‘This American Life’ Loses Its Distributor

Radio producer Ira Glass poses with his award at the 72nd Annual George Foster Peabody Awards, May 2013.

After 17 years, Ira Glass’s incredibly popular radio show, This American Life, will no longer be distributed by Public Radio International.

“During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations’ expectations regarding our futures were different,” said PRI’s head of sales, marketing, and distribution.

PRI currently distributes the program to 587 stations that reach 2.2 million listeners. Additionally, separate from PRI, the program’s home stations, WBEZ Chicago, racked up $ 170,000 in fees in order to host the program on its website and make it available for streaming and download. The podcast version of the program consistently hovers near the top of iTunes’s charts.

PRI will stop distributing the show on July 1, leaving a window for other public radio companies to pick up the show. It is not clear who that will be yet.

Regardless, the show made sure to clarify that it was not going off the air, so don’t worry about Glass’s nasally voice disappearing anytime soon. Although, if you’ve fallen behind and want to catch up, I highly recommend last December’s “129 Cars.”


The Wire