Ira Glass’s ‘Your Radio Playhouse’ debuts on WBEZ
Ira Glass in 2007 Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

November 17, 1995

The voice-in-your-head intimacy, the immersive storytelling, the fascination with the overlooked or the obscure — those calling cards of the modern-day podcast can trace their origins to Glass. In 1996, he changed the name of his program to This American Life and never looked back. “One of the founding ideas of the show,” he told Chicago the following year, “was, Nobody who’s famous, nothing you’ve ever heard of, nothing in the news. It was just going to be stories of everyday life.”

From the Archives

March 1995 issue
Photo: Michael Zajakowski

Ira Glass may be a national icon now, but he was a relatively unknown NPR correspondent when he gave his first-ever media interview to Marcia Froelke Coburn for the March 1995 issue. The conversation took place in Glass’s North Side apartment, where he was editing the early episodes of his soon-to-be-legendary show.

“He is a lanky fellow whose clothes always appear to have been thrown on in some haste. With his combed-back black hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and wholesomely sweet smile, he resembles a Jewish Clark Kent.”