This American Life

Built around the innovative vision of Ira Glass, this program documents and describes contemporary America. Using radio monologues, mini-documentaries, “found tape,” and unusual music, it is radio storytelling at its best.


Thursday, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
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Friday, March 14, 2014 Permalink

This American Life: No Place Like Home

This week, stories of people who are, in good ways and bad ways, coming to terms with the places they call home.


Host Ira Glass tell the story of a city pride campaign in Calgary, Canada. He speaks with life-long Calgarian Ken Lima-Cuelho who explains how much people in the city loved the campaign — and the song at the center of it, "Hello Calgary." Except, Ira, and the song's composer, Frank Gari, have some bad news for Ken.

Act One

James Spring tells the story of the "Caminata Nocturna" — a simulated illegal border crossing run by a small town in Mexico. The event was recently criticized by conservative media as a training camp for illegal immigration. Spring explains that the Caminata Noctura actually caters to middle-class and upperclass Mexicans — people who would never attempt to sneak into the US. He also explains that the whole thing was actually created with hopes to keep people in Mexico, not send them away. James did a Spanish language version of this story for Radio Ambulante

Act Two

Seth Freed Wessler reports on people going the opposite direction over the US/Mexico border. Each year hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the US to Mexico — tens of thousands more choose to leave on their own — and lots of them make the journey after years and years living in the states. Wessler explains how customer service call centers in Mexico are capitalizing on the fact that many of these people speak English with American accents. They're hiring such people, and using them to staff customer service lines for American companies. But, for those who've left the US, taking calls over and over from the place they used to call home, it can be a complicated experience. 

Act Three

John Gravois tells the story of a potentially annoying San Francisco food trend: artisanal toast. John explains how, in fact, the trend's origins are very down to earth, and more heroic than annoying. John wrote a version of this story for Pacific Standard magazine, where he is an editor.