FAQ

How do I get the This American Life podcast?

There are many ways to listen to our episodes—on podcast apps, here on our website, or on the radio. Visit the How to Listen page for details on each. 

How long are podcasts and free downloads available?

Each episode is posted on Sunday evening, following the national broadcast, and is free for four weeks on podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Radio Public, Stitcher, etc. Our entire archive — all 600+ episodes — is available to stream or download on our app. You can also stream all episodes on our website or download archived shows from iTunes or Amazon for only $0.99 an episode.

I can stream all of your shows here on the site; why would I want a This American Life app?

With our apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android, you can download an unlimited amount of episodes for offline listening, track which episodes you’ve heard, bookmark episodes for later listening, and enjoy other cool features.

I'm having trouble with the app. Help!
Why aren’t your shows on Google Play?

Google re-hosts audio files rather than pulling from a producer’s RSS feed. This makes it difficult to have accurate, centralized listening metrics.

Does money from the app go to This American Life?

Yes. Most of the money makes its way back to the show.

How can I get a transcript of a broadcast?

Transcripts become available the week after broadcast, normally on Monday. Links to transcripts are located on each episode page.

What's that great music you're playing under the stories?

We list the songs between stories on the individual episode pages in the Archive. Also, check out our Music section to read and hear more from some of the musicians we’ve featured the most.

I heard this great story, but I can’t find it on your site. Can you help me?

We receive tons of email, and we're thrilled because we know it means that lots of people are listening to the show. The trouble is, this also means we can’t respond to everyone's email personally. So, we ask that you take some time to research your question by searching the Archive. Use that search engine! You can filter by year, tag, and contributor. You can also search by keyword.

Who is Torey Malatia anyway?

Torey ran our home radio station, WBEZ Chicago back in the mid-1990s. He invited Ira Glass to come start a national show at WBEZ, and was Ira’s partner in getting the show off the ground. They worked closely for years to raise money and convince public radio stations to pick it up. The show simply never would’ve existed without Torey.

How do I submit work or send a story or show idea to This American Life?

Visit our Submissions page.

How can I make radio stories of my own?

We wrote this guide to making radio.

What kind of equipment do you use to record and edit your stories at This American Life?

We use the Marantz PMD 661 and Zoom H6 digital audio recorders, set to record 16 bit WAV files. In the field we prefer the Audio Technica 835B shotgun microphone, and a few different kinds of Lectrosonics wireless microphones. In the studio we use the Shure KSM32 mic. We edit on Macs using Pro Tools. See our Make Radio page for a lot more info on making your own stories.

How do I apply for a fellowship?

Here’s information on fellowships.

Do stories from the radio show ever get turned into movies?

Yes.  Most recently Russell Cobb's 2005 story about Carlton Pearson, “Heretics,” has been adapted into a movie, Come Sunday, which we produced with Endgame Entertainment for Netflix. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Carlton, along with Martin Sheen, Condola Rashad, Jason Segel, and Lakeith Stanfield. Joshua Marston directed, Marcus Hinchey wrote the screenplay. It premieres at Sundance in 2018.  

Chris Higgins's story about cataplexy, “I've Fallen in Love and I Can't Get Up,” has been turned into a comedy, Ode to Joy, directed by Jason Winer and starring Martin Freeman and Morena Baccarin.

Susan Burton's melancholic essay about being trapped in an airport with her sister at Christmas was turned into a 2006 kids comedy Unaccompanied Minors. In 2012, Mike Birbliglia and Ira Glass co-wrote Sleepwalk With Me, based on a story that Mike told on the radio. Mike directed  and starred in it. It won an audience award at Sundance and was released theatrically by IFC Films.

Usually we have anywhere from five to ten stories in development for film or TV.

I want to turn one of your stories into a film or TV show. Who do I talk to?

Contact Elise Bergerson.

You had a TV show?

In 2007 and 2008, we did a television version of This American Life for Showtime. You can watch the show on Amazon PrimeHulu, and Showtime, and you can download Season One and Season Two on iTunes. DVDs of both seasons are on sale online and in our store

Can I get tickets to one of your weekly shows?

Our regular weekly broadcasts are closed to the public, but host Ira Glass performs numerous solo shows throughout the year, recreating the sound of the show on stage. We also occasionally perform an episode on stage. The most recent was “The Radio Drama Episode.” You can watch all three of our live shows on our Video page or buy them on our store. Right now we have no live shows planned, but you can stay updated by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Why didn’t I receive items I ordered from your store?

It can take up to three weeks for items to arrive. Also, orders are sometimes split if they include posters, mugs, or other fragile items. If something seems really late, email us at [email protected]. (Please include your order number if you have it.)