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My Favourite App - Nyree Hughes

Nyree Hughes   —   20 August 2013   —   Opinion

This American Life Logo

My favourite app - This American Life 

Following the recent theme on the Access blog started by Simon, I thought I would join the band-waggon and declare my love for the This American Life app. 

I’m a massive fan of talk radio, particularly Radio 4 and like Simon, the BBC iplayer radio app is a firm favourite, but there are just some days when John Humphrys or even Jane Garvey can’t give me what I need.  At these times, I turn to This American Life, and I’m hooked.

For those unfamiliar with it, This American Life is a weekly radio show presented by Ira Glass, not your archetypal radio presenter, from Chicago’s office of America’s National Public Radio (NPR).

I will admit that I’m relatively late joining its fan base, as I was only introduced to the show last summer, while on a long journey to Shell Island in North Wales with my friend @gomark - an avid story-teller.  As well as delighting us with his wonderful Spotify playlists (another favourite app), we whiled away the long journey with an array of fascinating memoirs from unknown voices.

What's it all about?

This American life blends art and journalism seamlessly and its method of storytelling is relatively unique in American journalism terms. It’s news but it’s not today’s or yesterday’s news.  Each show brings together up to five different stories loosely related to a theme. One of my recent favourites is called Blackjack, which finds the team taking a lesson in card counting  and it features contributions from one of the Christian card counters featured in ‘Holy Rollers’.

The show recently celebrated its 500th edition and if you’re still not sure if it’s a show for you (you clearly must be mad), check out this 500th episode. In this episode the producers highlight some of their favourite moments, long forgotten stories, tear jerkers etc… It’s a kind of ‘best-of’ and is a fabulous introduction to the show. 

On to a winner

I’m clearly not the only one hooked on This American Life. The show has amassed an abundance of gongs since its launch in 1995, it broadcasts on more than 500 stations to an audience of approximately 1.8 million listeners in the U.S and another million worldwide.  It’s one of the most popular podcasts in the States with 850,000 people downloading each week!

I could continue to rave about the show and its success until the cows come home, but why not listen for yourself?   

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