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.

Robert Burns (December 1985)

January 24, 2020

This birthday tribute to Robert Burns is pure vintage Terkel. Studs first presented the program in January 1961 to commemorate the 202nd anniversary of the great Scottish poet’s birth.  Much of the text was culled from the biography The Wind that Shakes the Barley by John Barke.

Lynn Harrell (2/1/1982)

January 31, 2020

On February 1, 1982, Studs Terkel welcomed Lynn Harrell to the WFMT studios for an hour of music and conversation. The venerable American cellist was born on January 30, 1944 and we wish him a very happy 76th birthday.

John Gorka (11/29/1994)

February 7, 2020

Rolling Stone magazine called John Gorka “the preeminent male singer-songwriter of what has been dubbed the New Folk Movement.” Studs Terkel welcomed the prolific American singer songwriter and guitarist to WFMT in 1994.