This American Life is a weekly radio show from Chicago Public Radio. It has had a rocky podcasting history as it sold its audio recordings for a time but can now be downloaded for free for one week after air time.
So listening to it hasn't always been easy or free. Now it is. So go do so -- otherwise you miss the point of this post.
TAL is first person radio -- intimate, personable and engaging -- because real people talk about real lives. This is done candidly without any hardware complications. This is the magnificent power of audio you see. It is a simple offering of words with individualised cadence and meaning told straight by those who created them.
This is what audio can do. It is powerful. The power of the medium amazes me. But you see, I know I am very unusual in believing this. espeiclaly nowadays --with video and what ever.
And, I guess, I love This American Life so much because it captures all that is grand and potent about audio/ radio/ podcasting... That's the package. It's the method of its making.
There is nothing on our human earth like it. Like audio done the way TAL does it -- except other audio that is done in like fashion: dense information, dense emotion, densely doing the message, like nothing else can. You (the listener) and these others (who are talking to you). A simple direct and very pristine offering.
Is This American Life the best radio show in the world? I don't know. (How could I know?) But I know it does so many things that make radio so good/ so great/ so addictive/ so important/ so very indispensable..for me anyhow.