Ira Glass is the host and producer of Chicago Public Radio's This American
Life. The program premiered in Chicago on November 17, 1995, and went into
full national distribution in June of 1996. Public Radio International
became the show's distributor in June of 1997 and quickly doubled the number
of stations carrying it. It's now heard on over 470 public radio stations,
with an estimated weekly audience over a million. The program has won the highest
broadcasting honors: the Peabody and duPont-Columbia awards.
This American Life continues to attract national media attention, including The New York Times, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly and Late Night with David Letterman, even the Sunday Times Crossword Puzzle!
Glass began his career in public radio as an intern at National Public Radio's network headquarters in Washington in 1978. He was 19 years old. Since then, he has worked on nearly every NPR network news program and done virtually every production job in NPR's Washington headquarters. He has been a tape cutter, newscast writer, desk assistant, editor, and producer. He has filled in as host of Talk of the Nation and Weekend All Things Considered.
From 1989 until 1995, Glass was a reporter in National Public Radio's Chicago Bureau. For two years, he covered Chicago school reform for NPR's All Things Considered, with two unusual series of reports. The first followed Taft High School for an entire school year. The second followed Washington Irving Elementary for a year. School restructuring at Taft went poorly; at Irving it went well.
His education reporting began in 1990, when he spent two months at Chicago's Lincoln Park High School for a series about race relations in an urban school. He returned to Lincoln Park two years later to see which of the sophomores he followed so closely had graduated and which had dropped out.
Glass' education reporting has won several awards: in 1991 from the National Education Association, in 1992 and 1994 from the Education Writers Association. In 1994 and 1995, Glass was invited to speak at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 1995, he was the only journalist invited to contribute to a book on education policy put out by the National Governors Association.
In 1988, Glass was named as one of a handful of "Young Journalists of the Year" by the Livingston Foundation. In 1991, he and John Matisonn, NPR's South Africa correspondent, were awarded by the National Association of Black Journalists for their four-part series comparing race relations in South Africa with those in the United States.
During the 1992 residential campaign, he travelled with the Clinton campaign, and in January 1993, he anchored NPR's live broadcast of the Clinton inauguration.
From 1990 until 1995, he co-hosted a weekly, local program on Chicago Public Radio called The Wild Room, a show that defies easy description.Glass graduated from Brown University in January 1982, with honors, in Semiotics.