Popular US public radio show to air weekly on Canada's public broadcaster, Sundays at 11PM, starting January 9th, 2011

CHICAGO, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - Beginning Sunday, January 9th the popular and widely acclaimed US public radio program This American Life will begin airing on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) national Radio One network.

The program, produced by Chicago Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International, has aired for 15 years in the United States, and has won every major American broadcast award, including Peabody, duPont-Columbia and Overseas Press Club awards.  1.8 million listeners tune in every week, on more than 500 stations across the US. This American Life is also one of the most popular podcasts in the world, with more than 500,000 weekly downloads - including 25,000 in Canada.  The American Journalism Review declared the show "at the vanguard of a journalistic revolution."

The predominantly nonfiction stories on This American Life are told in a unique, character-driven storytelling style, often described by the producers as being "like little movies for radio." Typical episodes present various stories on a theme - recent themes include "Neighborhood Watch," "Crybabies" and "Million Dollar Idea" - with segments ranging from highly-produced documentaries to straight interviews to memoir-style personal storytelling.  The stories often feature topics deemed non-newsworthy by other outlets, though in recent years the program has increasingly taken to producing long-form stories about heavily covered and all-too-often drably reported subjects such as health care, elections and the global financial crisis. An example is the landmark 2008 episode "The Giant Pool of Money," one of the earliest, most accessible, and most widely heralded reports on the collapse of the world economy.  Through this and other investigative reports the show is filing a void left by mainstream media, while continuing to tell small-scale personal stories. 

CBC Radio One will air the program Sunday nights at 11PM (12AM AT) across the network, featuring a combination of favorite episodes from the archives and newly produced episodes. A special Canadian version of the program's website will exist at http://www.thisamericanlife.org, featuring the current CBC episode as well the current US/podcast episode.

"We've heard of this mythical land to the North where the government actually supports public media," says This American Life host Ira Glass. "CBC Radio is great, and we're thrilled at the chance to entertain insomniacs all across Canada."

In 2001, Time named Glass "the best radio host in America." In 2009 he received the highest individual honor in American public broadcasting, the Edward R. Murrow Award.  Thirty years before that, when he was just 19, Glass began his broadcasting career, interning at National Public Radio in Washington. He held almost every job at the network during his years there, including producer, editor and fill-in host. He put This American Life on the air in Chicago in 1995.

"The addition of This American Life is a great way to continue our tradition of offering high quality international programming as part of our overnight schedule," says Chris Boyce, programming director for CBC Radio. "It's an incredibly compelling hour of radio and I think Canadians will fall in love with the unique and creative ways they tell the personal stories of a really wide range of people - the show has an amazing ability to take personal stories and make them universal."

Fun facts: a popular early episode of This American Life titled "Who's Canadian?" includes the story of a dinner party where attendees realize how many iconic Americans are, in fact, Canadian.  A frequent contributor and former staff producer of the This American Life is Jonathan Goldstein, host of Wiretap on CBC Radio One.  In 2009, This American Life producers tested their popularity in Canada, sending a stage show via satellite into movie theaters in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. 645 fans packed the three screenings. 

SOURCE This American Life (Chicago Public Media)

For further information:

Host Ira Glass is available for interviews.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Emily Condon  |emily@thislife.org| 212-624-5020 | (EMAIL IS PREFERRED)

Additional Info:

This American Life: http://www.thisamericanlife.org
Chicago Public Media: http://www.chicagopublicmedia.org
Public Radio International: http://www.pri.org
CBC Radio One: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/

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