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.

Kurt Elling (08/11/1997)

April 23, 2021

The magnificent American jazz singer Kurt Elling was Studs Terkel’s guest in 1997. With his rich baritone voice and four-octave range, Elling had just released The Messenger, the album which cemented his reputation as a producer, arranger, poetic lyricist, composer, and captivating vocalist.

Ursula Oppens (01/09/1994)

April 30, 2021

This hour of music and conversation from past Studs Terkel programs features American pianist Ursula Oppens.  First heard on WFMT in 1994, the show includes Ms. Oppens performing compositions by Tobias Pickler, Beethoven, and Ravel.

Tony Bennett (05/10/1989)

May 7, 2021

Since 1945, Tony Bennett has reigned among the most popular of vocal entertainers. Mr. Bennett was Studs Terkel’s guest in May 1989, and they spoke, among other things, of Irving Berlin, the prolific Russian-born, American composer who was born on May 11, 1888.

Merce Cunningham & John Cage (01/14/1971)

May 14, 2021

Merce Cunningham remains one of the most visionary and influential choreographers the world has known. In 1974, he and his life partner and creative collaborator, the avant-garde composer John Cage, spent an hour with Studs Terkel.