In a membership week special, Midday presents a half-century of American history -- politics, the Cold War, culture, music, philosophy -- all seen through the uniquely American lens of radio legend Studs Terkel.
Actually, Studs Terkel has been mostly off the radio for nearly a decade now. He's 93 years old. But for five decades he was an American original, winning a Peabody for his work on Chicago radio station WFMT. Over the years he spoke with luminaries, thinkers, writers, sins and sinners, everyone from Pete Seeger to Bob Woodward to Garrison Keillor. And while Studs Terkel didn't invent oral history, he sure helped shape it into an art form.
On the Midday special we hear some of Studs Terkel's best work. There is a new, new six-CD collection out titled, "Studs Terkel: Voices of Our Time."
Studs Terkel was trained as an attorney, but he decided not practice law. Instead, he found his way into radio, first as a writer, then an actor, an ad man, a sports-caster and then in 1944 he was put on the air as a disc jockey. That's still the word he uses to describe himself. But Studs Terkel had a special knack for talking to people. In 1952, he got his own show on WFMT, and began broadcasting the interviews that became his trademark. This first presented on Midday is from 1955, and the subject was folk music. Pete Seeger talked about how folk songs have a way of building on one another.