November 21, 2017

Best of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive

Studs Terkel was undoubtedly one of the great radio interviewers of the 20th century. Listen to 100s of interviews conducted by the multifaceted Studs Terkel who hosted “The Studs Terkel Program” on Chicago’s fine arts radio station WFMT from 1952 to 1997. The audio galleries on Studs Terkel Radio Archive website and now on SoundCloud feature many of his radio show interviews covering the arts, literature, poetry, civil rights, philosophy, politics, film, and sports from the past century. There are also interviews with everyday people who experienced the major 20th century events of the Great Depression, World War II, Labor movements, and the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century. And then there are the interviews with some of the leading voices and minds of the 20th century.

At the beginning of 2016 the Studs Terkel Radio Archive launched a Kickstarter and earned over $80,000 along with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Their Kickstarter pledge: “Over two years, we aim to make an additional 1000 of Studs Terkel’s programs freely available for listening, exploring, and remixing.”

UPDATE! As of 2020 the Studs Terkel Radio Archive is live! The majority of the thousands of interviews Studs conducted are now available on audio on the site with great sound quality. You can browse the entire radio archive on their site here:

Browse Hundreds of Recordings on the Studs Terkel Radio Archive

We went through the entire archive and picked out some of the best interviews from the 45 years of the radio archive. Here are some great interviews you can listen to:

Dorothy Parker Discusses Her Plays
Norman Mailer Discusses His Writing
R. Buckminster Fuller in Conversation
Simone de Beauvoir Discusses the Art of Writing
Buster Keaton Discusses Comedy
Aaron Copland Discusses His Career
Tennessee Williams Talks with Studs Terkel
Rita Moreno Discusses West Side Story
Sidney Poitier Discusses The Defiant Ones
Newton Minow Discusses Broadcasting
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Discusses Civil Rights
Woody Allen Discusses His Comedy
Marshall McLuhan Talks with Studs Terkel
Pauline Kael Discusses Her Book Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Hunter S. Thompson Discussing Hell’s Angels
Cesar Chavez Discusses Farm Labor Rights
Gore Vidal Discusses Myra Breckinridge
Mel Brooks Discusses The Producers
Ralph Nader Discusses Unsafe at Any Speed
David Halberstam Discusses Bobby Kennedy
Noam Chomsky Discusses American Power and the New Mandarins
Bertrand Russell Talks with Studs Terkel
Maya Angelou Discusses I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Ralph Ellison Talks with Studs Terkel
Agitator: A Tribute to Saul D. Alinsky
Alan Watts Discusses In My Own Way
Janis Joplin Discusses Her Career
Thich Nhat Hanh Discusses The Vietnam War
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward Discuss All the President’s Men
Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader Discuss Taxi Driver
Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau Talks with Studs Terkel
Allen Ginsberg Discusses Poetry and Meditation
Susan Sontag Discusses Tuberculosis
Pauline Kael Discusses Film in 1980
Gore Vidal Discusses Lincoln
William Friedkin Talks with Studs Terkel
Carl Sagan Discusses Contact
Oliver Sacks Talks with Studs Terkel
Margaret Atwood Discusses The Handmaid’s Tale
Elmore Leonard Discusses Get Shorty
Ray Bradbury Discusses His Books
Roger Ebert Discusses Old Movies

To learn more about the life and times of Studs Terkel check out this great interview from 2004 with Terkel:

Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times: Conversation with Studs Terkel

In this hour long streaming video interview, Conversations with History host Harry Kreisler interviews Studs later in his life. It is a fascinating and funny interview which covers much of Terkel’s life and his philosophy on life in America. He also openly expresses his opinions about the media and the politicians today. Although in his 90s at the time, Terkel lucidly reminisces about his life and the lessons he has learned from it. This video is available to stream through YouTube.