Bob Fass has been a radio host on WBAI since 1963, often taking calls from strangers late at night. One night at 3 a.m. in 1971, a man called into his show facing a literally life-or-death dilemma.
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Producer Miki Meek tells the story of a phone booth in Japan that attracts thousands of people who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. A Japanese TV crew from NHK Sendai filmed people inside the phone booth, whose phone is not connected to anything at all.
Sara Corbett's father-in-law Dick is 81. And he's become obsessed with a limbo most of us hate – the music he hears whenever he's on hold.
Ira interviews Ryan Knighton, a blind guy who had a very peculiar experience with a hotel room telephone. Then Ira introduces the rest of the show, which was recorded live on stage in New York City and beamed to movie theaters in the US, Canada and Australia.
Producer Jonathan Menjivar tells this story about Naomi Azar and her father Shaul. Shaul had trouble saying a certain phrase to his children, and one day he was put to the test.
Ira Glass hands off the show to guest host Nancy Updike, via a quick cell phone call, as he heads out of town to report a story. Nancy isn't quite sure how how she feels about being given this new role... ambivalence not uncommon for the receivers of gifts.
We hear the eerily calm answering machine message that Brita Bonechi leaves for her husband, Rob, after she's had an accident and is trapped upside down in her car.
Tapes from The Apology Line, a phone line connected to an answering machine where people leave anonymous apologies—but not to the people they actually hurt. Also, an interview with "Mrs. Apology," a.k.a.
This American Life senior producer Julie Snyder found herself in a ten-month battle with her phone company, MCI Worldcom, which had overcharged her $946.36. She spent hours on hold in a bureaucratic nowhere.
Jessica Riddle reports on how, as a teenager, she and her friends would pick up the phone and dial the letters of the name "Heather" and talk to the old man who'd pick up the phone. At first they'd just prank call him.
After the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. diplomats had to start working the phones...to assemble a coalition of nations to combat this new threat. Some of the calls, you get the feeling, were not the easiest to make.
Linda Howard and Richard Bloom, in Boca Raton Florida, had been married years when she started flirting with another man.
Host Ira Glass explains why some old answering machine messages from a decade ago have such power for him: there's a special power to recordings of phone conversations. The phone is intimate — more intimate than a photograph.
The story of a teenager, illegal drug use, lying, stealing, and a kid's life changed completely when he heard how he sounded on the phone.
Sure you can try to get your pop songs onto records, or on the radio, or onto MTV. But what happens if your medium of choice is ... the telephone? Before they had record contracts, the band They Might Be Giants distributed their songs through the medium of Answering Machine.
We think of our phone calls and phone messages as so transient. We have another example of phones recording personal history: this story from Barrett Golding in Bozeman, Montana, comprised of telephone messages about his father.
Host Ira Glass with Sarah, who did phone sex and nude dancing.
Tapes from the Apology Line and interview with "Mrs. Apology," Marissa Bridge.