthday through words and music, this is Studs Terkel’s Independence Day broadcast from July 3, 1972.

Alec N’kata (8/11/1959)

July 12, 2019

In this musical hour from 1959, Alec N’kata shares folk songs of central Africa with Studs Terkel.

Darol Anger (11/14/1989)

July 19, 2019

The American fiddler, composer, and co-founder of the Turtle Island Quartet, Darol Anger, was Studs Terkel’s guest for a musical hour in 1989.

Emerson String Quartet (8/31/1989)

July 26, 2019

The Emerson String Quartet has maintained its stature as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades. In 1989, violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violist Lawrence Dutton, and cellist David Finckel dropped by WFMT’s studios to talk with Studs Terkel.

Hiroshima? Overkill and Megalove (8/20/1963)

August 2, 2019

Tonight, an annual WFMT tradition dating back many decades. Its one of the many radio plays Studs Terkel created partnership with announcer and engineer Jim Unrath. They based the program on Norman Corwin’s prose poem, Overkill and Megalove, a response to the bombing of Hiroshima that deals with the madness of war that leads to the obliteration of the human ...