"The Studs Terkel Program" which aired on WFMT Radio in Chicago allowed Studs the freedom to host guests of his choice and explore topics that he thought would be interesting to the WFMT listener audience. WFMT, Chicago's fine arts station, also distributed the program to over 14,000,000 listeners through the WFMT Fine Arts Network. For this audience, Terkel hosted a broad variety of performing artists including, operatic singers, folk singers, popular singers, stage and movie actresses and actors, blues and jazz musicians, and television personalities. He also invited guests who were writers; poets; playwrights; filmmakers; historians; political commentators; and activists in community organizing, labor relations, and civil rights to appear with him. Many authors read from their books, and artists performed live on the program. Terkel also played musical recordings, excerpts from previous interviews, and created his own programs such as "Born to Live," "This Train," and a special program for Labor Day.

Featured here is a brief list of programs that illustrate the variety of Terkel's guests and subjects. We hope to make as many of these available as possible on the web. But for now, we have included some shorter clips below. Full copies of the interviews can be obtained from the Chicago Historical Society.

Studs Terkel's list of Favorites

  • 1957 May 10. Interview with folk singer John Jacob Niles. T2937A
  • 1957 Sept. 30. Interview with African American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. T0740, T2277A
  • 1960 February 20. Interview with writer Nelson Algren, Herman Kogan, and Helen Malone. T0712A,B
  • 1960 September 5. Interview with actor Buster Keaton. T0201
  • 1960 September 5. Terkel comments and presents a Labor Day program. T0722
  • 1960 September 9. Terkel comments and reads from Carl Ewald's "My little boy." T0120A,B
  • 1962 June 24. Interview with African American jazz musician Louis Armstrong. T0064
  • 1962 July 6. Presenting "Born to Live," a program of interviews, spoken word, and musical responses to the nuclear age. T0036B,C
  • 1962 July 16. Clemency, redemption, capital punishment and Paul Crump: a panel discussion. T0039A
  • 1962 September 29. Interview with African American writer James Baldwin. T0124
  • 1963 Apr. 19. Interview with actor Marlon Brando. T1105A,B,C
  • 1963 May 1. Interview with singer Bob Dylan. T1071
  • 1963 August 27. Presenting "This Train," interviews with participants on a train ride to Washington D.C. for a civil rights march. T1444A,B,C,D
  • 1963 November 25. Terkel's musical eulogy for the young president John F. Kennedy. T1396
  • 1964 July 21. Interview with African American poet Gwendolyn Brooks. T1520
  • 1964 December 17. Interview with African American comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory. T1570
  • 1964 October 3. Interview with folk singer Pete Seeger. T1535
  • 1964 October 22. Interview with African American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. T1542
  • 1965 December 6. Interview with folk singer Win Stracke. T2071A,B,C
  • ca. 1966 January Interview with songwriter E. Y. (Yip) Harburg. T3001A,B
  • 1968 May 1. Terkel comments and presents the Picasso [scuplture] unveiling in Chicago. T2124
  • 1968 July 2. Interview with comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks. T3104
  • 1970s. Inteview with singer Janis Joplin. T3007
  • 1970 Mar. 19. Interviews with Valerie Taylor, Jim Bradford, and Henry Weimhoff about homosexuality. T2589
  • 1971 August 19. Interview with community organizer Saul Alinksy. T2625
  • 1973 June 4. Interview with filmmaker James Cameron. T3304A,B,C,D
  • 1973 June 8. Interview with civil rights activists Rosa Parks and Myles Horton. T2452
  • 1975 November 26. Interview with prizefighter Muhammad Ali. T2490
  • 1976 October 1. Interview with actor Zero Mostel. T3274.53
  • 1978 September 8. Interview with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. about Robert Kennedy. T2799.34
  • 1981. Interview with playwright Tennessee Williams on his 70th birthday. T3274.29
  • 1983 November 17. Interview with Native American historian Vine De Loria. T3939
  • 1984 April 11. Interview with television personality and master puppeteer Burr Tillstrom. T5363
  • 1992 June 18. Interview with African American writer Ralph Ellison. T4020
  • 1993 August 24. Interview with musical composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. T3631
  • 1993 February 16. Interview with television journalist Bill Moyers. T4822
The Greatest Hits Recordings 5 records returned
    
Reading from "My Little Boy" by Carl Ewald
File Name: terkel-a0a1i8-a.mp3
Date: September 9th, 1960
Summary: Terkel comments and reads from Carl Ewald's "My little boy."
Keywords: Terkel, Studs, Ewald, Carl, My Little Boy
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Terkel, Studs

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This Train: Interviews with participants on their way to a civil rights march
File Name: terkel-a0a1i9-a.mp3
Date: August 27th, 1963
Summary: Presenting "This Train," interviews with participants on a train ride to Washington D.C. for a civil rights march.
Keywords: this train, Washington D.C., civil rights march, train
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s):

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Born to Live: a program of interviews, spoken word and musical responses to the nuclear age
File Name: terkel-a0a1j0-a.mp3
Date: July 6th, 1962
Summary: Presenting "Born to Live," a program of interviews, spoken word and musical responses to the nuclear age.
Keywords: born to live, nuclear age, atomic war
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s):

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Labor Day Program
File Name: terkel-a0a1j1-a.mp3
Date: August 20th, 1996
Summary: Studs Terkel's annual Labor Day program.
Keywords: Labor Day, laboring man, sea
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s):

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Interview with Archibald Carey, Elmer Gertz, Hans Mattick, Abner Mikva, and Donald Page Moore.
File Name: terkel-a0a1j2-a.mp3
Date: July 16th, 1962
Summary: Discussing clemency, redemption, capital punishment, and convict Paul Crump with Archibald Carey, Elmer Gertz, Hans Mattick, Abner Mikva, and Donald Page Moore. The program's guests were lawyers and a social worker (Mattick). Paul Crump was a death row inmate who was later paroled. Another Illinois inmate, Nathan Leopold, was paroled in 1958 after his life sentence had been reduced.
Keywords: Crump, Paul. [He was discussed, but he wasn't present at the interviews.], Carey, Archibald J. (Archibald James), 1908-1981--Interviews., Gertz, Elmer, 1906-2000--Interviews., Mattick, Hans W.--Interviews., Mikva, Abner J.--Interviews., Moore, Donald Page--Interviews., Leopold, Nathan Freudenthal, 1904-1971. [He was discussed, but he wasn't present at the interviews.], Criminals--United States--20th century., Lawyers--United States--20th century--Interviews., Capital punishment--United States--20th century.
Interviewer(s):
Interviewee(s):

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