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.

Bradley Parker-Sparrow (2/12/1980)

August 23, 2019

Bradley Parker-Sparrow discusses musical influences and composing jazz music in this Studs Terkel program from 1980.

This Train, Part 1 (c 1963)

August 30, 2019

This is part one of This Train, WFMT’s annual remembrance of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. Studs joined hundreds of Chicagoans on a train bound for Washington, D.C. He recorded their thoughts and experiences on his portable tape recorder, and wove those historic voices into this award-winning documentary.

This Train, Part 2 (c. 1963)

September 6, 2019

This episode of the Best of Studs Terkel is devoted to the second and final part of the award-winning documentary called “This Train. “ Studs wove this sound-scape commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington from voices he recorded on a train bound for Washington, and at the event itself.

Frank Zappa (08/01/1970)

September 13, 2019

Tonight on the Best of Studs Terkel, its back to 1970 and the time that Frank Zappa came in to discuss the Mothers of Invention, and other musical explorations.

Kronos Quartet (9/22/1986)

September 20, 2019

Since 1973, the Kronos Quartet has reimagined the string quartet repertoire by prolifically commissioning, recording, and performing over 1,000 works by a broad spectrum of musical masters. The ensemble’s original members – violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud – were Studs Terkel’s guests in September 1986.

Steve Goodman and John Prine (7/29/1975)

September 27, 2019

In 1975, singer-songwriters Steve Goodman and John Prine, two great friends and musical voices, told tales and sang songs during their visit with Studs Terkel.

Armenian Musicians Ashot Durian and Armen Mandakounian (3/18/1983)

October 4, 2019

Studs Terkel’s musical tastes knew no boundaries, especially when he welcomed musicians from the far corners of the world. On a Spring morning in 1983, the musicians included Ashot Durian and Armen Mandakounian, two Armenians based in Chicago.