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.

Tony Bennett (05/10/1989)

November 27, 2020

In May 1989, the American popular singer Tony Bennett was Studs Terkel’s guest on WFMT.

Empire Brass (12/31/1979)

December 4, 2020

Back in December 1979, Studs Terkel spoke with the members of Empire Brass. The five virtuoso musicians discussed their craft and shared a number of works from a spectrum of musical genres.

Celebrating Beethoven (12/16/1968)

December 11, 2020

Beethoven’s birthday has always been something of a holiday at WFMT. Tonight the Best of Studs Terkel marks the composer’s semiquincentennial with this radiophonic tribute from December 16, 1968.

Hanukkah (12/05/1988)

December 18, 2020

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, Theo Bikel, and some klezmer music, too. In the second half, Studs reads Grace Paley’s short story, “Good-bye and Good Luck”.

Christmas Memories (12/22/1961)

December 25, 2020

Studs Terkel first presented his Christmas Memories program on WFMT in 1961. Since then, this holiday compendium of voices and memories of childhood Christmases has become a perennial favorite.

Born To Live (07/06/1962)

January 1, 2021

The Best of Studs Terkel on WFMT presents a 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. Studs produced it 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 radio ...

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (c 1980)

January 8, 2021

In 1980, Studs Terkel spent a most interesting and musical hour with Amjad Ali Khan. For more than 50 years now, his guest has been a highly esteemed master of the sarod, the stringed instrument essential to Hindustani and Indian classical music.

It’s Like A Dream To Me: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (01/15/1970)

January 15, 2021

The Best of Studs Terkel presents “It’s Like A Dream to Me,” Studs Terkel’s 1970 birthday tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please be advised that in addition to the hope, optimism, and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, this historical program includes an interview containing strong language of an offensive nature which conveys the harsh reality of the time ...

Simone de Beauvoir (5/4/1960)

January 22, 2021

In 1960, Studs Terkel interviewed writer and artist Simone de Beauvoir at her home in Paris, France. They discussed her family history, artistic influences, and the creative commitment required to be a individualistic, successful writer.

Remembering Paul Robeson (1/28/1976)

January 29, 2021

Studs Terkel created tonight’s historic broadcast 45 years ago, in January 1976. It is a memorial to Paul B. Robeson, the larger-than-life, American singer, actor, athlete, author, and civil rights crusader.