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.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

June 22, 2018

On 06/21/1974, Studs Terkel’s guests were Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. These two investigative journalists broke the scandalous story of the Watergate break-in for the Washington Post. They spoke with Studs about about how they “got their foot in the door” enough to tell the story despite threats of retaliation, and their follow-up book, All The President’s Men.

Jacques Cousteau

June 29, 2018

In 1976, Studs Terkel interviewed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau about man’s effect on the planet.

A Musical Memorial for Robert F. Kennedy (c. June 1968)

July 6, 2018

This WFMT broadcast dates from June 1968, just two months following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  At a time when plain words would not suffice, Studs Terkel offered comfort and solace through music and poetry in this memorial program for Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Bastille Day (07/13/1971)

July 13, 2018

On July 13, 1971, Studs Terkel presented this program of “music, and reflections, and a bit of history” about Bastille Day.

Dick Cavett & Chris Porterfield (9/23/1974)

July 20, 2018

Dick Cavett published his memoir, Cavett, in 1974. Soon thereafter, he and co-author Chris Porterfield were Studs Terkel’s guests on WFMT. They spoke of Cavett’s early years in Nebraska, his time as a comedy gag-writer, his long-running ABC talk show, and the manner in which the book allows readers to know him on a more personal level.

Marian Anderson (2/20/1960)

July 27, 2018

On a cold winter day in 1960, Marian Anderson shared a warm conversation with Studs Terkel. Studs used his portable tape recorder to capture their discussion about her life, career, and how she interprets songs.

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

August 3, 2018

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 ...

Tom Paxton (1/30/1976)

August 10, 2018

Tom Paxton has been praised by many as the perceptive and clever musical voice of his generation. The American folk legend and topical songwriter shared some conversation and tunes with Studs Terkel in this program from January 1976.

Don McLean (c. 1979)

August 17, 2018

Don McLean is the revered American songwriter behind mega-hits like “American Pie,” “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air,” and many more. Studs Terkel brought along his portable tape recorder when he visited the touring troubadour in 1979. Don McLean returns to Chicago on August 19 for a concert at City Winery.

Leonard Bernstein (8/24/1985)

August 24, 2018

In 1985, Studs Terkel and Leonard Bernstein discussed life, American culture, and a diverse range of music. The great American composer and conductor was born 100 years ago, on August 25, 1918, and we wish him and his enduring legacy the happiest of centennials.

Working (9/5/1960)

August 31, 2018

In Studs Terkel’s book Working, he celebrates everyday people in their own words and the way they make their living. Tonight on the Best of Studs Terkel we bring you this rebroadcast of his 1960 tribute to Labor Day.

This Train, Part 1 (c. 1963)

September 7, 2018

Tonight The Best of Studs Terkel presents Part 1 of WFMT’s annual remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studs Terkel was there, joining hundreds of Chicagoans on the train bound for Washington, D.C., and recording their thoughts and experiences on his portable tape recorder. This Train is the radio sound-scape through which ...

This Train, Part 2 (c. 1963)

September 14, 2018

Tonight The Best of Studs Terkel presents Part 2 of WFMT’s annual remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Studs Terkel was there, joining hundreds of Chicagoans on the train bound for Washington, D.C., and recording their thoughts and experiences on his portable tape recorder. This Train is the radio sound-scape through which ...