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Public radio juggernaut “This American Life” is being spun off from Chicago public radio station WBEZ and will become an independent company, host and executive producer Ira Glass said in a joint statement with WBEZ head Goli Sheikholeslami.
The changes to the show’s structure will allow it to do more new shows and other projects following last year’s runaway success of the crime podcast, “Serial.”
In the statement, posted on the “This American Life” website, Glass and Goli say the model is not unusual in public radio.
“For years, Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion have been produced by independent companies in collaboration with public radio outlets,” Glass wrote.
Additionally, Goli said, “This American Life” would continue to collaborate closely with WBEZ, and the show, along with “Serial,” would continue to bear the station’s name.
Glass promised listeners that the experience of listening to the show would remain the same.
“Our commitment to journalistic excellence and innovation and the ideals of public radio is unchanged. We’ll work as hard as we always have to bring you stories that are engaging and fun to listen to, stories that document lives and ideas not heard elsewhere,” Glass said.
“This American Life” was launched in 1995 with three paid staffers, according to the statement. Since then, the show has grown tremendously, with a weekly audience of 2.1 million people, according to figures on its website.
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