“This American Life” wins Peabody Award, special place in our hearts

Parker Munson reflects on the beloved radio show “This American Life.”



Junior Parker Munson discusses his love for the radio show, “This American Life.” | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Parker Munson, Writer

Junior Parker Munson discusses his love for the radio show, "This American Life." | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES


When was the last time you cried about toast? I did two weeks ago, while making spaghetti and listening to “This American Life” on NPR. Technically, it was not the toast that had me misty eyed. It was the story behind the artisanal toast movement sweeping through San Francisco at the helm of Giulietta Carrelli. Before I listened to the TAL episode, “No Place Like Home,” I had no clue that such a story could be so heartbreaking and empowering. Such is the case with nearly all 521 episodes of TAL.

I shamelessly admit my tears because I know I am not alone. Diehard fans and newcomers alike will admit, it is hard to make it out of an episode without shedding a tear, either out of complete heartbreak or sheer joy. The mastermind behind the mic, Ira Glass, has pulled off what had been long thought impossible: making public radio a thing again. How, you ask? Each week they have a theme and bring you stories based on that theme. It’s as simple as that. It might be extra terrestrials, Congress or summer camp, but you will be hard pressed not to find yourself in someway relating to every episode.

Recently, Ira Glass was asked to host the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards. No, that is not made up. It is the pinnacle awards ceremony for radio and TV — their slogan reads, “Awarding Stories That Matter.” Glass went on CBS “This Morning” on Monday to present some of this year’s winners and was shocked when TAL episode “Harper High” was added to the list of victors. The network had withheld the news from Glass as an April Fools day prank, which was cruel … and a little funny. The award may mean something different for TAL but for us Joe Schmo’s it simply says what we already knew to be true: they rock.

You can listen to TAL on the radio, and if you like what you hear, you can download the TAL app for iPhone and iPad, that gives you access to their entire archive — if you thought your “Breaking Bad” binge was bad, just wait. The most recent stories are also available on their website homepage and on iTunes.

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