This American LifeThis American Life (TAL) is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by WBEZ in Chicago and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). Ira Glass created the show, and has served as the producer and host since the first episode, "New Beginnings," debuted on November 17, 1995.
TAL is primarily a journalistic non-fiction program. Each week's show centers around a particular theme. Examples include "The Cruelty of Children," "Hoaxing Yourself," "Accidental Documentaries," and "Fiasco!" Each show features several acts exploring that theme. A show usually consists of two to five acts, but some have consisted of just one act and one show ("20 Acts in 60 Minutes") fit 20 acts into the hour.
Each act is the work of a different contributor, and can take on a number of forms -- an essay, an interview, field recordings, found footage or more. Some acts are funny, some are sad, some are neither, and most are designed to give the listener something new to think about.